Adams County Historical Tours

Fountain to Fountain Tour

Alexander ParkThe "Fountain to Fountain Tour" written by Elizabeth Spilinek is a self-guided walking tour of Lincoln Avenue, which lies within the Central Hastings Historic District. The Central Hastings Historic District is one of two residential areas in Hastings that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP); the other is the Heartwell Park Historic District. The "Fountain to Fountain Tour" begins at the fountain in Alexander Park at 7th and Lincoln and ends at Fisher Fountain in Highland Park at 12th Street.

Fountain to Fountain Tour Book

This tour book includes one main, self-guided walking tour, the "Fountain to Fountain Tour", and five sub-tours. The main tour includes 24 homes along Lincoln Avenue, which is located between two parks within the Central Hastings Historic District. These sites then connect to additional historic sites located throughout Hastings. These connected sites make up five sub-tours: 1)The larger Central Hastings Historic District, 2)Heartwell Park Historic District/Hastings College, 3)Downtown Hastings and 4)Extended Downtown West and East 5)German from Russia Settlements. These are all self-guided tours. The tour book is available at the Adams Co. Historical Society and the Adams Co. Convention and Visitors Bureau .

Below is the main tour, which is available in the the Tour Book.

"Fountain to Fountain Tour"

Alexander ParkThe "Fountain to Fountain Tour" is a self-guided walking tour of Lincoln Avenue, which lies within the Central Hastings Historic District. The Central Hastings Historic District is one of two residential areas in Hastings that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP); the other is the Heartwell Park Historic District. The "Fountain to Fountain Tour" begins at the fountain in Alexander Park at 7th and Lincoln and ends at Fisher Fountain in Highland Park at 12th Street.


Nebraska Historical Marker CHHDIn 1878 the Central Hastings Historic District (CHHD) became the first northern addition to the original town of Hastings , which was founded in 1872. The Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 2003 due to its representation of three periods of major growth that occurred in Hastings from 1880 until 1950. The District includes 386 homes and extends from 7th Street north to 12th Street and from Colorado Avenue west to Bellevue Avenue.

Victorian Period 1880-1890

Victorian HomeThe first period of major growth documented by the Historic District is the Victorian Period. This was a time of tremendous prosperity and growth due to the railroads. The population grew from 2,800 to 13,500 during this golden age of excess. Architectural excess was displayed in the buildings which were asymmetrical and ornamental, with many techniques used to avoid flat, plain-looking surfaces. This golden age in Hastings came to an end with the drought-induced agricultural depression of the 1890s.

Arts and Crafts Period 1900-1930

Arts and Crafts HomeThe second period of major growth documented by the Historic District is the Arts and Crafts Period. This was an era of renewed growth after the 1890s depression. As a result of the depression the population in Hastings plummeted to 7,000 people. Not until 1930 would it reach 15,000. During the Arts and Crafts Period, large existing lots in the Historic District were subdivided to accommodate the Foursquare, Craftsman, Colonial Revival and Prairie style homes. These simple and symmetrical styles rebelled against the excess of the Victorian Period. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought this period of growth to an end.

Modern Period 1940-1950

English Cottage HomeThis last period of major growth documented by the Historic District resulted from the construction of the Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) in 1942. The population skyrocketed from 15,000 to 23,000 in less than a year. In the Historic District, Victorian and Arts and Crafts Period homes were split up into apartments to relieve the critical housing shortage. New growth occurred with English Cottage and Ranch homes squeezed in wherever room could be found.

1. Alexander Park-7th Street & Lincoln Avenue
7th St. & Lincoln Ave.In 1872 Civil War veteran Samuel Alexander and his wife Harriet marked their 160 acre homestead at 7th and Lincoln with the second frame house in Hastings. Today, a fountain marks the site where their home was located. Ironically, when the Alexanders settled at this site in 1872 there was no water to be found. For many months, until a 110' well was dug, Samuel had to carry four bucketfuls a day from his neighbors a mile away. 7th Street was originally named North St. due to it being the northernmost boundary of the original town. At this site in 1878, Samuel used his 160 homesteaded acres to create the first northern addition to Hastings . This marked the beginning of the Central Hastings Historic District. Today, the Historic District lies mainly within Alexander's original homesteaded acres. Beginning in 1872, Samuel Alexander built the city's first store and served as the first merchant, first postmaster, first city treasurer and Mayor from 1885-1886. Alexander was one of the eight founding members of the 1873 First Presbyterian Church, which made him instrumental in the establishment of Hastings College (a Presbyterian Institution) in 1882. At his death in 1908, Samuel Alexander was given the honorary title "First Citizen of Hastings". Harriet Alexander, or "Hattie" as she was known, was a strong woman of the Prairie. Respected by many, she contributed much to the growth of Hastings and its tree planting history.

2. First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian ChurchThe church that stands gracefully across the street from the Alexander's Homestead at 7th and N. Lincoln is what evolved from the 1873 First Presbyterian Church of which Samuel Alexander was a charter member. The first structure, built in 1878, was located at 4th and Lincoln and no longer exists. The second church, a Gothic Revival structure, was built on this site in 1888. After it burned in 1910, this Romanesque style church was built.

3. 718 N. Lincoln Avenue
718 N. LincolnIn 1922 Dr. Frank Babcock and his wife Helen moved into this 1870s Victorian home located across the street from the widowed Harriet Alexander. Remodeled extensively, this is one of the oldest homes on the block. Dr. Babcock, a dentist, became an Adams Co. treasurer in 1903 and vice-president of the First National Bank in 1907. Helen Babcock, friend and neighbor of Harriet Alexander, watched the neglected Alexander home deteriorate after Harriet's death in 1929. In 1936 Helen bought the property and deeded the land to the city to be used as a park ( Alexander Park ) commemorating the Alexander's and their contributions to the City of Hastings . The park and shelter were built as Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects in 1938. Portions of the dismantled Alexander home were donated to the Hastings Museum and are currently displayed there. The park was restored in 2004 with a gift given by former Hastings resident Mary Topp. The City of Hastings celebrated Arbor Day 2004 with a ceremony in Alexander Park at which Lynne Darling, the great-granddaughter of Samuel and Harriet Alexander, was in attendance. Today, Alexander Park serves as a lasting memorial to the Alexanders. It is also the gateway and symbol of the Central Hastings Historic District.

4. Maryland Hotel/Apartments-714 W. 7th Street
Maryland ApartmentsWhen community leader William Lanning died in 1919 he left $75,000 in his will to construct a hotel for professional women. He specified that the building be named the "Maryland Hotel" in memory of his daughter Mary. In 1910, tragedy struck the Lanning family when daughter Mary, home from college for Christmas break, developed pneumonia and died. After Mary's death William Lanning supplied the funding to build the 1915 Mary Lanning Hospital, memorializing his daughter and benefiting the community. The original 1915 structure has been replaced by the current buildings and the hospital now serves as the city's largest employer. Maryland Hotel was constructed in 1929 in the simplified Beaux Arts style. Features of this style include a flat roof, projecting wings and a symmetrical facade with a central entry accentuated by classical elements such as the broken pediment, fluted pilasters and decorative urns. The building serves today as a dormitory for college students enrolled in the Creighton University Nursing program at the Hastings Mary Lanning campus. The Lanning family home was located next to the Maryland Apartments. It was torn down in the 1970s and now serves as a park.

5. 739 N. Lincoln Avenue
739 N. LincolnThis Victorian home was built in 1886 by Charles K. Lawson. It was converted into apartments in 1921, retaining Victorian characteristics such as the many intersecting roof lines, asymmetrical facades and decorative shingles in the gable ends of the side facade. In 1872 Lawson arrived in Hastings as one of its earliest pioneers and, along with George H. Pratt, established the Headquarters Store which served as the first grocery and hardware store in Hastings . This store can be seen in the first photo of Hastings taken in 1873. Pratt and Lawson went their separate ways with Lawson retaining the store. Later relocating to 2nd Lawson Hardware, his store was destroyed by fire in 1916. A previous fire that Lawson was involved with, the Great Fire of 1879, was devastating for Hastings, with 33 downtown buildings lost. Lawson was an early leader in Hastings, and in 1873 was one of three men to head up a committee for the removal of the Adams County Seat from Juniata to Hastings .

6. 741 N. Lincoln Avenue
741 N. LincolnDuring the Arts and Crafts Period (1900-1930) Hastings native Rollin Kirby made it big. In 1886 Rollin's father George built this home which includes Victorian characteristics such as the two-story projecting bay and decorated gable ends. During the 1920s (after the Kirby's sold the home) this house was used as the parsonage for St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Rollin Kirby left Hastings in 1898 at age twenty-three with friend William Clarke to go to New York and Paris and study art. In New York Rollin became the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for political cartoons in 1922. He went on to win again in 1925 and 1929. Kirby was actively involved in shaping public opinion with his political cartoons during the women's suffrage movement and both world wars. Kirby also created the cartoon character "Mr. Dry", which became the international symbol for Prohibition during the 1920s and 30s. It was due to Prohibition that a major industry in Hastings, the Hastings Brewing Co., was forced to close in 1917.

7. 747 N. Lincoln Avenue

747 N. LincolnThis 1886 home was purchased and lived in by William Brach in 1892. It features Victorian elements such as ornate porch trim, paired entry doors, many intersecting roof lines, projecting bays and horizontal and vertical wall cladding of shingles and boards. Brach owned Wolbach and Brach, Hastings' first department store. This elegant home was the third on the block to be owned by the Brach family. William Brach came to Hastings in 1877 to manage Wolbach's Dry Goods Store, which was founded in 1875 and later became Wolbach and Brach. He built the Victorian bungalow at (7a.)810 N. Lincoln-In 1882 and then the Queen Anne Victorian at 823 N. Lincoln (detailed later on the tour) in 1884. The Brach family then moved to this home in 1892.

8. 751 N. Lincoln Avenue
751 N. LincolnThis Foursquare home was built in 1902 during the Arts and Crafts Period. It displays Arts and Crafts characteristics such as exposed rafters under the eaves and windows with geometric designs. The Foursquare is the most predominant house form found throughout the Historic District. It is a functional form that could be detailed to suit the tastes of the owner. Some owners chose classical detailing while others chose Arts and Crafts detailing, such as the owner of this home, O.C. Zinn, who founded Zinn's Jewelry in 1889.

9. 805 N. Lincoln Avenue
805 N. LincolnHastings' first cemetery was located at 12th and N. Burlington . In the 1880s, when the Historic District began growing north from 7th towards 12th St., city leaders saw a need to build a new cemetery further from residential growth. A committee, led by Davis Lowman, was formed to create the new cemetery. Lowman built this home in the late 1870s. The center portion is the original structure with later additions built around it. The front porch with classical details was added after 1900. Note the ornate Victorian brackets adorning the bay window on the side facade and the leaded glass in the front porch window, also from the Victorian era. This home has one of the few remaining carriage houses in Hastings behind it. Ironically, Davis Lowman, who headed up the committee to establish Parkview Cemetery, was the first person to be buried there in 1886. Members of the Lowman family lived in this house until the mid 1950s, including Davis Lowman's son William and his family. William was one of the 1887 organizers of the German National Bank. Another organizer and president of the bank was Charles Dietrich, who later became the 1900 Governor of Nebraska.

10. 811 N. Lincoln Avenue
811 N. LincolnThis home with Spanish Colonial Revival characteristics, such as the tiled roof, stucco finish and rounded arches on the porch, was designed in 1912 by Hastings architect C.W. Way for Charles Wahlquist. C.W. Way was Hastings' most prolific architect, designing many of the most prominent buildings in Hastings from 1906 until 1924. He then relocated to Texas , selling his architectural firm to architect Mark Evans. Charles Wahlquist, owner of this home, also owned the Adams County Democrat, a popular weekly newspaper. Charles and Stella Wahlquist lived in this home until 1941 with their children attending the elementary school in the Historic District, Longfellow Elementary (current structure designed in 1926 by architect Kenneth Gedney).

11. 815 N. Lincoln Avenue
815 N. LincolnThis elegant Colonial Revival home was built in 1908 by John and Myrtle Kipp. Myrtle's mother, Rose Fisher Shedd, gave the couple her land to build the home on. Classical features on this home include the pedimented dormers and front porch with clustered Doric columns. John Kipp founded the Kipp Cigar Co. in 1909. Hastings was known as the "Cigar-making Capital of Nebraska" with Kipp Cigar producing 10 million hand-rolled cigars annually. The workers producing the millions of cigars were predominately the German from Russia immigrants.

12. 823 N. Lincoln Avenue
823 N. LincolnWilliam Brach, owner of Wolbach and Brach's department store, built this home (his second on the block) in 1884. It is a Queen Anne Victorian featuring characteristics such as the two-story projecting bay, asymmetrical facades, many intersecting roof lines, paired entry doors and a cantilevered window. Notice the original Victorian hitching post and step which was used during the 1880s and 90s to accommodate the horse drawn carriages and streetcars. After the Brach family moved out in 1892, this elegant Victorian home was modified to include the classical detailing. The classical style became popular after it was showcased at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. This caused many Victorian porches to be replaced with more fashionable classical porches. In more recent years this home was owned by the grandson of H.A. Lainson. In 1915, upon their arrival in Hastings , the H.A. Lainson family moved into the Arts and Crafts home at (12a.)814 N. Lincoln, located across the street from this home. H.A. Lainson, a wholesale hardware salesman, joined the Dutton Lainson Co. in 1920 and became the president of it in 1930.

13. 822 N. Lincoln Avenue
822 N. LincolnState Senator A.L. Wigton built this Victorian home in 1886. Note the ornately bracketed bay window and steeply pitched cross-gables with decorative trusses displaying the sunburst motif. Wigton served as the editor of the Hastings Journal and was one of three men credited with the idea (in 1874) of establishing a college in Hastings. The college became a reality in 1882 when Hastings architect C.C. Rittenhouse designed McCormick Hall as the first building on the Hastings College campus.

14. 827 N. Lincoln Avenue
827 N. LincolnThis home was built in 1888 by J.W. Davis. It displays Victorian characteristics such as the projecting front bay, cutaway window and bay window on the side facade. In 1942 this house was "hastily reconfigured into four apartments" during the housing shortage of the 1940s when the Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) was built in Hastings. Today, the house has been converted back into a single family home.

15. 851 N. Lincoln Avenue
851 N. LincolnDuring the Arts and Crafts Period, Hastings' Burlington Depot (1902) and Union Pacific Depot (1914) were built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Property owners throughout the Historic District were influenced by this style when building or remodeling their homes. That influence can be seen on this Victorian built in 1887 for Adams County Judge Jacob Bailey. In addition to replacing the wood roof tiles with the Spanish Tile, the smaller ornate Victorian porch was replaced with a stouter classical porch during the Arts and Crafts Period. Original Victorian characteristics include the cut-away window, two-story projecting bay, cantilevered window, second-story recessed porch, decorated gable ends and many intersecting roof lines.

16. 901 N. Lincoln Avenue
901 N. LincolnThe Ranch was the last type of home to be built in the Historic District during the Modern Period (1940-1950) of growth. It is a modification of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style. This home features characteristics of the Ranch type such as the low hipped roof with overhanging eaves, asymmetrical facades, casement windows and single-story. This Ranch home was built in 1949 by Hub and Janet Haberman, owners of the Haberman Portrait Studio. When built, this home was the talk of the town with radiant heat under the floors and also the driveway to prevent it from icing over. In 1964 the Haberman's Ranch home was purchased by Jim and Lily Unger. Lily Anderson Unger was the daughter of Arthur Anderson, co-founder of the Western Land Roller Co.

17. 919 N. Lincoln Avenue
919 N. LincolnIn 1938 D.G. McDonald built this Colonial Revival home on a portion of the block that the 1886 Heartwell/Miles mansion once occupied. In 1938 this home cost $30,000 to build, the same amount the Heartwell mansion cost in 1886. This home features characteristics of the Colonial Revival style such as symmetrical facades, arched windows and an accentuated front entry displaying a segmental arch and fluted pilasters. D.G. McDonald was the owner of the Brown-McDonald department store in downtown Hastings . When D.G. died in 1948 his nephew J.M. McDonald Jr. took over the company, changing the location and name of it to J.M. McDonald's.

Heartwell/Miles Mansion

Heartwell/Miles MansionThe Victorian mansion that once stood at this site was the most elaborate home ever built in Hastings. Civic leader and real estate developer James B. Heartwell, who developed Heartwell Park , built the mansion in 1886 for $30,000, a huge sum for that time. Heartwell was also one of the organizers of the Hastings Improvement Co., one of two streetcar companies that operated in Hastings from 1887-1892. During the 1890s Hastings lost close to half its population due to a drought-induced agricultural depression. The situation became so desperate that a rain making committee was formed, composed of city leaders. When this attempt to resolve the drought failed, those who had the money to do so left the area, including architect C.C. Rittenhouse and civic leader J.B. Heartwell. The large Victorian homes (including this mansion) were abandoned, and no new growth occurred during this decade. After the 1890s depression ended growth began again after 1900. This period of growth occurred during the Arts and Crafts Era, lasting from 1900 until 1930. It is the second period of major growth documented by the Central Hastings Historic District. The Arts and Crafts Period in Hastings and nationwide rebelled against the excess of the Victorian Era. The movement can be summed up in one word: "Simplicity". Symbolically, new community leaders replaced the old after the 1890s depression with Mayor C.J. Miles and his wife moving into the Victorian mansion that J.B. Heartwell abandoned. But Miles moved out of the mansion in 1917, and it sat empty for many years before being demolished in 1934. In 1938 D. G. McDonald built the Colonial Revival house at 919 N. Lincoln where the Victorian mansion once stood.

18. 1102 N. Lincoln Avenue
1102 N. LincolnIn 1917 Prosser grain elevator owner Charles Moritz moved his business to Hastings with offices in The Strand Theatre complex. He was described as "one of the expert grain men in this part of the country". When Moritz came to Hastings from Prosser he brought his house with him. This Dutch Colonial Revival home was cut in half and moved from Prosser with a steam tractor in two parts, then re-assembled at this site. Note the classical balustrade on the porch and the cross-gambrel roof with Palladian windows in the gambrel end.

19. 1114 N. Lincoln Avenue
1114 N. LincolnHarold and Pearl Johnson of Johnson Cashway Lumber lived in this English Cottage home from 1941 until 1952. During the 1940s new growth in the Central Hastings Historic District occurred with the English Cottage style squeezed in wherever there was room left between older, larger houses. Characteristics of the English Cottage include an asymmetrical front façade dominated by a steeply pitched front gable, windows with multiple panes and siding of brick, stone or stucco. In 1952 the Johnsons moved from this home, across the street to the newly built Ranch home at (19a.)1115 N. Lincoln, living there until the late 1990's. The family business continues today carried on by descendents of Harold's father and founder of the company, Fred Johnson.

20. 1125 N. Lincoln Avenue
1125 N. LincolnIn 1919, after success in his automobile business, E.A. Brandes built this stately home with a ballroom on the third floor. In 1925 Dr. E.C. Foote bought this home and removed the third floor. Note the decorative quoins accenting the second-story corners and windows. In 1907 E.A. Brandes and his business partner, A.H. Jones, established the Jones and Brandes Co. in the 1887 Enterprise Block as one of Hastings' earliest car dealerships. The Enterprise Block also housed Cushing Grocery Co., which served as the only Kool-Aid distributor in the country from 1927-29. Jones and Brandes later went their separate ways with Brandes relocating his dealership to the Brandes Building .

21. 1135 N. Lincoln Avenue
1135 N. LincolnWilliam Clarke grew up in this 1890 Victorian Period home built by his father, James N. Clarke, who served as the president of the Nebraska Loan & Trust and the Clarke Buchanan Co. Note the original clapboard siding, many intersecting roof lines, paired entry doors and the stained glass window in the gable end. After leaving Hastings in 1898 with friend Rollin Kirby (who grew up at the other end of Lincoln Ave.), William went on to become the cover illustrator for the American Boy magazine, which later became Boy's Life magazine. He also designed the Bronco logo for Hastings College in 1911. Most homes constructed during the Victorian Period had small ornate porches. After 1900 it became fashionable to replace those porches with classical or craftsman style ones. In 2005 the current owners of the Clarke house removed a 1928 porch and replaced it with one similar to the original. They found the 1890s Victorian paired entry doors under the porch, placed them on the house and put the 1928 doors back under the new porch for future owners to find.

22. 1124 N. Lincoln Avenue
1124 N. LincolnIn 1939 Donald Clarke, of the Clarke Oil Co., built this Period style home with French characteristics such as a steeply pitched, hipped roof, quoins accentuating the corners and arched windows with shutters. Donald, who was the son of illustrator William Clarke (who grew up across the street at 1135 N. Lincoln ), and his wife Helen salvaged the stone hitching posts that were once located down the block and across the street at the site of Donald's great-uncle Alonzo's Victorian home, which had been razed. They then used them to adorn their modern home. The 1914 downtown Clarke Hotel was named for Donald's great-uncle Alonzo Clarke.

23. Highland Park-12th Street & Lincoln Avenue
Highland ParkHighland Park Cemetery was established in 1873 as the Hastings City Cemetery. With no early records available and most stones gone or illegible, it is unknown who the earliest burials were, but Mrs. Thomas Boice, whose stone remains today, was one of the first. In 1886, as the Central Hastings Historic District expanded towards 12th St., city leaders saw a need to relocate the cemetery to a new area, away from residential growth and allowing for a larger cemetery. The sale of lots ceased in 1886 with the establishment of Parkview Cemetery. Lots that were purchased in Highland Park before 1886 were honored with purchasers having the choice to be buried there or elsewhere. The last person to be buried in Highland Park was Julia Urquhart Hoagland in 1947. Julia's father Thomas Urquhart, buried in the family plot in 1892, was the Civil War doctor of General Robert E. Lee. Within Highland Park Cemetery is a memorial that was erected in 1977. It is "Dedicated to the Pioneers of Adams County and the heritage which is now ours". Included on this memorial wall is an entry taken from Tamsen Donner's journal as she and the rest of the Donner Party passed through this area in 1846 on their doomed westward journey and is another reminder of the area's Oregon Trail history.

24. Fisher Rainbow Fountain-12th Street & Denver Avenue
Fisher FountainThe nationwide depression that preceded WWII vastly affected life in Hastings from 1930 until 1940. In addition to the 1929 stock market crash, the Midwest experienced extreme heat, dust storms and drought conditions that plagued the region, resulting in total crop failure in 1934. Still, optimism and hope were found in the midst of all this hardship, one example being the 1932 Adams County Fair that hosted the Electrical Exposition. The fair's Electric Fountain, invented by Edward R. Howard, was the showstopper. Fairgoers were in awe of the display of water and colored light. Water, which was so important and sought after during this time, was shooting out in breathtaking directions. After the fair the fountain was permanently set up in Highland Park and a contest was held for local school children to give it a name. The winning name ended up being a combination of two entries, "Rainbow Fountain" and "Jacob Fisher Fountain" after former Hastings' Mayor Jacob Fisher, a pioneer who came from Germany in 1878 and served the community until his death in 1937. Fisher Rainbow Fountain became a symbol of hope and prosperity, determination in the face of adversity. This fountain was extensively renovated in 1982, but in 1984 vandals dynamited the fountain. The community faced this adversity and came together to raise $63,000 to rebuild this beloved Hastings landmark. At the rededication of the fountain on Mother's Day in 1985, Hastings' historian Bill Sole stated,

"The Fisher Rainbow Fountain stands again, a symbol of the spirit of the people of Adams County. Let it always remain as a monument commemorating the past generations who built our city, the present citizens who are proud to live here and the future generations who will carry on."