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Ashland Historical Society * Saline Ford Historical Preservation Society

Preserving the rich history of the Ashland NE community & area
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The history of the Hoffman Building - known as "OSCAR HOFFMAN'S STORE" after 1951
including the restoration and re-purposing of this historic building by Bob and Christy Luebbe,
founders & owners of Linoma Software of Ashland, announced December 6th 2012
 
LUEBBE plans to retain history of Hoffman building
 
The image above ^ came from Bob Luebbe's personal collection - believed to be taken at about the 1957 Ashland Centennial timeframe;
The image below is the photo in the full-page-ad displayed in THE FIRST 100 YEARS   ASHLAND, NEBRASKA: 1857 – 1957
 
 
editors note: the "grainy look" in this scan is due to the fact, Hoffman's ad was originally printed on yellow paper . . making the pic difficult to scan/reproduce
 
 
The pictures above ^ Hoffman Building circa 2012 - Hoffman constructed his building & store in 1917; The Commercial Hotel ^ occupied the land previously - fire destroyed the hotel in 1914
Some of you may recall the 14th street entrance to Hoffman's - located on the W side about midway in the building - sorry, its the best pic we have !
the entrance is recalled by several, as the meat department / butcher shop entrance & was closed when remodeling was done
Bob and Christy Luebbe, founders & owners  of Linoma Software, . . . are currently
restoring the entire building & remodeling the second floor to house their business
 
Suzi Nelson's 06 DEC 2012 article in the Ashland Gazette - LINK > " Luebbe plans to retain history of Hoffman building . ."
 
See some of the recent pictures taken * during the tour of the Hoffman building
in December 2012 with Bob & Christy Luebbe, the Ashland Historical Society, & others - below
* with grateful acknowledgement, we thank Suzi Nelson, Ashland Gazette for these amazing photos
 
PICTURES from the Hoffman Building Tour, by Suzi Nelson of the Ashland Gazette

OSCAR HOFFMAN's STORE  . . . history, circa 1957 . . . 

as published in the Ashland Centennial publication,  * entitled:  THE FIRST 100 YEARS   ASHLAND, NEBRASKA: 1857 – 1957

 

“ June 19 (1957) was the 73rd anniversary of the OSCAR HOFFMAN’S STORE in Ashland.

Oscar Hoffman, father of Oscar Harvey Hoffman, opened his first little store when 16 years of age in East Ashland on June 19, 1884.

Because of this the store was called George Hoffman’s Co. as his father had to sign all business papers for him.

In 1888 he moved to North 14th Street where the Ashland Hatchery and Chambers Hardware have been located.  

His brother, John Hoffman, became a partner and the business was known as “Hoffman Brothers

until 1908 when Oscar bought out John Hoffman’s interest in the business. It then became known as

the Oscar Hoffman, General Merchandise. In 1917 he built the large two-story brick building on the

(SE) corner of 14th and Silver Street, the location of the business at the present time.

In 1927 he joined the Independent Grocers Alliance, a newly organized wholesale house.

He operated the business successfully until illness just before his death March 25, 1939, after serving the Ashland community for 54 ½ years.

When the business celebrated its 50th anniversary, Ashland business men presented him

with an electric clock with a gold lettered plaque beneath, telling of 50 years of service and friendship.

Oscar Harvey Hoffman grew up in the business, helping his father in the store form the time he was

10 years old until his father’s death on March 25, 1939, when he assumed responsibility as owner of

the business property and manager of the business in which his mother had interest until her death

 March 15, 1951.  The store name became Oscar Hoffman’s Store in memory of Harvey’s father.

In 1944 the grocery department, including meats and vegetables, were put on a cash and carry basis.

The general merchandise line of stock was continued until July 6, 1946, when dry goods, notions and

shoe departments were bought by Mr. and Mrs. Norman Ruberg, and they continued in the same location

until 1951, when they moved. (editors note - "RUBERGS" moved to the Butler  Bldg. - in 2013 known as Breadeaux Pizza

Oscar Harvey Hoffman has made many improvements and added many modern fixtures to the business

to keep the grocery, meat and produce departments of this supermarket the finest shopping center between Omaha and Lincoln.  

In 1954 a new front and large I. G. A. sign were added. In 1955 these store fixtures were added:

26-ft. fruit and vegetable case; 20-ft frozen food case; 16-ft ice cream case; 11-ft self-service meat case; 100 feet of new shelving; and two new check stands.

The store was completely remodeled with wider aisles, and shelves at an angle, to give the customers ease and more shopping space for carts.

Oscar Harvey Hoffman has been assisted at various times in the store by his wife, Gretchen Hoffman;

his son, George Hoffman, until his death in June 1941; his son, Harold Hoffman and his only sister Mrs. Hattie Johnson.

The support of many friends has helped it to carry on in the past and will help it to carry on in the future years. 

          In the “good old days”, a town the size of Ashland supported three large grocery stores at once:

Scott & Co.             1874 to 1945                   71 years in business

Balder Store            1882 to 1952                   70 years in business

Hoffman Store        1884 to 1957                   73 years in business

Although these three stores were competitors in business, they were co-operative for 61 years

to serve their friends and the community. “                         ( * excerpts above from page 92)

NOTE:  The First100 Years * Ashland Nebraska * 1857 - 1957  is out of print;

                   The Ashland Historical Society  has acquired the rights of this publication and will be

                    making it’s copyrighted  © edition – AHS available for sale soon; in CD/DVD form

The photo above, 'looking west on Silver Street',  circa 1919 or later
The "X" in the upper left hand corner points out the Hoffman Building,
one of the sites where Ashland Public Schools classes met, following the fire &
destruction of their original building (built in 1866), until the current building was completed
 
The second floor was the home of the Hoffman Auditorium . . where the Ashland community
enjoyed live plays, various celebrations, dances . . and held classes for the school, as described above
There was an entrance to the Auditorium adjacent to the east side of the building
 
The 'entrance' still exists & will be restored with the renovation
There was signage - "AUDITORIUM" - that hung at that entrance;
it is hoped that the sign may be restored and replaced in its original place.
 
 
 
 
    
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
your memories of the Hoffman auditorium ? ? ?, which occupied the entire second floor of the building.
You may send those memories & pictures to  AshlandHistoricalSociety@gmail.com  and news@AshlandGazette.com
 
PICTURES ? ? ?  Stop by the Ashland Gazette offices anytime
ORthe Ashland Historical Society offices (1438 Silver Street)
on THURSDAY afternoons between 1 and 4 pm
We will "scan" your pictures or album, often returning the original to you while you wait.
 
 
 

NOTE - this page is being developed
We will be adding many pictures and "stories" of the
building's history and the Hoffman family's contributions to Ashland History
 
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