Journey back in time to rediscover historical Downtown Grand Island. As you walk through our history, you will gain a new appreciation for our heritage and the vision that became Grand Island.
Downtown Grand Island
Ten Story View
This photograph is a bird's-eye view of Grand Island taken from the top of the Yancy Hotel looking north. Probably taken in the 1920s, construction of the Yancey began in 1917, and due to financial problems was not completed until 1923. This perspective shows the rooftops between North Locust (left) and North Pine (right). Some of the buildings clearly visible are the Bartenbach Opera House, the east wing of the Union Pacific Passenger depot at the end of Locust Street, the Nebraska Mercantile Company (building wiht dark smoke coming out of the stack) and the Brown Fruit Company. The second stories of the Tucker & Farnsworth drugstore and the R.H. McAllister Hardware Company also have signs that are visible along what would be Third Street.
The Federal Building
Southwest Corner of West Second St and North Locust St
From 1910 to 1968, this beautiful two-story brick building housed the United States Post Office and was the city's first post office designed exclusively for mail service. In 1935, a two story addition was added on the west. The Federal building today provides office space for several federal agencies.
123 North Locust St.
Typical Renaissance Revival period architecture marks this 11 story 150 room hotel building. Construction began April 1917, but due to financial problems and WWI, completion was not until October 1923. Hotel Yancey was named for William L. Yancey, who first operated it on a lease basis. The hotel became the center of social and political activity for Grand Island and Central Nebraska. The Yancey closed as a hotel in 1982, was remodeled and opened in 1985 as a stylish condominium and office complex and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hall County Courthouse
Southeast corner of West First and South Locust Street
One of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts Classicism architecture in the Midwest, the Hall County Courthouse was formally accepted in January 1904. Note the central section's monumental stairs and four coupled columns that support the cornice and clock tower. The entire structure is capped by a copper-clad tower and cupola. The Courthouse was designed by one of Nebraska's premier architects; Omaha's Thomas Rogers Kimball and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall
213-215 East Third Street
The cornerstone of the G.A.R. Hall was laid in 1886, and the building was dedicated on December 9th of that same year. From 1893 to 1910 the post office had a ground floor space in this two-story brick building. The building still stands, and most of the original architecture remains.
Coney Island Lunch Room
104 East 3rd Street
In 1885 the exterior of Coney Island resembled a small bank and was an office for Grand Island attorneys Thomas Oliver Cromwell Harrison and Charles Rief. Coney Island Lunch Room opened in 1923 serving Coney dogs, chili and the best malts in town. The restaurant has been operated by members of the Katrouzos family since 1933.
217 North Locust Street
The Grand Island Masonic Temple Building is a striking, seven story brick building with accents of blue tile. In 1870, Ashlar Lodge No. 33 was organized in Grand Island, and in 1925 this building was erected. The top floors were originally devoted to Masonic activity and the rest of the space was used for office suites.
Bartenbach Opera House Block
Northeast corner of West Second & North Locust Streets
This three story brick structure owned by Fredda Bartenbach was completed in 1883 with six street level retail spaces, one of which was the Bartenbach Paint Store (now Bartenbach Gallery). The second floor was home to the Bartenbach Opera House. A Street front entrance led to the ticket booth and the main auditorium with a balcony, providing seating for 1000. Local talent and professional touring shows entertained area residents for 45 years. The American Legion Convention was the last to use the Opera House in 1934. In the 1950's, the remnants of the Opera House disappeared to become rented office space.
The Grand Theater
318 West Third Street
The art-deco style theater opened in 1911 as the Lyda Theater and was renamed The Grand in 1931. Past and present movie-goers enjoy the detailed interior designs and the atmosphere of a bygone era. The Grand re-opened in 2004 under the direction of the Grand Foundation and is now a home for film, local performing arts, and a venue for touring performers and community events.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
422 West Second Street
This landmark English Gothic structure opened for worship on July 7, 1889. The church was constructed with red granite from Colorado trimmed in gray sandstone from Wyoming. The stained glass windows were imported from Europe. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt was seated in the third-row pew as he worshiped with the local congregation after a tour of the western states.
St. Mary's Cathedral
204 South Cedar Street
St. Mary's Cathedral - Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an outstanding example of Late Gothic Revival architecture and is made of Indiana Bedford sandstone. Architects scaled down a model of the Parisian Cathedral la Saninte for the church's design. Work began on the cathedral in 1926, and it was completed and consecrated in 1928. The main altar and four smaller altars are made of white Italian marble. The "Rose Window" at the back of the cathedral came from Italy in its completed form. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
401 West First Street
Liederkranz means "a wreath of songs." The club was organized in 1870 by settlers of German heritage to cultivate German music, literature, and culture. The original clubhouse was a two-story frame building erected in 1871. The 1912 brick structure reflects influences of the Neo-Classical Revival style of architecture. The Liederkranz was built for $63,000 by architect Otto Kirschke and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Carnegie Public Library
Southeast corner of Walnut and West Second Street
On April 27, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt broke ground for the construction of a new Grand Island public library. A $20,000 Carnegie Corporation grant assisted with the building costs. The 1906 Neo-classical Revival Style, two story, high basement brick structure was built by Henry Falldorf and Otto Kirschke. The Carnegie Public Library is now called the Roosevelt Office Center and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Historical information for this page was provide by the Grand Island/Hall County Convention and Vistors Bureau.
404 West Third Street | Grand Island, Nebraska 68801 | 308.398.7022