Bolte Manufacturing Company, Kearney, Nebraska

Bolte Manufacturing Company catalog, 1912. NSHS RG5000.AM (photograph at left).

As the Curator of Manuscripts, I get to work with all sorts of interesting materials that document the history of individuals, families, businesses, and organizations here in Nebraska. I’m often pleasantly surprised when collections “inter-connect” and lead me to related materials elsewhere in our collections.

This item, a 1912 catalog for the Bolte Manufacturing Company of Kearney, Nebraska, is located in our Vertical Files collection [RG5000.AM]. The catalog describes various products manufactured and sold by the company, including their line of concrete mixers.  The image below shows an example from the catalog.

Bolte Manufacturing Company, NSHS RG5000.AM (photo at right).

The catalog doesn’t contain any historical background information about the company itself, so I did a little searching through various Kearney City Directories and state Gazetteers in the NSHS Library Collections to see if I could find out anything about the company.  Through the various directories I was able to determine that the Bolte Manufacturing Company was located at 25 W. 22nd St. in Kearney from 1911 through about 1922 or 1923.  The 1909 Gazetteer does not list the company, but it does show a listing for “Bolte & Jacobsen, cement workers.”  The 1924 city directory shows that the “Bolte Building” is still located at 21-25 W. 22nd St., but the company itself is now listed at 2206 1st Ave.  By 1926 the Bolte Manufacturing Company is no longer listed in the Gazetteer.  In 1926 the company listed at that location [2206 1st Ave.] is the Kay Mix Manufacturing Company.

On page 11 of the catalog, it discusses work done on the Nebraska State Normal Building by the contractor, W. F. Crossley, using a Bolte Mixer.

Bolte Manufacturing Company catalog, NSHS RG5000.AM (above).

The Nebraska State Historical Society also holds a small collection of papers relating to the Kearney contractor, William F. Crossley.  In addition to the State Normal Building, Crossley also worked on the Kearney High School, the First Methodist Church, and the Crescent Theatre.  See our website for more information about the William F. Crossley collection.  Page 12 of the catalog (see below, top panel) shows an image of a work crew using a Bolte Mixer to construct the foundation of the Post Office building in Kearney.

Bolte Manufacturing Company catalog, NSHS RG5000.AM (above).

As it turns out, the NSHS holds an almost identical image of this work crew in our Solomon Butcher photo collection [RG2608.PH].

Work crew laying the foundation for the Kearney Post Office. NSHS Solomon Butcher collection, RG2608.PH-2460 (above).

While this 1912 catalog for the Bolte Manufacturing Company may not be the most historically significant item in our collections, it still provides a fascinating glimpse into our past.  If you have any additional information or stories about the Bolte Manufacturing Company or its products (or anything else we post on the blog), please let us know!

-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

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