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The original museum building was purchased from Walter and Berniece Wadlow in 1969 and soon became the "Historical House" with a growing collection of acquisitions. This building had previously held many businesses including cafe, cream station, grocery store, liquor store, and family apartment. It has since been taken down due to it's poor condition.

A history of the Old Hooker County Historical House was written by Betty Fosdick Ginkens, granddaughter of E. A. Fosdick.

A Historical Annex building west of the Historical House was purchased from Dale and Bessie Bradley in 1979 and was used for the office to receive stories and histories for the Centenial book. This building has housed showcases with exhibits of old beauty aids, hats, play things, dishes, etc. Other items also shown here included a piano, two organs, chairs, and other antique furnitue.

In 1987 the Historical Society purchased the early landmark hotel on the corner of 1st and Lincoln from Mrs. Elna Campbell. Steve and Florence Ham had moved from their ranch into town in 1916 and built the two-story brick building which was called Ham's Rooming House at that time. Later it was named Ham's Hotel and eventually became the Commercial Hotel. This was one of the largest and best hotels between Broken Bow and Alliance, Nebraska. It had the well-earned reputation of being the cleanest and best kept accommodations along this route. It advertised steam heat and hot and cold running water in every room. The steps to the entrance were originally on the front of the porch, as seen in a 1939 photo.

Ham Hotel

The hotel is being restored and now houses the Hooker County Historical Society Museum. The three floors of rooms hold a large collection of keepsakes which portray the history and development of Hooker County since the late 1800's when pioneers began settling here. Historical Society members are available to show visitors around any time other than occasions when the museum is open to the public. The ideal way to see the museum is to visit Mullen in person and take a tour, but you can look at the photos of some things on display.

(Source: History of Hooker County Nebraska - First Hundred Years; Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

The last two years have seen major additions to the upstairs displays. A very popular photographic collection of Hooker County Veterans hangs on the hallway walls and now totals more than 250 honored men and women from the Civil War up to the present time. The newest developed room is for church histories, with a timeline on the walls above bulletin boards and table displays.

Veterans Photos Hallway Display    Veterans Photos Wall Display

Please leave a message if you have any questions or suggestions for additional information or related links.

This page was last updated on July 6, 2005
Hooker County Nebraska History & Genealogy
By Sandhills Roots Digger, Nina (Scott) Clark