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.
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.
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.