Blair’s Downtown Block 45

Lots 1-7 (17th to 18th Streets)

1909 Sanborn Map

Block 45, Washington Street, Blair, NE Sanborn Map from 1909

Lots 1-2

Block 45, lot 1-2, Washington Street, Blair, Nebraska
  • John George Smith, who was the first merchant in Blair, built his first store on this site in 1868. The name of the business was Smith and Dexter. Learn more about John George Smith
  • 1887 – Sas Bros (above east facing corner)
  • 1889 – W.J. Sas had shoes, groceries, and candies
  • 1908 – The Racket Store, owned by Henry Bruse.
  • 1939 – Kolterman Variety Store – According to an article in the October 19, 1939, Enterprise, “Since 1908, the building has undergone complete remodeling, which has changed the interior appearance to a marked degree.” A photo from 1939 shows exposed electrical wiring, which was in use at the time. The store was a half block long but had only four lights, two near the front and two about half way back. A stovepipe from the old fashioned heater can also be seen.
Sas Brothers Store, Blair, NE

Sas Brother’s Store — Washington Street
The South side of Washington Street from the Seventeenth Street intersection.

Many of the buildings on Washington Street have retained their facades. This building is easily recognized as the Sas Brothers’ General Store that had the store string suspended from the ceiling and the little “buckets” that operated on a pulley to haul your payment up to the second floor and return your receipt. It would later become the “dime store.”

 Pictured in the photo to the left are Annie VonLanken, Japp Rosenbaum, Emma Hovendick, Frieda Trantow and Din Dailey. (March 5, 2019 Pilot Tribune “Celebrating 150 Years”)

Lot 3

Lot 3
  • 1886 or 1889 – Two story wooden structure “dress maker’s shop”
  • 1897 – Lot under construction
  • 1902 – Two story brick structure
  • 1909 – Bakery – Mark & Bess Beaty (Bess Roberts, daughter of J.S. Roberts, operated a bakery on Main Street.) “When they returned to Blair, they lived in a house which has since been torn down to make room for Safeway parking. In 1914, they built a new house on West Lincoln Street where they resided for the remainder of their lives.” (WC History Book. 124)
  • 1923 – Bakery – Operated by Oscar Holmes
  • Schneider Store (clarification needed)
  • Flower Shop (Trisdale) (clarification needed)


1905 Blair Baseball team

1905 Baseball Team in front of building (click for larger picture)
In front of old bakery building (Block 45, Lot 3) on the South Side of Main Street. (Just west of the SAS building.)

Lot 5

Lot 5
  • Kirby’s Coffee House
  • Ground coffee, roasted coffee and peanuts. Owners lived in the back. Tina Kirby was the proprietor.
  • 1905 – Schultz’s Grocery Store
  • Also housed Continental Trailways Bus stop
  • Torn down in the 1960s

Lots 6-7

Lot 7
  • 1920s-1930s – Unruch Furniture
  • Ed Wolff Furniture
  • Si Johnson’s Hamburger Shop Advertised “6 for a quarter.”
  • 1960s – Furniture store and boat & tackle shop owned by Wayne Steinbaugh
  • Later Leon Wattenbarger Furniture (clarification needed)
  • 2000s – Video Express
  • Edward Jones and Blair Chiropractic

Do you have information to share?

Do you have memories of downtown Blair you'd like to share? If so, we'd love to hear from you! Please use the form below or send an email to

Fill out my online form.

Blair Historic Preservation Alliance | P.O. Box 94 | Blair, Nebraska 68008 |