Home > Archive > Downtown Research > Block 37 > Lots 16-21 > Odd Fellows Building

Odd Fellows Building

a.k.a. Bee Hive, Young’s Cafe


  • 1892 (Noted on front of building)
  • North end was added between 1889 – 1897


  • Corner of Block 37, Lot 16
  • (17th & and Washington Streets)
  • 1670 Washington Street

The Odd Fellows were instituted October 1st, 1869, with the following members and officers: S. B. Taylor, N. G.; J. W. Newell, V. G.; M. C. Huyett, Secretary; J. H. Van Horn, Treasurer; James Denny and B. F. Hilton. Source: Andreas’ History of Nebraska

Sanborn Maps
The two early Sanborn maps (1886 & 1889) show a two story about 70 feet long (3/4 current length). Most likely this building was constructed of wood. In 1892, a new brick building was constructed. The 1897 Sanborn maps, show Lot 16 as a 2 story +basement building and marked I.O.O.F The 1902 map again shows the same building. The 1909 & 1923 shows a slightly longer building (about 110 feet.) Today, it is possible to see the variations in brick, confirming that the back fifth of the building was added on after the original structure was construction. [see Sanborn Maps]

From the News Papers
December 5, 1891, Blair Courier reported “A Big Blaze” destroying the I.O.O.F Building. (This would have been the old wooden structure before the 1892 building that stands today.)

From the Minutes of the Blair City Council
February 1892 — It was moved and Seconded, that the I.O.O.F. Lodge be granted the privilege to use 5th & Washington Sts. (under supervision of city authorities) for piling up material during the construction of their new building. Motion Carried.

March 1892 — On Motion, The I.O.O.F Lodge was granted permission to put ashes, brick, etc. on the dump, on road to Dexterville.

The Bee Hive Store
In the early 1900’s Mr. O.C. Thompson operated the Bee Hive Store on the ground floor of the building. This was a popular gift and grocery store. Today a number of “souvenir” china with images of famous Blair Building can be found in antique shops. My of the items are marked with the Bee Hive Store name.

Young’s Cafe
In the 1930’s & 40’s the building was leased by the Safeway Store. In 1945, John W. Young, Sr. and his wife Florence opened a cafe one the ground floor of the old I.O.O.F building. The Youngs sold the cafe to Margaret Hansen from Logan, Iowa who ran the restaurant for several years.

In the Late 1950’s early 1960’s Dave Mummert purchased the restaurant. In 1963, Dave Wulf operated the restaurant under the name Colonial Corner between (about 1969-1971). Mummert later moved the restaurant to the north corner of the same block. When the building opened up, Kenneth Jensen operated a men’s clothing store “The Blair Clothing Store.” Kenny’s daughter, Betty Peare ran the store for a time as did her son Joe Peare. The building was purchased from the Oddfellows by the Jensen family sometime during their lease.

BeeHive Downtown Blair

The Bee Hive
In the center is a “LYRIC” sign on the building in Lot 20 (In 1909 this lot was notes as “Moving Pictures” in the Sanborn Maps.) On the right part of the photograph, several taller buildings are shown. The first is the ____ building in Lot 22. Next is the newly built Castetter Bank Building in Lot 23 & Lot 24. Next is the Blair Clothing Building in Lot 25.s.

Downtown Blair - 1909?

Early 1900s
(Gutschow General Merchandise Store a.k.a. Mayle & Hungate Buildings on right side)  Photo taken of the south east corner Washington and old Walker Avenue (now 16th Street). Photo taken between 1902 & 1908 — Lot 22 was built between those two years.

Downtown Blair, parade

Dry Goods & Shoes — Washington Street
Blair, Nebraska (Block 37, Lot 16) Building at Fifth (17th) and Washington Streets looking northeast.

Downtown Blair - 1909?

Downtown Blair — Washington Street, Blair, Nebraska
Looking East. Photo by A. E. Hanna.

Dana College Homecoming Parade — Downtown Blair (Fall 1946)
Looking towards the north at the west end of Block 36. Showing Young’s Cafe (left), Merle’s Flower Shop, The Big Dipper and Klopps Jewlery (right.) (Photo courtesy the Dana College Archives.)

Downtown Blair - 1950s

Washington Street, Blair, Nebraska (1950s)
Looking Northeast down Washington Street at the corner of 17th Street. Note Young’s Cafe on the left.

Washington Street, Blair, Nebraska (1950s)

A night view of Washington Street towards the Southeast at Block 46 — early 1950’s with brick streets and street lights.

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Blair Historic Preservation Alliance | P.O. Box 94 | Blair, Nebraska 68008 | contact@blairhistory.com