Holstein, situated in the southeast portion of Cottonwood Township, is the westernmost town of Adams County,
and is the local market accommodating the southwest section of the county. The progress of the community surrounding
the town is reflected in its modern store buildings and comfortable residences. The census of 1910 gave Holstein
a population of 323. The town was named in honor of Schleswig Holstein, the northern peninsula of the German Empire
which was the original home of a large proportion of the earliest settlers in this section of Adams County. Many
of the early settlers were Danes and Germans.
While the pioneers of the neighborhood among whom would be Nicholas Metzer, August Hohlfeld, Michael Hargleroad,
Christian P. Hargleroad, Joseph Huckfeldt and many others whose names are well known in Adams County, had filed
on their claims at dates ranging from 1873 to 1875, the Town of Holstein did not exist until the coming of the
Kansas City & Omaha Railroad, now the Burlington, in 1887. Joseph Huckfeldt was the owner of the northeast
quarter of section 27 and John Golgert the owner of the northwest corner of section 26, in township 6 north, range
12 west. In order to establish a town at this point the owners of these quarter sections entered into an agreement
with John M. Ragan and Morris Alexander of Hastings, and Michael A. Hargieroad by which they jointly were to acquire
title to the land to dispose of for town purposes. The Huckfeldt land was conveyed to John M. Ragan as trustee
for himself, Julia Sweet and Joseph Huckfeldt and the Golgert land was conveyed to Morris Alexander as trustee
for himself, Michael A. Hargleroad and John M. Ragan. In June, 1915, a decree was granted by the District Court
upon the petition of the Village of Holstein, Michael A. Hargleroad, Christ Christensen and Joseph Huekfeldt quitting
all claims that might arise through the original ownership agreement save the claims of those named in the petition
July 22, 1887, the surveyor, E. G. Groff, acting for the trustees, John M. Ragan and Morris Alexander, platted
the Town of Holstein. The surveyor's description of the area platted shows it to embrace the north sixty acres
of the north half of the northeast quarter of section 27; precisely, 60.15 acres and 40.13 acres, which is the
northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 26. Avenues were platted north and south and streets east
and west. The avenues were named West, Brown, James, Claud, Depot, Helen, Clarence, Maine, Garfield, Cleveland
and Lincoln; the streets were designated Adams, Fillmore, Monroe, Jackson, Franklin and Short. Depot avenue soon
came to be and so continues the principal business thoroughfare. The greater number of the streets were platted
sixty feet wide but one or more are seventy feet.
Acting upon the petition of citizens Holstein was incorporated June 6, 1889, two years following its platting.
The boundaries of the incorporated area were defined as follows: Commencing at the northeast corner of section
24, running west to the northwest corner of section 19, then south to the southwest corner of section 31, then
east to the southeast corner of section 36, then north to the northeast corner of section 24. This area embraced
eighteen sections, one half of Cottonwood Township, a tract six miles long and three miles wide, and containing
11,520 acres. Holstein became known as the "Six by Three town." Some explain that the village contemplated
a vigorous growth that would demand these proportions while others have it that it was necessary to include this
great area in order to secure a sufficient number of freeholders to meet the requirement of law in petitioning
for liquor licenses. The population was sparse, hence the necessity of incorporating a large area. The movement
for detaching a large portion of the original town resulted in the consent of the village board to such detachment
July 13, 1913, and on June 14, 1915, the District Court, acting upon the petition of P. C. Larsen and others, declared
the corporation to be contained in the northeast quarter of section 27, the northwest quarter of the northwest
quarter of section 26, the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 23 and the south one half of the
south one half of the southeast quarter of section 22. At the time of incorporation in 1889 the board of supervisors
granted the petition asking for the appointment of M. A. Hargleroad, W. S. McCauley, William Hope, C. A. Sipple
and George A. Bentley as village trustees.
A postoffice was established in Holstein in 1887 with A. S. Thompson as postmaster. Mr. Thompson came to the new
town from Kenesaw and established the first drug store, in which the postoffice was located at the corner of Depot
Avenue and Fillmore. He continned to be postmaster until 1889 when he was succeeded by C. P. Hargleroad who served
until 1891. Dr. W. T. Carson followed Mr. Iargleroad, serving until 1897 when Louis Schellenberger assumed charge
and remained postmaster until 1900. Since then George W. Maxwell, John H. Moehl, John Maxwell and the present incumbent,
Hendry M. Carson, brother of Doctor Carson, have served in succession.
Early in 1888 a grain elevator was built and C. J. Furer was the first dealer in grain. In the same year J. H.
Freeman, of Juniata, established a general merchandise store and Hope Bros. opened a hardware store. William and
Andy Hope were the proprietors of this store and continued its operation until 1890 when it was purchased by the
present owner, M. A. Hargleroad. From time to time Mr. Iargleroad has improved and enlarged the store. Then Hope
Bros. came to Holstein from Iowa and upon leaving the town returned to that state.
In 1888 a Mr. McPeak came from Fairfield and established a drug store. Scarcely, however, was the proprietor located
when the place was destroyed by fire and the business discontinued. It was in 1895 that the general merchandise
store of C. F. Keutzer, who had been Ain business for several years, was destroyed by fire. Another fire in 1905
destroyed a restaurant. These losses embrace the fire damage to Holstein up to the present time.
The first hotel in Holstein was conducted by Elijah Minnix. This was an ordinary dwelling house and opened for
business in about 1889. The first meat market was conducted by Herman Feis who opened his shop in 1903.
Shortly after the establishing of the town a general merchandise store was opened by Will and John Young on the
southeast corner of Depot Avenue and Fillmore Street. The firm name was Young Bros. John Fisher purchased this
store in 1901, and the firm later became Fisher & Son. This business was conducted in a frame store building
until 1911 when the brick establishment in which Fisher & Son are now located was built.
In 1893 Louis Schellenberger opened a general merchandise store. This business was later sold to Gilbert Maxwell
who in turn sold it to Wilber Coffman. Mr. Coffman after operating the store a short time removed the stock to
Kenesaw in 1900.
Thomas Mullady opened a general store in about 1891, a new frame store building being erected for him. This business
was purchased in 1899 by William Westering and George H. Van Antwerp. The following year Mr. Westering built a
store building opposite the present location of the Holstein State Bank. This was the first brick building to be
erected in the town and cost about $4,000. The firm moved into this building and used it for the conduct of their
business. In 1904 Mr. Westering purchased the interest of his partner who removed to California where he still
resides. Mr. Westering disposed of the store in 1911 to Hargieroad & Nelson who two years later sold to C.
K. Giddings & Son. Since then it has been purchased by Laird & McCauley and the firm name is the Holstein
Mercantile Company. The store has a frontage of seventy five feet. Mr. Midlady who established the business is
a partner in the firm of Reed & Mulladv that conducts a general merchandise business in Trumbull in Clay County.
Mr. Westering is in the real estate business at Hastings.
Two flour mills were established in Holstein. The earlier was operated by Sehellenberger & Clark and the later
by Nicholas Metzer. Mr. Metzer's mill stood about 200 yards west of the railway station. It was a steam roller
mill with a capacity of about forty barrels of flour per day. This enterprise was abandoned in 1892 and the plant
was removed to Alma.
In 1900 Holstein got its first telephone service when a line was built connecting the town with Bladen. Those instrumental
in securing this service were George Broil, Dr. W. T. Carson, W. B. Harglerdad, Dan Essinger, John Fisher, John
Moehl, M. A. Hargleroad and George L. Fisher. A line already existed running north from Bladen so that it was only
necessary to build six miles more to connect with Holstein. Two by four scantlings were spiked to fence posts and
over these the wire was strung. In the course of a few years more than a dozen of these "Two by four"
lines came into use in the locality.
Mayflower was the name given a postoffice that was established on the farm of John Burling, six miles northwest
of Holstein. Henry Trier carried the mail to and from Holstein, making the trip three times each week. This was
called the Star route and was abandoned when the rural route was established in 1900. The rural route is thirty
two miles in length and Frank Lukow is the present carrier.
W. S. McCauley established the second newspaper in Holstein. This was the Holstein Record. It was discontinued
in 1890, a year after its establishment. In 1890 a joint stock company was formed and the Holstein Nonpareil was
founded. Doctor Carson was president of the company and was the editor during the paper's career of three years.
Both of these papers were four page weeklies. The first paper was established in 1897 by H. G. Woods, who removed
his plant from Ragan and established the Adams County Independent. After publishing the paper about a year, the
editor removed to Omaha. This was the only printing plant to be established in Holstein. The Nonpareil was printed
by the Watkins Publishing House in Hastings and the Record was printed in Minden.
In 1893 a hardware store was established by P. N. Carson. This business was carried on for about three years and
was then discontinued. In an early day F. C. Van Veghten established a furniture and undertaking store which is
still carried on by the same proprietor. For a time Mr. Van Veghten was the manager of the lumber yard which he
operated for the Cooley Lumber Company of Kenesaw.
In 1915 W. B. G. llargleroad erected on Depot Avenue a modern, two story brick business building at a cost of 815,000.
The upper story is furnished as a ball and here the lodges have their headquarters and public assemblages are held.
The lower floor is occupied by a modern drug store of which H. M. Carson is the proprietor, and a moving picture
theater. This building is thoroughly modern in the matter of equipment. Another modern brick building is thaf occupied
by the First State Bank of Holstein. This was completed in 1914 and cost $5,000.
The first schoolhouse in use in Holstein, dated back to about the beginning of the town, was a small frame building
standing in the extreme eastern part of the town. Lincoln Ambler was the first teacher. The first school building
was used about three years when a two story building was erected upon a location about two blocks west of the first
site. In 1908 the district voted $5,000 for school purposes and the present brick school building was erected.
This schoolhouse has four rooms and four teachers are employed. Work is done through the tenth grade, and playground
apparatus was installed in 1915. A kindergarten is also conducted. The old schoolhouse was purchased by William
Westering and Andy Lorentzen and moved south of the track where for several years it was used as an opera house
on Depot Avenue. Finally it was purchased by Will Hargieroad and torn down.
In 1915 a new town hall, costing $2,000 was erected.
At this time there are in Holstein in addition to the business establishments mentioned two implement houses, one
operated by A. E. Mellinger for Stephen Schultz of Hastings and one belonging to L. E. Clark; two garages operated
by S. S. Hershep and Dan Essinger ; a 5 and 10 cent store and restaurant, operated by L. E. Clark & Son; a
hotel moved into town in about 1905 and of which H. H. Kennedy is the landlord; meat market of J. M. Nelson, a
millinery store, lumber yard, blacksmith shop, billiard and pool hall and a saloon.
There are about fifty residences in the town and fully half of these are modern in construction and equipment,
having private lighting plants and water under pressure. Sidewalks in the business section and a considerable proportion
of the residence district are of cement. The latter improvement has been made within the last five years.
In January, 1890, the Holstein board of trade was organized with Dr. W. T. Carson, president, C. A. Sipple, vice
president, John Hargleroad, secretary, and William Sheliheimer, treasurer. This organization continued active for
a number of years and was instrumental in developing the business interests. At about the same time a lyceum was
organized and contributed to the literary and debating side of the social life. Among the active members were A.
S. Thompson, A. L. Boyd, J. S. Fernow, Jennie Larsen, Versa Larsen, the Mecham brothers, the Holstein band, Mrs.
F. J. Hurst, Joe McCowan, Dr. W. T. Carson, Ruby and Lottie Mecham, Fred Hurst, Anna Larsen, A. E. Troyer and Eva
In the early '90s a dramatic club contributed its quota to the amusement and education of the town. The club presented
a number of plays the casts being formed from the local histronic talent. Among these plays were "A Yankee
Detective" and "Three Nights in a Bar Room." Dr. W. T. Carson was manager of this club and A. L.
Boyd was secretary. Among the members were C. A. Sipple, A. E. Troyer, T. L. Ambler, J. M. Heckler, E. L. Hannaford,
Jennie Larsen and Eva McPeak.
The Royal Neighbors Lodge of Holstein was organized March 8, 1908, by Laura Holt, of Omaha, with a charter membership
of twenty, as follows: Elizabeth Trier, Octayia Fischer, Maggie Hargleroad, Hannah Kennedy, Anna Richards, Mattie
Roeder, Sine Johnson, Jennie E. Carson, Stella Churchill, Ethel Kennedy, Minnie McCulla, Della Clark, Lena Moehl,
Lena Young, Hazel Starkey, Clara Cookus, Anna Wagner, Susie Broll, George Churchill and F. C. Van Veghten. The
present officers are: Oracle, Octavia Fischer; Recorder, Stella Sanford; Receiver, Jennie Carson.
The Holstein Ladies Aid Society of the Evangelical Church was organized August 8, 1915, with the following officers:
President, Mrs. Reverend Hewitt; vice president, Mrs. Morse Nelson; secretary, Mrs. W. T. Carson: treasurer, Mrs.