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From: Bill <>
Subject: [NEBRHERITAGE] Stories at Eleven, "Surprise", 12 October 2008,Vol11 #33
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2008 20:22:48 -0400
Stories at Eleven
© Bill Oliver
12 October 2008
Vol 11 Issue: #33
Good Evening Nebraskans and all Ships at Sea,
Sometimes I find in my library books that have slipped my mind. As I was
fingering through a shelf looking for a "good read" I happened upon a
series of "year books". Much to my surprise, instead of being all high
school year books [or college yearbooks] I pulled out a rather thin book
with a fine leather cover. There, embossed into the cover were the
initials "SK" supporting a winged eagle. I knew it had to be good
because across the top were five gold stars – you know a "five star"!
This book came from a location where the DeRoin Trail crossed the Big
Blue River. The DeRoin Trail began at Brownville near the town of St.
DeRoin. It went to Beatrice, Nebraska, on its way to join the Oregon
Trail near Alexandria. It followed the old Otoe-Omaha Indian Trail and
was also know as the Brownville or Government Road. Originally the trail
joined the Austin Trail near the present site of Pickrell and continued
west. In the early 1840's over 300,000 brave adventurers crossed this
spot on their way west. Then in the 1850's when Beatrice was able to
sell the transients supplies, the trail dropped further south and
followed what is now Court Street. It crossed the Big Blue River just
south of the current Court Street bridge on the rock bottom ford know as
the Scott Street ford.
Maybe it should be said that Bee-ah-trice is really Be-AT'-trice and
named for the daughter of a presiding judge – Judge John F. Kinney.
In 1873 a lady named Clara Colby formed a foundation for a [the
Beatrice] public library. When this fell through and a reading room
could no longer be supported, Ms. Colby moved the entire library into
her home and kept the library open for business.
From this type of "pioneer spirit" the Storekraft Manufacturing Company
was incorporated in 1920 where it manufactured high quality custom wood
and metal products [retail store fixtures] and is still in business today.
Back to "the" memory book! It is but fifty-six pages and filled with
pictures. Leading to the title page is the book's dedication page:
Lt. Marvin Nieman Lt. Edwin Hugh Carroll Pvt. Kenneth Hull Sgt. Kenneth
Rinne Robert Hiatt, S 1-c
There are another one hundred and two names added to this "Roll of
Honor", all employees of Store Kraft before entering the Service of
their country during World War II. If memory serves me correctly, about
five hundred employees was the peek number of employees during that war.
One fifth of their numbers were on that "Roll of Honor".
This memory/activity record covers from 7 December 1941 through 14
August 1945. Prior to December 7th, 1941, the company had indicated its
willingness to produce "any article" that it was capable of making for
the "proper defense of our country". Though their main thrust was
manufacturing for the Army Air Force, they also had contracts with the
Army Engineers, Army Ordinance, Civil Aeronautics Administration, Army
Signal Corps, Quartermaster Department, and U.S. Navy, The company owned
their own fleet of "long haul" trucks to timely deliver their materials.
Employees of StoreKraft participated in war time activities including
war bonds, the Red Cross, United War Fund Drives, Community Chest,
United Clothing Drives, and Civilian Defense and Harvest.
The scarcity of gasoline and tires made it very necessary to erect a
building and install and organize a cafeteria for feeding StoreKraft
employees. To further help the food situation a large vegetable garden
was planted in 1943. Many employees helped plant and maintain the
garden. The resulting production of vegetables were enjoyed throughout
the summer, plus, three thousand quarts of vegetables were canned for
use during the winter.
I found that one of the items manufactured for defense was drawing
boards for advanced combat area use. They also manufactured the Culver
all wood wing for aircrafts. The company gained a large contract for
Glider Assemblies. I can remember jeeps being transported in those
wooden gliders. In addition, the Western Electric Company needed cases
to carry vital communication equipment . StoreKraft made these cases
which were shipped to all parts of the fighting areas. The cases were
long and were affectionately called "Hitler Coffins".
In general the company today manufactures nonwood store fixtures, wood
store fixtures, Catering gloves or glove dispensers, Aluminum food
wrapping foil, Plastic food wrap, Display cases, Heated display cases,
Refrigerated display cases, Ice cream display cases, Glass chilling
equipment, and Cool containers.
e-la-Di-e-das-Di ha-WI NV-WA-do-hi-ya NV-WA-to-hi-ya-da.
(May you walk in peace and harmony)
"Myths are universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our
lives ..." Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus
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