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Rare finds at the Hooker County Historical Museum

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – During a visit to the Mullen Museum, we had the pleasure of chatting with Frank Harding, a member of the century-old historical society.

Harding is a local rancher, a longtime resident of the Mullen area, and he just celebrated his 100th birthday. He is very proud of the Hooker County Historical Museum, and rightly so.

“The place where the museum now stands was once a hotel,” Harding said. “It was built in 1917 by one of the first county commissioners here. He built this hotel, and it was very popular. It was advertised as the only hotel between Alliance and Broken Bow that had hot and cold running water in every room. In recent years, the only people who stayed here were cattle buyers, who came here in the fall to visit the ranches in the area. Then the feedlots came and farmers no longer came from eastern Nebraska or Iowa. The hotel was therefore abandoned. It was in poor condition, but the historical society bought it. In 1990 we started getting artifacts from people. Most of the building’s artifacts are donated by people who lived here. »

The museum is designed so that each room has a theme.

“We have a western room for example, which has vintage side saddles and historical stuff,” Harding said. “We have a music room. In the hallway here we have the first photo of Mullen with a group walking down the street at a 4th of July celebration in 1902. In the group was a teacher. We have the horn he played in 1902 in this photo on display here at the museum. We also have a wonderful display of our military veterans. Many of the early settlers were Civil War veterans, of course.

The military exhibit is made possible by the museum as well as the American Legion Post 109. Harding says it’s important to preserve history at local museums like this.

“They always say if you don’t remember history, it will repeat itself,” Harding said. “I just think it’s important to know what our ancestors did, how they lived, and how different it was back then than it is now.”

When you visit the Hooker County Historical Museum, you’ll learn about the hotel’s history on a guided tour. You can also see all exhibits. The museum does not have set hours, but if you are in town there are phone numbers on the museum door. You can call any of these numbers and one of the members will answer you. They say they’ll be happy to come and give you a look.

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