Saturday, August 9, 2014

Grocery Store

Hinck Grocery Store
Hinck Grocery

Story 1

As I began my quest as to why this postcard was in my grandmother's album, I focused on the possibility that this was the grocery store that my grandfather's oldest brother, John Louis Brunken[1] owned in partnership with James S. Haney[2] as is described by the following newspaper clippings:

The Columbus journal., August 28, 1907, page 8

The Columbus journal., August 28, 1907, page 1

The Columbus journal., August 28, 1907, page 1

Four years after purchasing the store, the Brunken & Haney grocery store was sold.
The Columbus journal., May 03, 1911, page 1
The Columbus journal., May 03, 1911, page 1
While the 1907-1911 time of ownership is within the time period of most of the postcards in my grandmother's album, the men in the picture did not match.  Both my grand-uncle, John Lewis Brunken, and his partner, James S. Haney, were about 35 years old when they purchased the grocery store.  The older gentleman appears to be older than that and the younger man in the white shirt appears to be quite a bit younger.

Story 2

During further research on the historic Eleventh Street stores in Columbus, Nebraska, I came across the following newspaper clipping:

Louise Wilhelmina (Brunken) Karlin[4], the youngest sister of my grandfather and John Louis Brunken, had brought the 1916[10] picture to the attention of the Columbus Telegraph and the paper printed the 60+ year old picture in 1977.

While the newspaper reproduction is very poor, there is enough to see that the two pictures appear to be of the same store.  The pictures appear not to have been taken on the same day - for example the baskets have been moved and some of the stock on the shelves is different. Also, as far as I can tell, the potbelly stove in back is not present in the newspaper picture - a common practice was to place the stove in storage when not in use to provide more walk space.

My conclusion is that the postcard in my grandmother's album is of the Hinck's grocery store in the Henry Building at Eleventh and Olive and is not the Brunken & Haney Grocery store two blocks away at Eleventh  and M from about a decade earlier.  And, the reason for my grandmother to have the postcard is that my grandfather's youngest sister is in the picture.

Who's Who

The lady in the background is likely Louise Wilhemmia Brunken[4][10]. 

The man on the right is possibly the owner of Hincks Grocery, Claus Hincks[5].

And, the man on the left in front is possibly Claus Hinck's son, Henry Louis Hinck[6].


1917 [10] Probably late fall or winter given the heavy coat that Louise appears to be wearing.


Henry Building on the corner of Eleventh and Olive in Columbus, Nebraska - now 2523 Eleventh  Street[7].

The Henry Building was built by R.H. Henry in 1886 and has had many occupants over the last century:  "J P Borowiak (boots and shoes, groceries and provisions, dry goods) (1896-97), Claus Hinck (grocer) (1915), H.F. Greiner (grocery and dry goods) (1920's), Schuyler Hatchery (1930-1937), vacant (1941), Buller Leather Store (1951), H W Buller (leather goods dealer) (1955), O'Kane & Son Produce (1959), El-Fran Cafe (1962-73), Rose Petals (1983-84), Copycat Printing (1995), Tienda Los Arcos (2003) (also see: view looking south), vacant (2012)"[8].

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  1. J.L. Brunken is John Louis Brunken, oldest child of John Dietrich and Johanna Wilhelmina (Plath) Brunken. John Louis Brunken had owned a livery stable in 1900, then worked in a cold storage facility before becoming a grocery merchandiser in 1907.  After being in the grocery business, he became a bank cashier and then a bookkeeper at the First National Bank on West 12th.
  2. Henry S. Haney had previously served in the First Regiment, Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. Company K. Mustered in at Lincoln, Nebraska, May 9 1898. Mustered out at San Francisco, 23 August 1899. [3] and had worked in the mercantile business. 
  3. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976. p. 1081.
  4. Louise Wilhelmina (Brunken) Karlin, youngest child of  John Dietrich and Johanna Wilhelmina (Plath) Brunken. and youngest sister of John Louis Brunken, was 21 years old in 1917.  She married Herman Henry Karlin in 1921.
  5. Claus Hinck had been a carpenter and builder of houses until at least 1911. And, by 1920, Claus had retired according to the 1920 US Census.
  6. Henry Louis Hinck, son of Claus Hinck, had been a laborer in 1910 according to the 1910 US Census. In 1917 Henry was the grocery store proprietor and had a wife and one child according to his WWI draft registration.
  7. The address of the Henry building was originally the corner of Eleventh and Olive then it was changed to 523 West Eleventh until the addresses on West Eleventh were again changed by adding 2000 to the street address.
  8. Columbus, Nebraska Buildings on 11th Street - Then and Now. NEGenWeb Project. Downloaded August 5, 2014.
  9. A photograph of Louise in 1923 is shown here for comparison. While the enlarged 1917 postcard picture is rather grainy, and the 1923 picture is six years later, similarities of facial features can be seen.

  10. Betty Meyn on August 28, 2014 wrote in an email, that this postcard was from her grandmother, Louise Wilhemmia Brunken. "This was taken in 1917. It is of the Hinck grocery store. Louise Brunken Karlin was the bookkeeper at the grocery store when this picture was taken. She is the one towards the back of the store leaning on her hand. Grandma really enjoyed working there."