How many businesses can you think of that have been in continuous operation for 135 years in the same location? Probably not many. Lord’s Hardware has been operating continuously since 1882 in downtown Indianola, Nebraska. If you need some obscure widget and don’t have time to wait for fulfillment from Amazon, there’s a good chance that Lord’s might have it in stock. I was there recently to purchase a stove flue damper, and happened upon a new-old-stock mid-century modern light fixture in the process. It had probably been on the shelf for half a century – it still had the original price of $6.95 written in grease pencil. Of course I bought it. When was the last time retailers used grease pencil to price items?
Like most old buildings, the structure that houses Lord’s has changed throughout the years. The overall character of the original section feels like the early 20th century. But here and there one can discern remnants of the late 19th century. Victorian-era shelving displays merchandise, some of which is accessible only by a rolling ladder. Worn maple flooring peeks out between various floor coverings. Pressed tin ceilings from the 1900’s add character to the space. Adjoining buildings have been annexed, and the business today has expanded far beyond the original storefront.
Even if you don’t have a pressing need for some obscure item, a trip to Lord’s will be worth your while and an experience you’re not likely to forget. It’s a bit like time travel, and reminds me of what the world used to be like (i.e. more genteel than the present).