The brickyard in southeastern Hastings where John Blum worked as a young man was just one of several that operated in the city over an 80-year span from 1878-1958.
Hastings was known as an important brick-manufacturing center, and at one time produced 70 percent of all brick manufactured in Nebraska and all of the paving brick in the state, according to "Adams County: The Story," a centennial history of the county by Dorothy Weyer Creigh published in 1972 by the Adams County Historical Society.
The following information is gleaned from Tribune archives; from an article on the brickyards that is part of Creigh's book; and from entries in the companion volume, "Adams County: The People."
The first brickyard in Hastings was established in 1878 by Svend Johnson and David McElhinney at a location that eventually became known as 623 S. Burlington Ave. By the 1880s, the community was in rapid building mode and created a great demand for brick. (The main building district, constructed of raw lumber, had been devastated by fire in 1879, opening the door to a large rebuilding project utilizing brick.)