We Answered the Call
— 1861 - Today —
In Beatrice, industries pooled resources to obtain defense contracts by creating Homestead Industries, Inc. This "war production pool of industries" included Dempster Industries, Store Kraft Manufacturing, W.M. Haith Tank Works, Beatrice Steel Tank, Petersen and F.D. Kees Manufacturing Companies.
One thing the war did is that it brought everyone together.....
Beatrice Resident Betty Aksamit
April 25, 2005
[Photo captions follow]
1. Dempster Mill Manufacturing Company, producer of farming equipment before the war, added production of 90-millimeter anti-aircraft shells and continued production of ever more efficient farm equipment. By the time the war ended, Dempster had produced a million and a half shells for the Army.
2. Raising food for U.S. forces and allies became an important wartime activity. Victory gardens and food rationing were part of the effort. Beatrice workers contributed by buying war bonds and supporting the Red Cross, United War Fund Drives, Community Chest, Clothing Drives, and Civilian Defense.
3. December 27, 1944, The United States Maritime Service launched the SS Beatrice Victory. Named in tribute to the City of Beatrice's contributions for the war effort, the 10,730-ton cargo vessel delivered supplies to the Philippines.
4. Miss Jane E. Robertson representing the Beatrice Jr. Chamber of Commerce about to christen the SS Beatrice Victory.
5. Pre-war maker of grain bins and culverts, Beatrice Steel Tanks made depth charges, powder tanks, and mines. With the men in the armed forces, women went to work in manufacturing. This Beatrice Steel Tank employee welds a depth charge. The company won 5 "E" Awards for Excellence from the Navy.
6. On Feb. 9, 1945 the original Steel Tank building was totally destroyed by fire. Sixty days later production resumed in a completely new structure built by employees in 45 working days.
7. Steel Tank employees work together to make a half-pontoon for the Army.
8. Store Kraft converted from making wooden store fixtures to airplane parts for the Army Air Force, ammunition boxes for Army Ordnance, equipment cases for the Army Signal Corps, wing assembly for the Navy PQ-14A plane, and telephone and telegraph equipment cases for the Navy.