Meeting Place

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Hay Springs, Nebraska© jan albers | all rights reserved© jan albers | all rights reserved

Coffee Cup Cafe, Hay Springs, Nebraska

This is the story told to us about the restaurant by Selma Kudrna, who owned a tax services business in town and who was volunteering the day we stopped by, in 1991:

The owner, Blanche de Haven, is a farm woman. Two young fellas bought the cafe, coming up with the cash with Blanche’s help – she cosigned on a loan. The business was going well until the sheriff came in one day and arrested one of the men, who had a prison record and had been stealing money from the business – and who’d cosigned on the loan.

Blanche, who’s in her late 70s, then took over the cafe herself. She gets up every morning between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. to do her farm chores, then heads to the restaurant, where she works until the afternoon. She’s helped by folks in town who volunteer at the restaurant one day a week to keep it running.

They don’t mind helping. One patron sums up the community spirit neatly: “Along here, we own our towns.”

They did mind when Blanche raised the price of a cup of coffee from a quarter to 30 cents – especially since the senior center across the street sells a cup of coffee for only a quarter.

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3 Responses to “Meeting Place”

  1. JanAlbers Says:

    Wonder if Blanche is still running the restaurant—

  2. Anthony Reitz Says:

    Grandma Blanche passed away in 2006. In all actuality, she did wake up early in the morning, but not to do farm chores. Gramma Blanche (my great grandmother, btw) moved into town sometime soon after Grandpa Harley Dehaven passed away in 1978. She was very active in the community, helping with the local garden club, establishing the small park on Main St, moving the old schoolhouse (the one her kids attended down in the Sandhills) into town for the Heritage Museum, and helping set many things in place for the museum. As for the Coffee Cup, I remember when it was run by Mrs Lacey. It was the 80s and I used to ride into town with my grandpa Gene a lot to have coffee to get the day started. There was a group that usually met up to visit and coffee for an hour or so. They would roll dice to see who would pay for coffee that day. Sometimes Mrs. Lacey even joined in rolling to see if it was on the house. When she ran it, the cafe was about half the width of the storefront you see in the picture. She lived in a small apartment in the other half. I don’t believe the building is being used for anything right now, but for a while it was being used as a small church. This is the best I can recall. I go home every year, and will someday move back to Hay Springs, but for now it is just a sleepy little town waiting for someone to realize what a gem it is.

  3. Jan Albers Says:

    Thank you Anthony for your info. when we were documenting US highway 20 NE was one of our favorite states–friendly people and interesting town histories.

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