Henderson Heritage Park is “Home Sweet Home” for East Side Cafe

After eight years of repairing shoes, purses, wallets and belts, Heinrichs discontinued his repair shop in the building.

The barn was left to rent once again until Dave and Hulda Hiebert from Henderson thought it would be a wonderful idea to turn the barn into a hamburger and coffee shop named the East Side Café. As coffee goers would come and go, the Hieberts welcomed everyone with warm greetings.

A year (after) the café was opened, the business was passed on to Grant and Edith Buller from Omaha.

In 1952, Thieszen no longer wanted to rent out the café. Harley Bergen came along and offered Thieszen $1,000 for the building. Thieszen said he would take the offer, and from 1952 to 1956, the building was used for the Harley Bergen Insurance Agency. As explained in Friesen’s book named “Histories and Honeymoons,” Bergen Insurance was a new business and home to Harley, Evelyn and their son Terry. The front half was an office and the back half was their home.

Eventually, Bergen wanted a home for his family, and he wanted a business downtown which meant they had to move the insurance building off Main Street. Harvey Friesen said he would help move the building on to a private lot on Elm Street and rent it to school teachers in the community.

In 1962, the building was sold to Dennis Epp for $1,600. Epp owned the building for 44 years. Friesen said, “There were many colorful renters and tenants at that time; one of them being Elvie Campbell.” Campbell had worked for many circuses across the United States prior to coming to Henderson. Campbell was described as an “oddity” who was covered with tattoos from the tip of his head down to his toenails. He worked for Louie Siebert at Lou’s Machine Shop, and on the weekends he would search out ravines for old vehicles and motors to overhaul. “The house was his work shop. Once he left, the comment was made, ‘The cleanest place in the house was the bathtub because it was never used,’” said Friesen.

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