Yellow Cowboy Boot – Old Shoe Advertising wood Trade Sign – Krogers Boots Store in Seward Nebraska

Product #W283A

This is a nice old advertising trade store sign that hung out in front of Krogers shoe store in Seward, Nebraska. This sign is made out of wood. There is four different colors used on this sign. The yellow and black are done with paint, and the green and red colors that spells Krogers has been cut out of a contact like paper and then applied to the wood. Also, note on the very top and the very bottom outline of the boot this same procedure has been done. This sign would of hung outside of the shoe store and there is signs of wear from being outside in the weather. This is a double sided sign and there is one side that is still quite nice and in better shape. This folk art made trade advertising sign measures 24 1/2″ high, is 17″ wide at the heel and at the top of the boot is 13″ wide. The thickness of the sign is 3/4″ thick. One of the best facts about this sign is that we have the history that documents about Krogers Shoe Store business.
I would estimate the time period on this sign to be the late 50’s to the early 60’s. We acquired this sign at a public auction here in Nebraska. This sign belonged to a shoe company called, Kroger’s Shoeland. This auction was a closeout sale for Kroger’s Shoe Store that was closing it’s doors after 132 years of business. This was a 4th generation store, that started in business in 1871. This would date the business back to just four years after Nebraska gained statehood. Kroger’s was in the same building doing business since 1937. While we were at the auction there was an article that was posted sharing some of this history of the Kroger Shoe business. Below is the information that was shared in this article.


‘Then & Now – North Side businesses share varied histories: Shoes run in Kroger family’ ‘One hundred and thirty-six years ago Carl Frederick Kroger great-grandfather of Dave Kroger, immigrated to Seward from Westphalia, Germany; six years later he opened a shoe store that continues to serve the town today. Born in 1849, C.F. Kroger grew up in Bunde, Westphalia, where his family ran a cigar making business. Realizing he could not make a living off of cigars because people didn’t have excess money to spend on tobacco products, he learned to make shoes from the cobbler who lived next door. Everybody needs shoes, Dave Kroger said about his great-grandfather’s new trade.
According to him, back then shoes were available in only one style. Just something to cover the foot, probably with laces, he said. Bringing this trade to Seward, C.F. Kroger opened his first shoe store in 1871, four years after Nebraska became a state.
The shop was a free-standing wooden building located on the west side of the square, Dave Kroger said. In those days, leather for making shoes was shipped up the Missouri River and distributed from Nebraska City. However, C.F. Kroger could not afford a horse to bring his leather to Seward so he would walk, approximately 65 miles to Nebraska City and carry the leather back on this back, Dave Kroger said. After several relocations, C.F. Kroger’s shoe store came to rest at 518 Seward St. in 1937, where it still stands today.
“Several locations’ always Kroger’s, always shoes,’ said Cheryl Kroger, Dave Kroger’s wife.
Though the name was always Kroger, the spelling has not always been consistent.
In an attempt to preserve the original pronunciation of his name, C.F. Kroger replaced the ‘o’ in his name with an ‘oe’.
However Dave Kroger said his father felt this was confusing and non-Germans still mispronounced the name. To make things easier Dave Kroger’s father dropped the ‘e’ when he took over the store in the 1950’s.
Today the store is called Kroger’s Shoeland and is owned and operated by Dave and Cheryl Kroger, who are the fourth generation of the family to run the business.
Dave & Cheryl, who met each other while attending Concordia University, came back to Seward in 1979 to keep the store in the family. They had been living in Rockford, Ill. Where Dave Kroger had been a teacher for 16 years. Dave Kroger said he came back ‘strictly for the heritage of the store’. My father wanted me to come, and my grandfather really wanted me to come, he said.
According to him, theirs is the oldest shoe store in Nebraska and possibly the oldest in the nation run by one family.
‘Age is either something you have or you don’t’, Cheryl Kroger said. The only way to earn it is by getting older. Although the Krogers have acquired age, Dave Kroger has not acquired his great-grandfather’s shoe making abilities. With all the original tools at his disposal, he attempted to learn the art of shoe making. ‘I thought if I’d make my own shoes, I’d be cool as heck,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t even make a sandal – that’s the most basic footwear.’
Inside Kroger’s store a few relics from the past, including two benches from 1916, an antique sewing machine and numerous vintage photographs, provide nostalgia for Kroger and his customers.
Although Dave Kroger takes great pride in the history of his business, he may be the final Kroger to carry on the legacy. He said he told his children there would never be a job for them there.
“I wanted them to go to school and study’, he said. ‘I am the end, and I knew that from the beginning,’ he said. This article was featured in the Seward County Independent newspaper on August 21, 2002. The closeout auction was held on November 15, 2003.
We have a copy of this article with a photograph of C.F. Kroeger and a photo of C.F. Kroeger store front.
This is a fun fact to still have this history that goes with this nice advertising trade sign. I was able to acquire some other nice advertising items at this sale, look closely through my other items.

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