James A. McMichael

Written By: nppladmin - Jun• 14•21
Originally published to Facebook.com/NorthPlattePL on 6/11/2021.

Since we have been highlighting buildings and homes in North Platte over the past few months, I thought it was time for you to meet the builder/contractor of many businesses and houses. So, let me introduce the McMichael Family!

James A. McMichael was born on April 22, 1861 in Lickingville, Pennsylvania to Alonzo and Mary McMichael. James was the oldest of ten children born to Alonzo and Mary.

In 1878, Alonzo came to North Platte as a carpenter, builder, and contractor by trade. His wife and family joined him in 1880. Their last child born to them was Jennie May and she was born in North Platte, Nebraska. Alonzo established his carpentry business and built a number of the larger buildings and residences in North Platte. He was a hard-working man, who passed along both his trade and his honest reputation and integrity to his sons; who in turn continued the family carpentry tradition and also built many structures in North Platte. James became the primary contractor in the family, and three of his brothers were also carpenters in North Platte: Benton “Bent”; Franklin Clyde “Clyde”; and Howard Russell (Howard also served on the City Council in 1921).

On November 22, 1888, James married Sciota Salinda “Sota or Zota” Rowley, and to them four daughters were born: Estella M. “Mame” (1889-1968); Daisy Frances (1891-1958); Luella “Dollie” Margaret (1894-1927); Ruby Irene (1900-1943).

James’ work as a contractor led him to build some of the most prominent buildings in North Platte. He built the McCabe Hotel, the Palace Hotel, the Hendy-Ogier Ford Garage, the 2nd High School building, the Knights of Columbus Hall and more. James A McMichael also put up the first house on the site of Hershey in Lincoln County in 1890. One can only imagine how many other buildings and houses were built by the McMichael family, since only the large prominent ones are mentioned in the research materials. Many, many notices were seen in the North Platte newspapers of James McMichael starting or completing farmhouses, businesses, homes, and other types of buildings. By 1920, the name of his contracting business was McMichael Brothers.

James was affiliated with Lodge No 985 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

James A. McMichael died on August 21, 1924 in an Omaha hospital, after suffering a heart attack and stroke.

Family photographs are courtesy of Charlene Rowley.

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