A History of the Forgot Store

Forgot Store, 11909 Calhoun Road, Ponca Hills, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the banner for a 1908 Omaha World-Herald feature called "Around the Loop Road to the Forgot Store."

Junior’s Forgot Store Bar and Grill is located at 11909 Calhoun Road in the Ponca Hills, just beyond the Florence neighborhood in North Omaha. A community icon, it’s been open in some form for at least 120 years. This is a history of the place.

Earliest Years

Forgot Store, Calhoun Highway and Ponca Road, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1908 pic of the Forgot Store at the intersection of Calhoun Highway and Ponca Road.

According to an article in the Omaha World-Herald archives, the Forgot Store was open in 1894. Oral history places it even further back in the 1880s.

In 1904, a local newspaper report gladly announced,

“Out on the banks of Ponca creek, about three miles north of Florence, Neb., there is a store that must be a source of joy to the farmer who has been to town to make purchases, and who, when on his way home, finds that he has forgotten something that the folks at the farm need badly. It has a sign, a crude one, compared to some of the city signs, that tells one it is the ‘Forgot Store.'”

Neighborhood grocery stores dot neighborhoods throughout Omaha, and even more so in the past. For a long time, people in the Ponca Hills loved their grocery called the Forgot Store. Located at the intersection of the Ponca Road and Calhoun Road, the Forgot Store supposedly got its name because it was the last place to get something on your way out of town in case you forgot it.

“…a Mecca for all those who pass by and have failed to remember things.”

Owners of the Store

Forgot Store, 11909 Calhoun Road, Ponca Hills, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1921 pic of the Forgot Store at the corner of Ponca Road and the old Washington Highway, now called Calhoun Road.

Often associated with the people who owned and ran it (the Ericksons, the Pritchards, the Hunts, the Cullens, and now Junior), the Forgot Store was the site of many events. More than 120 years ago, Claude Nethaway, a notorious violent white supremacist in Florence, owned the store. Nethaway raised a variety of poultry there, and on December 24, 1902 he hosted “an all-around shooting match” with turkeys, targets and pigeons, and surely kept any African Americans from shopping there. After his wife died of mysterious causes in 1917, he sold the store.

This is a 1966 pic of the Forgot Store sign along the Calhoun Highway.

C. S. Erikson owned it next. In the early 1920s, the building was called a roadhouse and its ownership was held as suspicious. An Omaha policeman was suspended for being a partner in the criminal enterprise, since it was used as a flophouse. However, by the late 1920s a retired doctor, Dr. Harvey Pritchard, owned it and ran it as a regular store again. He was well-respected in the community, and in Wisner, Nebraska, where he was practiced. The Cullens and the Hunts owned it afterward.

From 1975 to 1993, Mike Hickey and his wife Darlene owned the store. Long involved in the Ponca Hills neighborhood, the Hickeys were volunteers at the fire department and well respected. Junior Mathiesen, former owner of the Anchor Inn, owns it today.


This is a 2017 pic of the Forgot Store Bar and Grill at the intersection of Calhoun Road and Ponca Road.
This is a 2017 pic of the Forgot Store Bar and Grill at the intersection of Calhoun Road and Ponca Road.

As recently as 2016, Junior’s Forgot Store Bar and Grill has hosted benefits for various causes and is still an active meeting place for the community. Despite receiving some poor reviews online, the Forgot Store is held in high regard within the community and respected for its history.

In my research, I found four features about the Forgot Store in the Omaha World-Herald since 1904, including one from March 2019. Despite its roll in the community and age, there are no historical plaques, designations from the City of Omaha Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission as an official Omaha Landmark, or listing on the National Register of Historic Places for the building.

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  1. The smash hit song “Convoy” was written at the Forgot Store by C.W. Mcall and someone else. I think you should definitely include that fact of it’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes I growed up with hickeys and hickeys boy mike and John aways ate hamburgers and had beer ther when Mike young’s hickey son was bartender play pool and was great place to hang out great food and colds beer in town will never for get great time growing up with hickeys boys and living around ponca hills and going to forgot store

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Correction – the store owners were John & Darlene Hickey. They purchased from Hunts and sold it to Cullens. And the Grammy winning song “Convoy” by CW McCall was indeed written in the bar by Chip Davis and Bill Friis (CW), A copy of the Grammy plaque hangs on the wall!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Back in the late 30s my folksJohn L & Dorothy Mabry rented the house just east on the hill I think his name If I’m correct, Palmtag . My sisters brother older sis Shirley older Brother Howard , younger sis Emma lou and me John C Mabry. aI went to the old Ponca school where the fire barn is now. I’m the only one Left. We have 2kids now

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Back late30 my parentsJohn&Dorothy Mabry rented the we called it the ole Palmtag place my Aunt Dorothy And Uncle Shorty Schultz lived lived to the north of the Lutheran church


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