Brickmaking in Hastings began in 1878, six years after the town was established. A year later much of the downtown was destroyed by fire in September 1879. Following the fire, the city passed an ordinance requiring future commercial buildings to use fireproof materials.
Brickyards sprang up to supply brick for new buildings. Western Brick and Supply Company was established at this site in 1900, later adding a second yard on the east side of town. At their peak, the two sites employed upwards of 120 workers and produced twenty-four million bricks and tile each year.
In 1942 a fire destroyed the east yard. The facility here supplied brick for construction of the Naval Ammunition Depot southeast of Hastings. During WWII, German POWs worked in this yard. The brickyard at this site was destroyed by fire in 1946.
Western Brick continued operations at another facility purchased from Polenske Brothers-Schellak & Co. This 27-acre park was established by the City of Hastings in 1977. The smokestack, kiln, and clay pit serve as a reminder of Hastings’ role as an important brick-manufacturing center of Nebraska.