Hofius Hardware store in Belize City over the years, also the Hofius-Hildebrandt Store
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December 9, 2022

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The Hofius Building on Albert Street along with the Willaim Quan building in an earlier era. This store was owned by two German Business men with surnames, Hofius and Hildebrandt. Hofius also owned the large mango walk past the Haulover Bridge. Of interest to Belizeans should be, that the first Hurricane Proof Shelter was built by these two gentlemen and still stands on Gabourel Lane. The Peace Corps had their offices there once. The steps at the left of the picture led to a building that served many purposes, Military during the West India regiment. Magistracy and once as Post Office before Paslow building was built. (Barclay's Building is there now) then followed the "Hofius and Hildebrandt" Store, and last the Cuevas home and business place. This Cuevas Building which was at one time shingled, belonged to a very wealthy family, who donated a lot of its wealth to the Roman Catholic Church. The building on the far left was the Apollo Club owned by Guy N.F. Nord. Please look at the cleanliness of the streets. (the fine for littering was $25.00 or a month's salary). Photo courtesy Noel Escalante.

A view of Hofius Hardware store across from courthouse. Belize City 1930s. Hofius is the building to the left. Across from Battlefield Park. Now, it would be in front of the courthouse looking towards the taxi stand. Photo courtesy Gerald Straughan.
Harold Usher: Check out the cart being pushed, beautiful photo of days gone by. I had one of those and made a my own money from it, from I was 8 years old to 14 years old. It was my own business. I competed against Bicycle Carts for delivery jobs. I used to park at Court House Wharf and offer to deliver peoples merchandise, such as, coconuts (25 and more) and bunches of Plantain, and fruits, and so on, to their little store around the city. The boats came in there from Manatee, and Mullins River and Sittee (Via the Sea) with their produces and sell them to people out at the wharf. I also used to purchase these produces and re-sell them, singularly at street corners, especially near Chan's at corner Pickstock Street and New Road, and sometimes on North Front Street. Real Entrepreneur, I was back then. I believe The Colosseum was located at the same site as Hofius is today, 19 Albert Street. Hofius, started as Hofius and Hildebrandt, was first established in Belize, British Honduras (now Belize City, Belize) in 1892 by Otto Hofius and Curt Hilderbrandt. In 1914 the Hildebrandts emigrated to the United States and the business became the Hofius Hardware Co. Ltd. They either took over the Collosseum, or bought it after the fire and renamed it.

Hofius Hildebrandt store. The stores were established in Belize, British Honduras in 1892 by Otto Hofius and Curt Hildebrandt. In 1914 the Hildebrandt migrated to the USA and the business became Hofius Harware Co Ltd. They were co partners. Today they are Hofius/ACE hardware.

"Interior Colosseum." over a hundred years ago. The site of Hofius today was once occupied by the Colosseum. The Colosseum was destroyed by fire in 1897 and was rebuilt in 1898. Photo courtesy Belize National Historical Society

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Hofius Hardware store in Belize City over the years, also the Hofius-Hildebrandt Store

British Honduras street scene showing new Barclays Bank DCO building.

Top photo from the 1960's, Barclays Bank and Hofius Hardware. Iconic landmarks at the start of busy Albert Street, a little further down, there is Ro-Macs grocery store, then Odettes Fancy Store with indeed the Guatemalan Embassy above! Love all the old model cars!

The Hofius and Hildebrant families had beautiful homes on Gabourel Lane.

Percival Thompson: Uncle Duncan Pinkard did renovations inside and out back.

Alda Bevans: Hofius is now ACE Hardware, it does not stock some of the nice household items for kitchen (dishrs, crystals. Cutlery, etc) as they once did.

Dora Riverol: The Colosseum is now the Hofius... even today the brackets tieing in walls to the roofing are the same ones from the Colosseum ... these bracketts have done an excellent job helping the building survive the 31 and Hattie... now at least 120 yrs old.

Top photograph courtesy George Villanueva

Hofius and Hildebrandt Souvenir Book containing 22 pages, predominantly street scenes in Belize City. Circa. 1900. Made in Germany. Hofius and Hildebrandt was established in Belize City, British Honduras in 1892 by Otto Hofius and Curt Hildebrandt. In 1914 the Hildebrandts emigrated to the USA and the business became the Hofius Hardware Co Ltd. Courtesy of the James Lindsay Collection.

Ad Published in 1925 "The Handbook of British Honduras"

Ad from "The Guide to British Honduras" published by the Sologaistoa Brothers. First year of publication 1919.

Advertisement for the Colosseum.

This photo is the location where Brodies is today. Don't get confused! In the old days, there were a lot of jostling between the big retail stores for location. At the time of this photo, Brodie's was across the street where Debari is today. Brodies was also in a partnership with Cuthbert at one point that was located where the Vogue was located (could be in a different location). Cuthbert got tired of Brodies and partnered with his son instead to become Cuthbert and Sons (at Vogue location). Then Brodies was starting to burst his britches and took over the old Hofius and Hilderbrant location. Hofius and Hilderbrant weren't ready to close shop so they moved over to the current Hofius location. Things settled down for a while after that.

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