I’m on a quest to find the oldest building—whether its a house, commercial building, church or whatever—in North Omaha. Of course, the Florence Mill and the Bank of Florence are the reigning champs. However, I’m finding glimmers and glimpses of other old places that I want to shine a light on. The following homes were all built in 1885 or earlier.
The oldest neighborhoods in the North Omaha community are Florence and the Near North Side, which is immediately north of North Downtown and south of Pratt Street. Other outlying houses and buildings may exist, but are largely hidden by the newer developments around them.
Here are ten of the oldest buildings in North Omaha, with the oldest one at the end. Note that there is no other order to what’s listed here. I originally published this in July 2015, and I updated it in August 2019.
2902 North 25th Street
Built in 1870, this house in Kountze Place has 1900 square feet with 6 rooms and 2 bathrooms. Built in the Victorian style, originally it would have had Eastlake features, including ornate porch detailing and flourishes around the home.
1117 North 20th Street
This 1885 home is 800 square feet. At 130-years-old, it pre-dates paved streets, running water, indoor bathrooms, streetlights, and regular horse-drawn streetcar service.
3030 Evans Street
This 1886 brick house was built in a frontier vernacular style. It has almost 2,000 square feet in two stories, with an eight-foot-tall ceiling in a block basement. There are four bedrooms in the home, with a central chimney. It sits on a long, narrow lot.
1818 North 26th Street
This 132-year-old home was built long before the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in North Omaha. Its a single story with three bedrooms in 688 square feet. It was built in 1883.
6327 Florence Boulevard
Built in 1869, this house was originally located at Fort Omaha, and as of 2017, is 127-years-old. Originally building 15 in the wood-framed Omaha Barracks, it stood at the fort until approximately 1900. That year, eccentric bachelor brothers William and Oliver Grenville bought it and moved it to Florence Boulevard. Originally located across the street from their commercial greenhouses, the home has stood there since. Originally located on 2.5 acres, today it has 2,550 square feet in the house with four bedrooms, and includes 1.25 acres of land. There’s also a 125-year-old barn down the cliff behind the house.
2617 Parker Street
Built in 1883, this 132-year-old home is a brick-two-story with three bedrooms. It has Victorian flourishes on a long and narrow lot. The house has more than 1,400 square feet.
2537 Patrick Avenue
This is a 131-year-old brick house. Built in 1885, it has three bedrooms in more than 1,500 square feet.
1120 North 20th Street
This house is among the very oldest houses in North Omaha at 140-years-old. This home was built in 1875, and straddles the edge of North Omaha and North Downtown.
General Crook House
The General Crook House was built in 1879. Since 1975, it has been home to the Douglas County Historical Society, which has restored it as Gen. Crook would have known it to be, including period furniture and other decorations. There are offices, display areas and other features throughout the historic house today.
2902 North 25th Street
2902 North 25th Street is one of the oldest houses in Omaha. Located just south of the Kountze Place neighborhood and near the 24th and Lake Historic District, it is an early example of Queen Anne style architecture. At 150-years-old, it maintains few of its original details; however, the overall structure of the home still reflects the aesthetic of Queen Anne architecture.
A 144-year-old home in Omaha that’s hasn’t been designated as an Omaha Landmark and isn’t listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its been a country home, turned into a plush estate, cut up with a suburban club, and carved into a housing development. But the Mergen House stands strong, and its history needs to be told. Read about it here.
THE OLDEST: 8621 North 31st Street
By far the oldest home in my survey comes from a neighborhood renowned for its age. The Florence area was settled long before Omaha, with the Mormons establishing a town here called Cutler’s Park in 1846. While little is left from that time, in 1856 the town of Florence was platted. This house, located just off North 30th Street, was built in 1859. At just below 800 square feet, is has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a combined kitchen/dining room/living room. That’s it. Oh, and a cool little porch. An interesting fact is that the basement is bigger than the rest of the house. Hmm…
These are the oldest homes I’ve found in North Omaha on my initial scan. There are some important things to keep in mind while reading this list:
- The Near North Omaha neighborhood, located between Locust and Cuming, 16th and 30th, was originally platted as country estates for politicians. They built a few large homes and small mansions along 16th and further north, but left the rest of the community for residential and commercial development.
- Much of Near North Omaha was in-filled with apartments and duplexes starting in the 1890s and extending into the late 1920s.
- A massive tornado swept through Near North Omaha in 1913 that demolished many old homes.
- Starting in the 1960s, there was a program by the City of Omaha to demolish dilapidated or ill-kept multi-family homes in North Omaha. This led to many older buildings being town down.
- Much of the commercial area along North 24th was demolished by rioting in the 1960s and 70s. These buildings included old storefronts and apartments.
- The Fort Omaha Historic District has several historic buildings in addition to the General George Crook House.
I will keep hunting, and as always I would love to hear from YOU about what you know! Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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MY ARTICLES ON THE HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE IN NORTH OMAHA
GENERAL: Architectural Gems | The Oldest House | The Oldest Places
PLACES: Mansions and Estates | Apartments | Churches | Public Housing | Houses | Commercial Buildings | Hotels
PEOPLE: ‘Cap’ Clarence Wigington | Everett S. Dodds | Jacob Maag | George F. Shepard | John F. Bloom
HISTORIC HOUSES: Mergen House | Hoyer House | Campion House | North Omaha’s Sod House | James Comey Mitchell House | Charles Storz House | George F. Shepard House | 2902 N. 25th St. | 6327 Florence Blvd.
PUBLIC HOUSING: Logan Fontenelle | Spencer Street | Hilltop | Pleasantview | Myott Park aka Wintergreen
NORMAL HOUSES: 3155 Meredith Ave. | 5815 Florence Blvd. | 2936 N. 24th St. | 6711 N. 31st Ave. | 3210 N. 21st St. | 4517 Browne St. | 5833 Florence Blvd. | 1922 Wirt St. | 3467 N. 42nd St. | 5504 Kansas Ave. | Lost Blue Windows House
HISTORIC APARTMENTS: Historic Apartments | Ernie Chambers Court, aka Strehlow Terrace | The Sherman Apartments | Logan Fontenelle Housing Projects | Spencer Street Projects | Hilltop Projects | Pleasantview Projects | Memmen Apartments | The Sherman | The Climmie | University Apartments
MANSIONS & ESTATES: Hillcrest Mansion | Burkenroad House aka Broadview Hotel aka Trimble Castle | McCreary Mansion | Parker Estate | J. J. Brown Mansion | Poppleton Estate | Rome Miller Mansion | Redick Mansion | Thomas Mansion | John E. Reagan House | Brandeis Country Home | Bailey Residence | Lantry – Thompson Mansion | McLain Mansion | Stroud Mansion | Anna Wilson’s Mansion | Zabriskie Mansion | The Governor’s Estate | Count Creighton House | John P. Bay House
COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS: 4426 Florence Blvd. | 2410 Lake St. | 26th and Lake Streetcar Shop | 1324 N. 24th St. | 2936 N. 24th St. | 5901 N. 30th St. | 4402 Florence Blvd. | 4225 Florence Blvd. | 3702 N. 16th St.
RELATED: Redlining | Neighborhoods | Streets | Streetcars | Churches | Schools
This house isn’t standing anymore. Starting as a small cabin in 1851, this house was finished in 1853. It was the Mitchell house, and stood as a landmark in Florence for more than a century. Mitchell was the founder of the town, and its named after his niece. See the tree growing through the second floor porch? Mitchell built the porch to wrap around the tree instead of cutting it down. The house was demolished in 1964.
Very interesting. You might want to check the house I grew up in. It was built in 1910 according to the deed. 2444 Pratt St. My brother still lives in the house. We moved in in 1954
Nice research and interesting that the last house had a larger basement. How was the information gathered, thru online sites other spending time at Douglas County officr?
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Thanks Rich! For this article, I combined old newspaper articles with the county assessor’s website, and cross-referencing the info against other print sources available from the Douglas County Historical Society and my own library. You can find a thorough list of my sources at https://northomahahistory.com/about-2/
THE HOUSE I GREW UP IN 3529 NORTH 41ST ST. RIGHT NEXT DOOR THERE IS A HOUSE THAT STILL HAS AN “OUT HOUSE” I REMEMBER AN OLD MAN NAME FRANK V LIVED THERE AND HE WAS ALMOST 90YRS OLD 37YRS AGO. OLD HOUSE.
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The Douglas County Assessor’s Office says that house was built in 1915. However, since their records were mostly destroyed in the 1919 lynching and riot at the courthouse, its likely they’re wrong! Cool to know there’s an older place up there!
Thanks cool fact.
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I came across this article wanting to know more about what homes were like in 1885. I learned today the home i live in was built that year. I would live to see another article like this about the homes in Little Italy. The redevelopment in this area has developers hungry for property and much of the history if these homes will be lost. Last year 3 beautiful, brick homes across the street from me and one next door were destroyed.
It’s too bad with happening in Little Italy – but my research and writing focuses on North Omaha, and the description it’s happening to its historical places gets no attention. That’s what I’m volunteering to change with this site. Good luck with your advocacy though!
Iam currently renting a home at 3624 north 67th Avenue
It was built in 1915
I’m at 709 N 41st Ave. House was built in 1900
North West Omaha.. Irvington area. I live in the oldest home in the area. A two story block rock faced farm house built in 1900. Would love to know more about the history of the home and property etc.
This is so interesting. We have lived in our home in west Benson since 1974 and our records state that it was built in 1892-93. Basement was added in 1912! LOVE old houses….if these walls could talk! Thank you for this article!
I live in Florence and my house was built in 1896. My main heat source is a wood burning stove. Some of the support beams are actually railroad ties. Two of the 5 bedrooms have the original Walnut floors and one bedroom never had electricity added.
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