A History of the Redick Mansion in North Omaha

The Mayne Mansion at present-day N. 24th and Evans Streets.
  • Built: 1885
  • Address: 3612 North 24th Street
  • Architecture: Eastlake Style
  • Demolished: 1916

The most famous mansion built in North Omaha is probably the Mayne Mansion, also known as the Redick Mansion. Clifton E. Mayne was a pioneer real estate investor and salesman in the city. In the 1870s, a farmer built a little house along Saunders Street leading north out of Omaha. He sold ten acres and his little farmhouse to Mayne in 1885.

 

About the Mansion

Mayne, wealthy and determined to build a monument to his own success, quickly built his new home. It was built in the Eastlake style. The house had 20 rooms total. After entering through a large wraparound porch, visitors were immediately greeted by a formal Victorian foyer, and then ushered to the grand oak parlor. A large kitchen held its own dining table, as well as a formal dining room. Hardwood floors, twelve foot ceilings, plenty of bedrooms, and a large basement including a wine cellar were features in the mansion. Mayne also built a five story tower on the mansion, with a fancy viewing area at the top. Located on a wide, flat plain, this tower could see miles in every direction. The estate itself felt expansive, with fine trees planted along its edges, a large prairie held the wonders of nature for Mayne. He also expanded on a fruit orchard planted by the farmer before him.

As a wheeler and dealer in the early city’s growth, Mayne threw lavish parties and regularly hosted his colleagues and dignitaries in his home. However, the party didn’t last long. Mayne’s fortunes waxed and waned with Omaha. When the city hit hard times in the late 1880s, he had to sell his crown jewel.

 

Changing Hands

John Redick was a pioneer lawyer and politician in Omaha. When Mayne had to sell, Redick was there to pick up the beautiful home. Redick only lived in the home for a few years before he moved away. However, his son, Oak, managed the home, and inherited it in 1908 when John Redick died. It was during Oak’s life that Augustus Kountze, who owned the land around the mansion, started selling  lots in his Kountze Place neighborhood. By this point, the Redick Mansion was regarded as an old house and lots its desirableness.

In 1909, Oak joined the board of a new higher education institution called the University of Omaha. Originally offering them the entire estate for $100,000, the board failed to raise all of the money they needed. Consequently, Oak sold them just the mansion and a city block’s worth of land for $25,000. They renamed it Redick Hall and used it as their primary building for the five years.

 

Closed Down and Moved Away

Students at the University loved the old house. Many of their notes and poems fawned over it, celebrating the halls, kitchen and creepy spaces throughout.

After using the building for several years, in 1916 the University sold the mansion to a resort on Keeley Island on Lake Shetek near Currie, Minnesota. Workers dismantled the entire home and loaded it onto railcars, which shipped it to the island where it was rebuilt. Renamed the Valhalla Pavilion, it was a roaring celebration for visitors until 1928, when it burnt down in a fire.

The University of Omaha built a new hall in the same place and expanded the campus. Eventually, it moved to 60th and Dodge and was renamed the University of Nebraska – Omaha.

 

Related Content

Elsewhere Online

  • Redick Mansion,” by Tim McMahon from the Summer 1996 UNO Alum. An interview with Harry Walters, an amateur historian and “Redick Mansion fanatic.”

Bonus Pictures!

Redick Mansion at 24th and Manderson in North Omaha.
A group of students outside Redick Hall, circa 1909.

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