J. F. Bloom and Company

Omaha has always been a good place to die.

Starting in the 1840s when the first trails were cut through the area, people were laid to rest all across the city. With cemeteries scattered across North Omaha, it made sense for a stonecutter to make his work in the community.

The relief of J. F. Bloom & Co on the front of the former showroom at North 17th and Cuming Streets.

“Memorials – Designed by Artists – Built By Craftsmen”

Omaha has always been a good place to die.

Starting in the 1840s when the first trails were cut through the area, people were laid to rest all across the city. With cemeteries scattered across North Omaha, it made sense for a stonecutter to make his work in the community.

A 1910s photo of John F. Bloom.

In 1879, a Swedish immigrant did just that. Working from his workshop in Red Oak, Iowa, the young Swede named John Frederick Bloom commuted back and forth to the city. Growing slowly but steadily, in 1897, Bloom moved his business to Council Bluffs.

His business kept growing, a huge showroom and office was built on the northwest corner of North 17th & Cuming Streets. Designed by highly regarded Omaha architect John Latenser, the building was completed in 1910. Latenser also designed the current Central High School, the current Douglas County Courthouse and other popular places within the city. The building was designed in a commercial vernacular style, with polite lines and easily-identifiable elements, including large windows, clear lines and popular materials, including local red brick and stone accents.A design department was added in 1912.

Bloom’s sons joined the business around the same time, and in 1918 when he John Bloom died, they took over.

 

The J. F. Bloom and Company factory at 4411 Florence Boulevard. Although historic-looking, the building is in want of a paint job and the crane needs the same.

Just two years later, the J. F. Bloom and Company built a large factory in the Saratoga neighborhood at the intersection of Florence Boulevard and Ames Avenue. A railroad spur from the MoPac Belt Line Railway were built to the plant, and a 20-ton traveling crane made Bloom the largest manufacturer of memorials in the region around Omaha. In 1941, the headquarters for the business were moved next door to the plant, and they’ve stayed there since.

 

The J. F. Bloom and Company headquarters at 4431 Florence Boulevard.
Today, the company is run by the third generation of the family. It continues specializing in monuments and markers, memorials, vases and benches, and more.
A 2016 photo of the J. F. Bloom and Company building mural at N. 17th and Cuming Street. According to artist Justin Queal, it celebrates the surrounding neighborhood’s history of industry and ongoing redevelopment into a baseball mecca.
A restaurant is now located in part of the historic building at North 17th and Cuming Streets, and there is discussion about including this building in a soon-to-be-announced historic district in the surrounding area.

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Bonus Pics!

This pic from 1941 shows the iconic building advertisement at J. F. Bloom and Company’s Florence Boulevard headquarters. The ad was there into the 2000s.
A 1941 pic shows the interior of the J. F. Bloom and Company showroom on Florence Boulevard.
This is the J. F. Bloom and Company factory in 1941, when the company kept it painted and in good repair. Today, the facility is in want of attention.

Author: Adam Fletcher

I'm a writer and speaker who teaches people about engaging people. I specialize in youth engagement in communities, at home and through education. Learn more at adamfletcher.net

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