A History of North Omaha’s J. F. Bloom and Company

J. F. Bloom and Company, Florence Blvd and Ames Ave, North Omaha, Nebraska

“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.

Starting in Red Oak

John Frederick Bloom (1874-1940), North Omaha, Nebraska
This is John Frederick Bloom (1874-1940) of the J. F. Bloom and Company in North Omaha.

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.

JF Bloom and Co., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is an aerial view of the JF Bloom and Company complex at Florence Blvd and Ames Ave circa 1940. Pic courtesy of JF Bloom and Co.

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

Growing in Saratoga

JF Bloom and Company Monuments and Markers,
JF Bloom and Company Monuments and Markers

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.

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.

In 2018, J. F. Bloom and Co. announced their move out of North Omaha. Their brick building is for sale, and the new headquarters is located out of town.

Re-using History

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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Elsewhere Online

Special thanks to Roger Brandt and J. F. Bloom and Company for their contributions to this article!

BONUS PICS!

J. F. Bloom and Company, 4431 Florence Boulevard, North Omaha, Nebraska 68110
An architectural drawing and the current face of the J. F. Bloom and Company building at 4431 Florence Boulevard.
J. F. Bloom Monuments Company, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the JF Bloom factory in 1941.
J. F. Bloom Monuments Co., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the interior of the J. F. Bloom Monuments Co. showroom at Florence Blvd and Ames Ave in 1941.
J. F. Bloom and Company, Florence Blvd and Ames Ave, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is an exterior ad from the J. F. Bloom and Company showroom at Florence Blvd and Ames Ave in 1941. They manufactured monuments, markers and mausoleums here for more than 100 years, then moved to Council Bluffs in 2018.

Published by Adam

I am a speaker, writer and consultant focused on youth engagement. I also share the history of North Omaha, Nebraska.

2 thoughts on “A History of North Omaha’s J. F. Bloom and Company

  1. Interesting reading about the Blooms. I didn’t know that! I purchased a headstone from them in 1961 and my memory has the building I went to was just off Ames near 24th ???? Not sure anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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