North Omaha’s has A LOT of unsung architectural heroes, and one of them is Joseph P. Guth. Guth moved from Germany to Omaha in 1884 and designed business blocks, breweries, factories and warehouses, fire stations, schools, houses and multifamily residences, churches and halls across the city for more than 40 years. Leo A. Daly was his most famous student.
The Life of Guth
Joe Guth was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1860 and immigrated to the United States in 1884. After working in Ohio and Minnesota, he moved to Lincoln to work for Burlington Railroad as a designer in 1887, then to Omaha to work with the U.P. the next year. Moving back to Ohio, he came back to Omaha to start his architectural firm in 1891.
Throughout his career in Omaha, Guth lived in North Omaha’s posh Kountze Place at 1911 Wirt Street. His wife was Bell Guth, and they had two daughters and a son. He died in 1928 and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Many of Guth’s designs are remarkable today, with many included on the National Register of Historic Places – NPS (NRHP) and several others that should be. In addition to building so much of what’s listed here, Guth was responsible for building most of Gottlieb Storz’s brewery on North 16th.
The buildings designed by Guth in North Omaha are as diverse as anywhere in the city. Here are the ones I have tracked down.
- Tavern (1904) North 16th and Nicholas Streets
- Burkenroad House / Trimble Castle (1909) 2060 Florence Boulevard
- Druid Hall (1914) 2412 Ames Avenue (NRHP)
- Columbia Hall / Elks Club (1920) 2640 Lake Street
- B. H. Post Building (1918) 6214 Maple Street
- Shirby Apartments (1922) 3320 California Street
- Apartments (1924) 3709-11 North 24th Street
- House (1924) 3924 Florence Boulevard
- House (1924) 5405 Nicholas Street
- Tavern (1897), 4024 North 24th Street
- Oscar Berndes House (1904) 1031 North 34th Street
- Shirley Apartments (1922) 3320 California Street
- Rowhouse (1922) 3601-03 Davenport Street
- Commercial Building (1902) 4002 Hamilton Street
I’m sure there are other Guth designs in North Omaha, and I will add them to this article in the future.
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