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
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.
His buildings 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 Blvd.
Druid Hall (1914) 2412 Ames Ave. (NRHP)
Elks Hall (1920) 2640 Lake St.
B. H. Post Building (1918) 6214 Maple St.
Shirby Apartments (1922) 3320 California St.
Apartments (1924) 3709-11 N. 24th St.
House (1924) 3924 Florence Blvd.
House (1924) 5405 Nicholas St.
Tavern (1897), 4024 N 24th
Oscar Berndes house (1904) 1031 N 34th St.
Shirley Apartments (1922) 3320 California St.
Rowhouse (1922) 3601-03 Davenport St.
Commercial Building (1902) 4002 Hamilton St.
I’m sure there are other Guth designs in North Omaha, and I will add them to this article in the future.
An internationally recognized expert in youth engagement, Adam leads the Freechild Institute and SoundOut. He is also the editor NorthOmahaHistory.com; the author of Student Voice Revolution and twelve other books; and the host of the North Omaha History Podcast.
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