A History of North Omaha’s J.J. Pershing Drive and Monument

John J. Pershing, Omaha, Nebraska

On Veterans Day, 1941, there was a giant parade for the dedication of a new monument to honor the life of John J. Pershing, General of the Armies during World War I. The City of Omaha named a new roadway leading from Abbott Drive to River Drive after him, as well. This wasn’t the beginning of North Omaha’s love affair with this leader though. Here’s the story of North Omaha’s J. J. Pershing Drive and Monument.

In 1892, Pershing was a faculty at the University of Nebraska when he pulled together an Army company to compete at a national rifleship competition in Omaha. He was the local’s favorite, and he won big time. The citizens of Omaha presented Pershing’s company with a large silver cup, the “Omaha Cup.”

After that, citizens of Omaha followed their adopted Nebraskan general closely. They were especially enthralled when Pershing was pursuing General Pancho Villa in 1916, and after that when Pershing went to fight in World War I. The newspapers in Omaha took a particular life when he took control of the National Army and immediately routed German troops that the European military couldn’t defeat in years of fighting. 

When Pershing became the nation’s first-ever living General of the Armies in recognition of his leadership in 1919, Omaha was ecstatic.

In January 1920, Pershing visited Omaha. There was a welcoming parade, flying demonstrations and AkSarBen field, and more.

Pershing School, 3009 N. 28th Street East, Omaha, Nebraska
Pershing School, 3009 N. 28th Street East, was built in 1926 and demolished around 1971.

In 1926, students in East Omaha voted to name their new building after Pershing.

During his long, distinguished career, Pershing maintained his spectacular rank. In World War II, he was recognized as the most supreme general of the United States.

J. J. Pershing Memorial, North Omaha, Nebraska
Officials at the dedication of the J. J. Pershing Memorial on November 11, 1940 in North Omaha.

The Omaha World-Herald reported, “The monument is of cut limestone built by the park department with a rose-colored granite plaque etched with a bust of Pershing and the inscription, ‘John J. Pershing, General of the Armies of the United States.’ It is backed with evergreens. A surrounding parking area will be closed to traffic and landscaped. The plaque was made and given by J. F. Bloom.”

It was shortly before the U.S.’s entry into WWII that the City of Omaha dedicated the new roadway and monument to Pershing. He was sick at the time, and his sister May Pershing attended on his behalf. The monument, which is near 8200 J. J. Pershing Drive, stands a bit desolate today. The wide open valley views are gone now, blocked out by thick riparian forests, and a bike path strolls leisurely past the site. But the monument is still there to appreciate.  

J. J. Pershing Memorial, 8200 J.J. Pershing Drive, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the J. J. Pershing Memorial near 8200 J.J. Pershing Drive on the day General Pershing died.

Born in 1860, John J. Pershing died at age 88 in 1948.

Located between the Florence Water Works and the Missouri River, north of the OPPD plant and south of the Mormon Bridge, Pershing’s acknowledgment awaits your visit. The Pershing School is long gone now, but Sunday drives along his roadway are still popular. 

Go visit sometime and send me a picture. For all the war and fighting he led and troops who died under his command, Pershing should be remembered. 

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STREETS: 16th Street | 24th Street | Cuming Street | Military Avenue | Saddle Creek Road | Florence Main Street
INTERSECTIONS: 42nd and Redman | 40th and Ames | 40th and Hamilton | 30th and Ames | 24th and Fort | 30th and Fort | 24th and Lake | 16th and Locust | 20th and Lake
STREETCARS: Streetcars | Streetcars in Benson | 26th and Lake Streetcar Barn
OTHER: North Freeway

Public Places: Florence Main Street | Florence Ferry | Florence High School | The Mormon Tree | Florence Water Works | Mormon Bridge | Florence Boulevard | River Drive | J.J. Pershing Drive and Monument | Potter’s Field | Florence Community Center
Businesses: Vennelyst Park | Bank of Florence | Florence Mill | Florence Depot
Houses: Parker Mansion | Brandeis Country Home | Lantry-Thompson Mansion | Mitchell House
People: James M. Parker | James Comey Mitchell | Florence Kilborn
Neighborhoods: Winter Quarters | Florence Field | Wyman Heights | High Point
Other: Directory of Florence Historic Places


  1. Good article. If anyone has any info on what happened to the monument that used to sit in front of Pershing School I would like to hear about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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