Being a greedy land grabber was hard work in the old days! The little town of Florence was swarmed with speculators who wanted to get rich, and in the 1880s the prime among them was Victor Lantry.
Arriving in Florence around 1885, Lantry immediately started buying up land. However, within a year he was embroiled in a series of lawsuits that accused him of using illegal, corrupt and otherwise heinous methods to obtain the land he owned. He fought them off though.
In 1891, Lantry built a fine mansion on the hill high above Florence. At 4,000 square feet, the house was the biggest in Florence for a long time. It has 6 bedrooms and originally sat on more than 200 acres of land.
Lantry moved to Cody, Wyoming in 1899, and died suddenly in 1912 at age 68.
Before he died, Lantry sold the house to a Florence attorney named Will Thompson and his wife, Emma. It was 1908, and Will died just four years after moving in. However, his children continued to live in the house for a long time. His son, Will E.S. Thompson, moved back to the mansion after practicing law in Fort Collins, Colorado for a while. Will’s sisters, Frances and Grace, lived there for a long time afterwards, too. The sisters were teachers at Florence School for a long time.
Emma Thompson died at home in 1954 at age 90. In 1964, Will E.S. Thompson still lived at the house.
Today, the house continues to be privately owned. The exterior integrity is high, and there are rumors that the interior is beautiful – I’d love to see pics! It sits on a mere four acres now, but for a house within Omaha city limits that’s rare.
The house has not been designated as an Omaha Landmark or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that should happen.
This is the history of the Lantry – Thompson Mansion that I could find. Let me know in the comments below if you know any more!
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MY ARTICLES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF FLORENCE:
Public Places: 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
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