A History of the Intersection at North 40th and Hamilton Streets

North 40th and Hamilton, North Omaha, Nebraska

Built in west Omaha and slowly absorbed into North O, the intersection at North 40th and Hamilton Streets has an important legacy for the city. Early on, it was the site of the Military Road as it shot west along present-day Hamilton Street.

This intersection became the nexus between several neighborhoods. The Orchard Hill, Walnut HillBemis Park and Clifton Hill neighborhoods all converge here, and throughout history neighbors got donuts, bought gas, went to see movies, and more.

This is a history of the intersection at North 40th and Hamilton Streets.

The Layout

N. 40th and Hamilton Ave, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1962 Sanburn Fire Insurance map of N. 40th and Hamilton Ave. Visible are Bob’s Mobil gas station, Martin’s Bakery and several other businesses.

The businesses in the neighborhood are located at the intersection of North 40th and Hamilton Streets, and extend westward along Hamilton. There have been businesses and services on this intersection since the 1880s, and even earlier.

N. 40th and Hamilton, North Omaha, Nebraska
The northwest corner of N. 40th and Hamilton in an aerial photo from 1947. Visible are Bob’s Mobil gas station, Martin’s Bakery, 40th Street Theater, and several other businesses.

A gas station has sat on the northeast corner for at least a century now, with the White Rose gas company building the first there around 1916.

Martin's Pastry, 4004 Hamilton Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
Martin’s Pastry was located at N. 40th and Hamilton Street from 1951 to 1962.

Across the street to the west today is Hargiss Stringed Instruments, which was the longtime home of Martin’s Pastry. Next door to that is the historic 40th Street Theatre at 4006 Hamilton Street, which was once called the Hamilton Theater. Opened in the 1940s, it was also called the Winn Theatre, and sat 500 people. Originally a vaudeville house built in the 1890s, a lot of the building’s original character is still intact. In the 1930s, the strip was home to Thorin’s Grocery, Vern’s Barber Shop and Best Way Dry Cleaners and Hatters. During the 1940s and 50s, there was a dentist’s office, an appliance store, a dry cleaner, Gibson Grocery, a plumbing shop, an HVAC company, and a shoe repair shop. In the

There are a variety of other storefronts along Hamilton within the Orchard Hill neighborhood. Several are boarded up and presumably being used for storage, while others are filled with churches, a City of Omaha shop, an car repair shop and a tire store. Interestingly enough, there are also several historic homes mixed among the buildings between North 40th and North 41st Street, including a pair of houses built in 1895.

4024 Hamilton Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the Omaha Fire Department station #8 at 4024 Hamilton Street in 1917.

The Olympia Cycles building at North 40th and Hamilton was originally called the Knight Hall (not Catholic).

The Omaha Fire Department built a station at 4024 Hamilton Street in the 1890s. At some point it was demolished and replaced with another station elsewhere, and today there’s an ugly 1950s building in its place.

Kingdom Builders Christian Center (formerly Walnut Hill M.E. Church), 4039 Charles St, Omaha, NE 68131
This is the former Walnut Hill Methodist Episcopal Church at N. 41st and Charles Street in the Orchard Hill neighborhood. It is now the Kingdom Builders Christian Center.

Starting in the 1880s, the Knight Hall hosted the Walnut Hill Methodist Episcopal Church for several years before they moved. By 1917, the church moved to the southeast corner of North 41st and Hamilton. Later, church moved into North 41st Avenue and Charles Street. In 1930, the congregation merged with several other congregations to form a new church which continues operating currently as the Saint Paul United Methodist Church in the Benson neighborhood.

The Belt Line Railway

Hamilton Theater, 40th and Hamilton Streets, Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1926 ad for the opening of the Hamilton Theater. “The Management of The Hamilton Theater at 40th and Hamilton announces their GRAND OPENING TODAY with pictures de luxe, ideal ventillation [sic], artistic appointments. Omaha’s Finest Theater. Matinee 2:15 Evening shows start 7:15 Prices, Adults 10c Children 5c.”

Maybe the saddest scar in the whole neighborhood is the former Belt Line Railway. Built in the 1880s as a commuter railroad around North Omaha, the Walnut Hill depot was once located on the north side of Hamilton. After serving as a light industrial track from the 1890s to the 1980s, the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which owned the Belt Line, removed the tracks entirely throughout all of North Omaha. All that’s left in the neighborhood as proof of this once-necessary catalyst for suburban growth is a large field at the corner of Hamilton and Military Avenue. Otherwise, there are no signs.

Today’s 40th and Hamilton Historic District

North 40th and Hamilton Streets, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1937 atlas map of the area surrounding the intersection of North 40th and Hamilton Streets.

The intersection of North 40th and Hamilton Street in North Omaha clearly has the pedigree necessary to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. However, little effort has been made towards this recognition.

Over the last decade, a local businessman named John Hargiss has been renovating several buildings on the northwest corner of 40th and Hamilton. His work has brought his string shop, Hargiss Instruments, to life in the former donut shop. He’s also renovated the 40th Street Theater and hosts events there.

The City of Omaha has marked Hamilton Street with special signs identifying it’s historical name as Hamilton. However, since you’ve read this whole article we now know this isn’t the original name; that honor belongs to Military Road. Nice try, City of Omaha! During the same era Hamilton was called Military, North 40th was known as Lowe Avenue, named after the founding father Jesse Lowe, whose family owned a large farm at North 40th and Cuming Street.

Maybe the future will hold historic signage and a designation of the 40th and Hamilton Historic District. In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments, ideas or considerations share them in the comments below!

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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


May 13, 1900 ad for Walnut Hill, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a May 13, 1900 ad for Walnut Hill, including a grocery store, meat and provisions, and feed, hay and grain, all owned by Rudolph Beal, and A. Clark.
April 3, 1921 Omaha Bee story of a fire at N. 40th and Hamilton Streets in Omaha, Nebraska
Starting in 1890, the northeast corner of the intersection of North 40th and Hamilton was home to the Hamilton Street Garage. Originally a worksite for wagons and carriages, it became the site of many repairs for early autos. In 1921, the entire garage burned down. In the fire, 6 cars were destroyed, a puppy was killed, and two men were severely burnt. Several families living in the apartments above the garage were homeless, and the building was completely destroyed by the fire. This story was in the Omaha Bee on April 3, 1921. As of 2020, this corner is home to a gas station.
Martin's Bakery, N. 40th and Hamilton St, North Omaha, Nebraska
A 1940s still image showing a streetcar heading toward Martin Bakery, a doughnut shop at N. 40th and Hamilton. This streetcar went past the Walnut Hill reservoir, the Walnut Hill neighborhood, and the Orchard Hill Neighborhood. Pic taken from a film by Richard Orr.


  1. The name on the front of the Hargiss Stringed Instruments store reads W. Stein. Any history on who that person was?


    1. Wilhelm “William” Stein was an immigrant from Luxembourg who arrived in the US in1868. Originally settling in Humboldt, Kansas as a merchant tailor.

      He joined his brother Frank and with his wife, moved to Animas Forks, a small mining town in Colorado. He left there in 1887 and permanently settled in Omaha with his home at 4013 Charles.

      He retired from retail in 1906 but in 1908 he secured a permit to build that building which was completed in 1910. He finally retired for good in 1915.


  2. My mother owned 3 beauty shops on Hamilton St. There was a pharmacy on the corner of 40th and Hamilton. Next to it was Bevs Beauty Shop and barber shop next door. The building was torn down. The original was next to Martin’s Bakery I was to young to remember much about that. The third one I believe is a plumbing supply place and there used to be a little neighborhood grocery next to it. The owners of the shoe repair were Mike and Bertha Blanco. There was a bar and a dinner and a larger IGA grocery next to the pharmacy on 40th. It was a great little neighborhood. Fond memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At one time, in the late 1960s perhaps, my Grandfather Walter Korisko purchased a mortuary on Hamilton that was Braley and Dorance (spelling?) then he added the Korisko name after the others. I remember him telling us there was a small casket in the building when he purchased it, and they discovered it contained a baby who had never been delivered to wherever it was supposed to have been buried! I’ve always felt sorry for that forgotten child!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What was the name of the pet store near 40th & Hamilton? The guy in the pet shop was a weirdo. 1979-1982??


    1. are you sure that you’re not thinking of 40th and Cuming, on the south side of the street? Because that guy fit your description.


  4. Remember Big Bobs Mobil on 40th. & Hamilton? That was my first job, I wish someone had some pictures of it.


  5. My father and his partners had a sign company at 40xx …. I think 4016? in the 50s and 60s : Cronland Signs. Can’t remember the address. It was a thriving business, creating all kinds of custom signs.. In the 70sthey moved to 134 and B street. Directly to the east was a small cafe with counter seating: Iris’ Cafe. The owners name was Iris. She made wonderful hamburgers!

    Liked by 1 person

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