Adam’s Note: These “normal” house histories are fun. They shed a light on the daily lives of the everyday people who built North Omaha and have lived in the community for more than 125 years. I like the homes they built, and although some have fallen apart and others were bulldozed, the vast majority of original houses are still filling the blocks from Dodge Street north to the county line, and from North 72nd east to the river. I hope you enjoy this tale from a normal house…
Resting on a large lot at North 31st and Newport Avenue in the Florence Field neighborhood is a large cottage-style home. Its a normal house that sits on a large lot. Its kind of plain, has a great interior without a lot of embellishment. However, because of its place on top of a hill without being covered by too much foliage, it commands attention. Following is a short history of this house.
6711 North 31st Avenue was built in 1911. At 1,500 square feet today, it was built with six rooms, including three bedrooms, a large living room and kitchen, and a full-length sun porch. The subdivision is called Upland Terrace, and its in the Florence Field neighborhood. Built before the rest of the neighborhood was platted, this house was built before most of the surrounding homes.
In 1916, a deputy United States attorney who worked downtown named Dave Dickinson made a bet in his office that he’d be married for two weeks before anyone in the office learned about it. He was such a society man that the newspaper reported on the bet, which he and his wife, Mrs. Blanche (Hughes) Dickinson won. They got a $35 set of silver in return. They moved into the house soon after they were married. Dickinson became a secret service agent, and in 1924 was hit by a car. The accident left him convalescent. The couple was divorced in 1927 after she charged him with cruelty. He didn’t contest.
In 1936, the owner was Ed Lyons. His wife was quoted in the newspaper that year attesting to the secret value of keeping breadpans filled with water in the windowsills to keep the house cool when its hot. The next year it was for sale, advertised as sitting on three lots and costing $4,350. By this point there was also a 240 square foot garage. The Braun family moved in next. Their daughter graduated from North in 1931 and became a nurse. Two years later, their son William graduated from North, too. Mrs. Braun was regularly involved in gardening competitions. The house went up for sale in 1936.
Gordon Nicholson lived there by 1937, and after serving as a Douglas County deputy attorney he ran for municipal court judge in 1936.
After that point, the house appears pretty tame. It was bought and sold almost every decade, and of course, it still stands today. In 2016, it was valued at $63,000.