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20th century Ames Ave civic infrastructure culture Lost history Monmouth Park schools White flight

A History of Monmouth Park Elementary School in North Omaha

Monmouth Park School was open for 80 years, leaving indelible marks on the soul of North Omaha forever.

Monmouth Park School was a public school opened in North Omaha in the 1890s. Originally, it was a four-room wooden schoolhouse built to serve the outlying farms in the area west of North 30th Street.

A new building, located at 4508 North 33rd Street, was built in 1903. Originally located in a suburban neighborhood, the school was quickly surrounded by homes, businesses and more. Its neighbors included a the 30th and Ames historic commercial district, North High, and Immanuel Hospital.

Monmouth Park School, North 33rd and Ames Avenue, Omaha, Nebraksa
This is an early illustration of the Monmouth Park School, designed by popular Omaha architect Thomas Rogers Kimball in 1901.

For several decades, the school offered kindergarten through eighth grade to neighborhood students. All of the regular activities and events happened there, including graduations, expansions and events. According to local historian and former history teacher Mark Schulze, Monmouth Park students would have an annual Halloween parade up Ames Avenue to the Immanuel Deaconess Institute, back through the complex grounds past the hospital, home for elderly and other wings, then home to the school.

Monmouth Park was the first school building in Omaha to act as a community center. The school district was bombarded by requests from the neighborhood to keep the building open for neighborhood members after school and on the weekend, and the school board allowed the use. By 1921, the practice had expanded citywide and was seen as a popular approach.

This is a circa 1920 image of Monmouth Park Elementary School at N. 33rd and Ames Avenue.

White flight struck the neighborhood dramatically in the early 1960s, and by 1967, Monmouth Park School was recognized as one of Omaha’s Black schools, which were defacto segregated by Omaha’s housing patterns. In 1977, the school had 21 professional staff and the student population of 460.

In 1980, the Omaha Public Schools nominated closing the school and combining its student population with the nearby Druid Hill Elementary School at North 31st and Sprague. In 1982, the happened, and Monmouth Park School was permanently closed.

The Monmouth Park School Apartments

Monmouth Park School Apartments, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a circa 1992 pic of the Monmouth Park School Apartments, courtesy of Colin McDonald.

Despite being designed by important Omaha architect Thomas Rogers Kimball, the Omaha Public School District wanted to tear the building down after closing it in the 1980s. However, after a citywide outcry, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. That year, the building was converted into apartments.

One of the earliest school-to-apartment conversions in the city of Omaha, the building was seen as a potential model for what could happen to out-dated schools across the city. However, the apartments had a hard time being rented. After sitting empty for a year, the building was hit hard by a wind storm in 1993. It was demolished in 1995.

Do you have memories, stories or knowledge about Monmouth Park to share? Use the comments section below!


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BONUS PICS!

An architectural drawing of North Omaha's Monmouth Park School at N. 33rd and Ames.
An architectural drawing of North Omaha’s Monmouth Park School at N. 33rd and Ames.
Monmouth Park School, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a circa 1910s postcard featuring the Monmouth Park School as Kimball designed it in 1901.

13 replies on “A History of Monmouth Park Elementary School in North Omaha”

I attended Monmouth Park Elementary school from 1967 to 1969, my father was in the military and was stationed at Fort Omaha back when it was still a military installation. We lived 5 blocks away at 5008 N 33rd street and my sister and I would walk to school every day even during the terrible Nebraskan winter storms. I remember the long hallways of the school and I fondly remember eating my lunch on the steps of the South side of the building. I am saddened to find out that this historic building no longer exists.

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I went to school there from 1958 through 1962… kindergarten through 4th grade. I will always remember my favorite teacher of ALL time there, Mrs. Rasteed in 3rd grade. I developed a true love for learning there…so sorry it’s gone. I still think of a few sweet friends l had there. One was Eugene who brought me a white Persian kitten. Another was Betty. I have no idea of their last names. Would give anything to contact them after all these years.

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I also went to Monmouth Park Elementary around 1966. I don’t remember to much just seems to have a long walk to school. We live on N37th went there First Grade sorry I can’t remember my teacher wish I could. My father was in the Air Force so we where there for a short time.

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i went to school there from kindergarten to 6th grade 1959-1965, then went to McMillan Jr High. I lived at 3028 Fowler Ave and also remember walking to school in extremely cold weather, bare legs etc. I remember the coat rooms and high windows the teachers would open using a long pole. And watching educational films in the basement, getting our daily milk. and civil defence drills. I still don’t know what that bull horn structure in the front of the building was but I remember it too.

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I attended Monmouth Park from 1954 to 1961. I walked from 33rd ave & Camden. Some of my teachers were Miss Linder, Mrs. Barelman, Mrs Penisten, Mrs Fleming, Mrs Weaver and Mrs Norwood. My brother was lucky to have Mrs Hickey for 6th grade. She passed away a few days ago just short of her 97th birthday.

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I attended Monmouth Park from kindergarten, 1955 through 6th grade 1962. Then on to McMillan Jr High and then North High Graduated in 1968. Monmouth Park was the meeting place for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts pack and troop 71. Great memories.

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I attended Monmouth Park from kindergarten through 6th grade. Our families lived in Fowler and we have stayed in touch all these years. In fact our Monmouth Park group just celebrated nearly 60 years together as friends this past weekend. Believe it or not my mother and her seven siblings also attended Monmouth Park when it first opened. So I have quite a history with that school and had great teachers with one exception and Mrs Reynolds was our principal. I remember there was no lunchroom and we all had to walk home for lunch despite the weather. In the mornings 33rd street between Ames and Meredith would be closed off for a playground before school opened. In sixth grade we moved the library from the first floor to the basement under the guidance of Mrs Earl and we were just talking about how much we learned from doing that about the Dewey decimal system and organization and logistic skills. I will always have fond memories of my grade school years at Monmouth Park from 1959 to 1967.

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I attended Monmouth Park a long, long time ago. I started Kindergarten there in 1944 when I was four years old. (I turned five in December.) Mrs. Linder was my Kindergarten teacher. She took us all to her house one day just before noon to see and hear her cuckoo clock strike twelve. I was awed by that clock!! I attended school there until the middle of my fourth grade. I still have a “bird book” that I made when attending there. I have good memories from that time.

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