A History of the Salvation Army Hospital in North Omaha

Booth Memorial Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska

From 1896 to 1978, one organization in the city offered prenatal and birthing services for low-income, unwed and “unsuitable” pregnant women. This is a history of the Omaha Salvation Army Women’s Hospital.


Starting in 1896, the The Salvation Army ran the Rescue Home and Maternity Hospital in North Omaha. Originally located at 3704 N 24th Street from 1896 to 1920, the hospital supported young women and women without support from pregnancy through birth. The children born there were often placed for adoption.

Growing Bigger

In 1920, the Omaha Salvation Army opened the Rescue Home and Maternity Hospital in the old Governor Saunders Mansion at 2008 North 16th Street, and stayed there until 1938. Expanding the mansion repeatedly, there were eventually more than 60 rooms there. In 1921, the facility was described as “a home for girls who are incorrigible.” They got religious training and “are encouraged to start life over in a new manner.”

An Entire Hospital

It was renamed for Catherine Booth in 1938 and moved to 2404 Pratt Street at the location of the former Evangelical Covenant Hospital. The Booth Hospital was also called the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers. The facility was rebuilt in the late 1940s.

“Write or telephone, asking for an interview. Policies and programs are flexible to meet individual needs. All factors are discussed confidentially with the applicant and arrangements made to give the girl and her baby the specific help that their situation requires. This service is available on the basis of need, regardless of creed, color, class or circumstances. The spiritual purpose is paramount. We are concerned with the whole person – not only the physical need but the mental, emotional, social and spiritual needs as well.”

–1964 newspaper ad for the Booth Hospital

Moving Away

In 1967, the hospital was moved to South 40th and Dewey Streets. That building was closed in 1978, and sold to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1990.

Today the Salvation Army North Corps Community Center operates a new facility at the corner of North 24th and Pratt Streets.


From 1896 to 1978, the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital had four incarnations, three of them in North Omaha.

First Location: Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers, aka North Side Rescue Home

Omaha Salvation Army Rescue and Maternity Home at 3824 North 24th Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
This was the Omaha Salvation Army Rescue and Maternity Home at 3824 North 24th Street. It opened there in 1896 and moved out in 1920.
  • Location: 3824 N 24th Street
  • Opened: 1896
  • Closed: 1920

Second Location: Salvation Army Rescue Home and Maternity Hospital

Saunders Mansion, 1703 Grace Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the Saunders Mansion at 2008 North 16th Street after it was the Salvation Army Hospital for Unwed Mothers and when it was the German Old Folks Home.
  • 2008 North 16th Street
  • Opened: 1920
  • Closed: 1938

Third Location: Women’s Home and Hospital, aka Catherine Booth Memorial Hospital

The Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital was located at 2404 Pratt Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
The Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital was located at 2404 Pratt Street from 1938 to 1967.
  • Location: 2404 Pratt Street
  • Opened: 1938
  • Closed: 1966

Fourth Location: Booth Memorial Hospital

  • Location: 426 South 40th Street
  • Opened: 1966
  • Closed: 1978

General: Kountze Place | Kountze Park | North 16th Street | North 24th Street | Florence Boulevard | Wirt Street | Binney Street | 16th and Locust Historic District
Houses: Charles Storz House | Anna Wilson’s Mansion | McCreary Mansion | McLain Mansion | Redick Mansion | John E. Reagan House | George F. Shepard House
Churches: First UPC/Faith Temple COGIC | St. Paul Lutheran Church | Hartford Memorial UBC/Rising Star Baptist Church | Immanuel Baptist Church | Calvin Memorial Presbyterian Church | Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary | Trinity Methodist Episcopal
Education: Omaha University | Presbyterian Theological Seminary | Lothrop Elementary School | Horace Mann Junior High |
Hospitals: Salvation Army Hospital | Swedish Hospital | Kountze Place Hospital
Events: Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition | Greater America Exposition | Riots
Businesses: Hash House | 3006 Building | Grand Theater | 2936 North 24th Street | Corby Theater

Listen to the North Omaha History Podcast show #4 about the history of the Kountze Place neighborhood »

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Booth Memorial Hospital, N. 24th St., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a September 1974 article about the demolition of the Booth Memorial Hospital on N. 24th Street.


  1. Liked the article. Our family lived, basically across the street from the 3824 N. 24th street location. We were in an apartment building at 3711 N. 24th. I remember the people not being too friendly to the ladies and couldn’t understand why.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry abt the long delay. In the image of 3709-11, we lived in the bottom left apt from abt 1955 – 1959. My maternal grandparents lived in the apt above us. The lower right apt was occupied by the Golden Zennon family. We were friendly w/them since we each had a basement and shared the same stairway down. Golden had a wife named Wilma or Willy Mae. They had 2 boys. The older one was Golden Jr. I cannot remember the name of the other child. I also cannot remember who rented the apt above the Zennons.

        At the end of the block to the south was a candy store. The owner was lady named Peggy. She obviously did not like kids. I could never understand that. Why open a neighborhood candy store if you don’t like kids. It was a great store.


      2. I was born there in April 1947. My adoptive mother was a Salvationist Frances McEvers and worked at the hospital until we relocated through the U. S. Army. Do you know if any records still exist? My birth mother’s name was Dorris Davis from Benkleman NE


  2. I am doing research and completing a booklet for a lady that was born at Booth Memorial Hospital May 11, 1938 and never knew who her biological family was and has never had a real family. I am trying to make her booklet as factual as possible. I see that the hospital was closed and the second hospital opened in 1938. Which hospital would she have been born at. I have found both sides of her biological family per Ancestry DNA.


    1. I didn’t take note of which month the hospital moved. I suggest searching for when the Evangelical Covenant Hospital closed, which was the prior occupant of the facility.


  3. I am doing research on my grandfather who was adopted (maybe not formally) in a hospital in Omaha on or about July 4, 1902. We never knew the exact date, so made one up. His adopted mother rode in a buggy 170 miles from the Creighton area of Nebraska to get him when he was about 2 weeks old. It was thought that she may have been a relation, but DNA tests do not show a connection to her family. Does paperwork still exist for births, adoptions etc. for the original hospital? This seems our best choice as all of her family lived on North 24th Street. Adopted mother was Sarah (Sadie) Taylor Rake, married to Samuel Quincy Rake.

    Thank you in advance for any information


    1. I have no idea Marcie, sorry. Finding historic hospital info is very difficult, especially for institutions that haven’t existed for decades. From the reports of dozens of other researchers, the Omaha Salvation Army is not forthcoming with records or access to records. Good luck in your search.


    2. I found a website where you can request information from Susan Mitchem at 703-684-5529 for records of births at the central US locations.


  4. I was born in the last Booth hospital in 1968. My birth mothers husband contacted Lutheren Family Services in Omaha. I got background info about my birth mother and the family four years ago and sat on it until recently. I have a half brother and half sister. I also have been in contact with my birth mothers husband and had a almost three hour phone call with my half sister. So LFS’s might be able to help. I don’t think they can give information out but the can indirectly contact birth families and go from there. Best wishes all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this information about the history of the hospital. I found it quite interesting. I was a birth mother at the last hospital, Boothe Memorial Home for Unwed Mothers. I gave birth in 1977, the year before it closed. Thankfully, mine was an ‘open’ adoption. Just in the sense that we chose the family, so I knew where my child was going. Since then, we have been reunited and our families have successfully been brought back together! I wish you all blessings in finding your birth family. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have any of that information Kay. I would suggest you contact the Salvation Army, but they’ve been notoriously unhelpful to others. Good luck in your search.


  6. My birth mother would have gone to the facility at 2008 N. 16th St., according to this article. When I found her years later, she did not have good memories of her stay there, said that they ‘paraded me during church services up front and pointed to me as a sinner’. Nevertheless, she birthed me there (6 lb., 3 oz.), with Dr. Sanders attending, on Feb. 28, 1937. After a few months of trying to care for me, she went to the Child Savings Institute, which boarded both her and me, until other complications in her life forced her to relinquish me. I was blessed to have been adopted by parents who gave me unconditional love and saw that I had a good education at William & Mary, Harvard, and Oxford. I’ve had a wonderful life giving back in terms of public policy in Washington, D.C., etc. (By the way, I just saw Warren Buffett at a reception in NY last week and remember my former Sioux City high school classmate Woody Howe, the editor of the Omaha World Herald, and consulting for Bob Armstrong at the Housing Authority.)

    Presently, I am writing my memoirs, while still working, and taking several online courses on creative writing of family memoirs at Cambridge University (UK). This week, I had an assignment to tell more details of my actual birthplace and process. I had already written a 3-part memoir on my adoption, finding my birth mother, and finding my birth father (after a DNA that revealed someone entirely different from what my birth mother had told CSI). So, this was a great action-forcing process to dig deeper, and lo, find this article and list-serve! Thanks for providing such, I will certainly donate. If anyone is interested in sharing more, I’d be happy to email a copy of this particular memoir, after it is completed. Or share it at kentwatkinslegacy.blog, which I intend to re-activate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you’ve lived a long and interesting life Kent. Omaha in the 1930s was a hard place that was devastated by the Great Depression and mired in failed ambitions. The city was really reconciling with never becoming massive and didn’t know which direction to go. I’m glad you made it out and have gone far beyond. I would appreciate anything you’d share with me, whether a simple donation or your memoirs. I always accept emails to info@northomahahistory.com, so feel free to send anything there. I look forward to reading whatever you’d like to send my way! Thanks for your note.


      1. Where are the Omaha Booth Home1938 records stored at this time? I would like to get copies of birth records. Thank you, Virginia Rowen


      2. You would need to contact the Salvation Army in Omaha for that information. Please let me know whether they respond to you, and what their response is? I get several inquiries every year with this same question.


  7. Would anyone have any information on whether women would live at the 40th St facility in the weeks and months before giving birth, or did they live in group homes elsewhere in the area? If so, any suggestions of how to research where those places might have been?

    My mother was driven across a great swath of the country to be dropped at a “home for unwed mothers” in Omaha sometime in 1969, possibly with the idea (and strong encouragement) to give me up for adoption.

    At some point, minds were changed and she returned to Oklahoma to have and raise me. A clearly untrue story about the circumstances of my birth is all that I have and my mother was an unbreachable vault of secrecy about some things. She passed away recently and I’m fascinated to learn more, and more accurately, if I’m able.


    1. Jamie, I believe that my mother stayed at the Salvation Army home/hospital, but it might depend on the year involved, because they occupied different buildings over the years. After my birth, we lived in a rental house, but I don’t think it was affiliated. At eight months, she arranged to have us live at the Child Savings Institute, while she decided whether to relinquish me or not. She had contacted the Nebraska Children’s Home before that. So, it may have been at any of those places, depending on the time your mother was pregnant. There was/is also a Lutheran Children’s agency and probably a Catholic one, so you might google the present ones and see if they would know if they provided ‘room-and-board’ for that period. You can reach me at kent.watkins@yahoo.com, if you think I could be further help.


      1. Thanks so much, Kent. My mother would have been there (or wherever she actually ended up) probably in the early to mid summer of 1969. I’m not sure how long she stayed before deciding to come back to Oklahoma.

        Thanks so much for the extra info. I will certainly look into it!


    2. Hey Jamie I’m trying to get anwser on info back in 1978 when my baby girl was born but I requested back from the unmc but just received a letter stated that they have know info to give me but I had brought the birth certificate from vital static at the court house in omaha nebr but know death certificate wasn’t found tho that’s really strange and imma still keep searching.


    3. Jamie, I don’t know if census data would be helpful in your case since you were not born in a census year. But in my own case, my paternal grandmother was listed in a 1950 U.S. Census record as a resident at the Omaha Booth Hospital’s address with the occupation of “patient” at a point in time a few weeks before she gave birth to my father. This listing was in spite of the fact that she normally resided in Iowa at the time with her father.

      There were several other patients listed in the 1950 census record we well. This suggests that there were at least some women who resided at the Booth Hospital prior to delivering their children, and presumably afterward for whatever post-natal care was required.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This information was very informative, I used to work for the Hospital, at that time it was also a Home for Unwed mothers, I was a dietary aide, it was a very interesting experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pearl, and thanks for your note. Do you have any memories I can include in the article? I would love to hear about the interior of the building, the attitudes of the management, and the patients if you want to share any of that? Or anything else…


  9. Thanks for sharing this history. In the course of doing genealogy research, I recently learned that my father was born in this hospital when it was located on Pratt Street. after which he was adopted by a local couple. It’s very helpful to have a better sense of his early history such as this article provides.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Update: Per my own research efforts, I have learned that records for this hospital are archived with the main office of the Salvation Army USA Central Territory. However, they will only release records to former patients (mothers or children) of the facility, and not to other descendants or researchers.

    Liked by 1 person

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