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20th century 21st century architecture Black businesses Black organizations Demolished buildings Demolished buildings Drug store Lost history Near North Side North 24th Street shopping Social halls

A History of 1324 North 24th Street

In the course of a century, a lot of things can change in a neighborhood. The Near North Side of Omaha has had a lot of changes, with some buildings transitioning from vital to demolished with reckless abandon. This is a history of the building once located at 1324 North 24th Street.

The neighborhoods between Cuming and Hamilton Street were opened for development starting in the 1870s. They included the Kellom Heights and Long School neighborhoods, both of which were later included in the Near North Side neighborhood. The neighborhoods were so popular that in 1874 the Omaha Horse Railway Company built an extension of their streetcar service to 24th and Hamilton, and west along Hamilton.

The intersection of 24th and Hamilton became an important commercial corner almost immediately. Baurserman’s tea store was at the intersection in 1896, and starting in 1897, Joel Bloom had a saloon on the corner. His business lasted until 1909, when he was pushed out of business from a petition by the nearby Seward Street Methodist Church, which protested having a bar so close to them. There was an ice skating rink at the corner, too, that was used for more than a decade until 1902. The Hamilton Pharmacy was located at the intersection early, tool, and later, Dr. Saville’s Pharmacy. The Burham Flats were a two-story apartment house at the intersection.

The Sanson Brothers opened a tinsmith shop on the southwest corner of 24th and Hamilton in the 1880s, and stayed there until 1891. That year, a two-story brick building was built on the southwest corner of 24th and Hamilton. The first floor was built as a storefront, and the second floor was apartments. The original business there belonged to Charles E. Lathrop, who was a pharmacist. After him, Ike Levy opened the Economy Drug Company was located there.

Economy Drug Company, 1324 North 24th Street,
The Economy Drug Company was located at 1324 North 24th Street in the 1910s.

North 24th Street from Cuming to Hamilton was a mixed strip, with Blacks, Jews and eastern Europeans living in apartments above the buildings and running the businesses along the way. In 1913, the apartments above the building were advertised as “for good colored families.” After the 1919 lynching of Will Brown and the introduction of redlining to North Omaha, African Americans were confined to living within the area around the building, and the businesses there were owned mostly by Black people. In the 1910s and 1920s, an African American businessman named Bill Marsh owned a grocery store there. In a 1980 report, North Omaha historian Matthew Stelly reported Marsh sold chitterlings for .9¢ a pound. Dr. John Boston Hill (1872-1930) was an African American physician who had offices in the building during the 1910s and 1920s.

In 1907, E. M. F. Leflang became “the largest single investor in Omaha real estate in the last few weeks.” Apparently, Leflang was moving permanently from Lexington, Kentucky, to Omaha and bought the building on the southwest corner of 24th and Hamilton as an investment.

Bordy's Bargain Center, 1324 North 24th Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
Bordy’s Bargain Center was located at 1324 North 24th Street in the 1950s.

Nathan Bordy ran the Bordy Clothing Company in the storefront in the 1930s. By the 1940s, the store was called Bordy’s Bargain Center.

The Blue Line Recreation Company ran from the building in the 1960s, and in the early 1970s the Blue Line Delivery Company was operated from there in its place.

1324 North 24th Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a view from the southeast corner looking at 1324 North 24th Street in 2017.

The City of Omaha and neighborhood leaders have been trying to redevelop the intersection of 24th and Hamilton for almost 20 years. In 2003, an organization called New Community and the Omaha Economic Development Corporation planned to open a new gas station and convenience store as a joint project. In 2005, the Long School Marketplace opened north of 24th and Hamilton Streets. Businesses there include a Family Dollar Store and a tax preparation business. Other businesses around 24th and Hamilton include the B Street Collision Center, Kellom Elementary School and the North End Teleservices building. Patricia Baron’s original vision for Big Mama’s Kitchen was to open the business at 24th and Lake.

Bill’s Wash and Detail was actively operating in the space for a long time. The NAACP Juneteenth parade was started near the intersection for several years, including 2008.

The building at 1324 North 24th Street was demolished in 2018, and there is currently nothing on the southwest corner. There are no historic markers or plaques at the intersection, to mark the former building at 1324 North 24th Street or otherwise.

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