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Historic Storefronts at N. 24th and Binney Streets ©2022 Adam Fletcher Sasse, All Rights Reserved.

A History of the 3006 Building in North Omaha

Fifty years ago, North 24th Street was packed with commercial buildings from Cuming Street to Fort Street. All kinds of buildings served many purposes, including movie theaters, grocery stores, and more. The block of North 24th Street from Binney to Wirt Streets was no exception, and today it still holds several historic properties. I am calling one of them the 3006 Building. This is a history of the historic storefronts at North 24th and Binney Streets, including 3006 N. 24th, 3008 N. 24th, 3010 N. 24th, and 3012 N. 24th Street.

The Context for a Building

3006 Building North Omaha Nebraska
This is the 3006 Building at North 24th and Binney Streets. It was built in 1910, and has served the community as a commercial hub for more than a century.

There was a time when the neighborhoods around North 24th and Binney Street were packed with working class, middle class, and upper middle class people who were moving to Omaha, starting businesses, going to jobs, and trying to improve their conditions in the world. Starting in the 1890s, it was a suburban community just north of the then-emerging suburban commercial district around 24th and Lake Streets. To the west was a subdivision of working class and middle class houses built in various styles between 1880 and 1910. To the east was the illustrious Kountze Place, a middle and upper class enclave of professionals, managers, and others living in a “streetcar suburb” that was inconvenient for the lower classes to get to. Started in the 1880s, it was the site of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition, and was finished building by 1910.

When it was established, Black people were not allowed to live in the area. The entire neighborhood was north of Omaha’s invisible “color line” that was established in the 1870s and strictly enforced by social codes and de facto segregation. This didn’t change until approximately 1920, when white flight forced the redline to shift further north. Several of the homes west of 24th then became available to African American buyers; it was the 1950s before the same happened in the Kountze Place neighborhood.

Businesses in the Building

3006 N. 24th St. in North Omaha, Nebraska
This is 3006 N. 24th St., which was built in 1910. Over the last century-plus its been home to more than a dozen businesses.

It was in this climate that the 3006 Building was constructed in 1910. That year, Mr. Orin E. Barrington and Mrs. Rosa Barrington opened a notions store at 3006 N. 24th St. When Mrs. Barrington died in 1930, Mr. Barrington continued running it and stayed open until 1936. In 1915, the Omaha World-Herald told the story of a robbery at Burrington’s store, highlighting the race of the criminal and the rough ways the store owner was treated. Apparently the thief was never caught though, because the paper never followed up. This coverage of crimes at these addresses was frequently written the same way over the next 100 years, with the race of the criminal highlighted by the paper and the “brutishness” of their actions featured.

The Warren Film Company opened at 3010 N. 24th in 1916. Operating as a photograph processing business, they enlarged and lightened, duplicated and printed film from cameras flickering across the community. They only stayed there for a year before moving to the Florence Field neighborhood.

Starting in 1919, C.H. Sothmann ran a dry cleaning business at 3012 N. 24th for 15 years. In 1919, Hubert Wemple was arrested for beating his elderly mother. She had rented the barber shop at 3010 N. 24th for him a few months earlier, and he became infuriated when she asked for his help. After a judge sentenced him to jail for his crime, the shop closed. I found that 3008 N. 24th was used as a voting place for elections in the 1920s, but not before or after.

In 1936, the storefronts were remodeled by Morris Green, who owned the building. He put $200 into his investment.

In the late 1930s, the area immediately surrounding N. 24th and Binney began changing dramatically. Just six blocks north, in 1937 the enormous potential of the University of Omaha went unrealized in North Omaha when it was relocated to west Omaha. Within a year, the neighboring hospital called Evangelical Covenant Hospital closed permanently. The neighborhood immediately surrounding those places changed, but the ripples went out and affected the 3006 Building, too.

Initially, the changes appeared inconsequential. For instance, Arthur Johnson began running a bakery at 3012 N. 24th after World War II. Running there into the 1950s, the business was sold and became the Mity Nice Bakery for a decade after. In the 1940s and 50s, Peggy’s Variety Store was located at 3006 N. 24th. These were the types of businesses that occupied the strip for decades.

However, by the early 1950s the values of homes surrounding building were tanking. Real estate agents practiced block busting in the surrounding neighborhoods, especially Kountze Place, in order to promote white flight to the west Omaha suburbs between North 60th and North 90th Streets. At the same time, fair housing practices were coming into effect in Omaha as advocates and lenders sent African American home buyers and renters from the Near North Side further north in North Omaha to neighborhoods like the ones around the 3006 Building.

3008 N. 24th St. North Omaha, Nebraska
This was Discount Eyewear at 3008 N. 24th St. The building was constructed in 1910, and the storefront is vacant in 2022.

This led to more diverse uses for the building. In the late 1950s, a group called the Democratic Voters Council was located at 3006 N. 24th. Using the space for political organizing, politicians like Mayor Dworak used the address as a campaign headquarters for the his re-election campaign. In 1964, State Senator Edward Danner opened campaign headquarters for his re-election at 3008 N. 24th, and it was from this location that community figure Felix Metoyer hosted a re-election rally for the county sheriff and others in 1966.

African American business owners began operating from the 3006 Building in the 1960s. From 1965 to 1969, the Salon of Elegante Coiffures ran at 3010 N. 24th. It was a Black-owned hair place that sold beauty products, and predicated the following 30-plus years of such operations in the building. Mrs. Johnnie Wilson was the owner of Wilson’s Beauty and Barber Supply, which was at 3010 from the 1970s into the 1980s. City Cleaners operated from 3012 N. 24th for more than 20 years. It closed permanently in 1970. Doris Mayo ran the Artiste Beauty and Barber Salon at 3010 N. 24th in the late 1980s and early 90s. There was a carbon monoxide emergency at this address in 2016, but it was remediated.

Artiste Fashion Set Beauty Salon, 3010 N. 24th St., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the Artiste Fashion Set Beauty Salon at 3010 N. 24th St. in the historic 3006 Building.

In 1966, a new organization opened at 3008 N. 24th called The Clef Club. It was a private organization for “upcoming musicians” to give them a place to meet and practice, and offer scholarships for growth and learning. Open only to due-paying members of the musicians’ union, in 1977 the club spent more than $12,000 renovating the space and opening it for others. Club owners had high hopes for the space that didn’t seem to materialize, and the Clef Club sold the space in the late 1990s.

Recently, a business called “That’s A Nyce Bag” operated at 3006 N. 24th. William Haynes ran a store called Discount Eyewear from 3008 N. 24th recently for several years. The Artiste Fashion Set Beauty Salon was located at 3010 N. 24th recently.

3013 N. 24th St., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is 3012 N. 24th St, built in 1905 and standing today. Its been home to more than a dozen businesses through more than 115 years of North Omaha history.

The Building in Modern Times

Today, there are changes afoot for the area surrounding the 3006 Building. Included in several redevelopment plans for the community, the building was part of the North Omaha Opportunity Zone, which incentivizes real estate investors to develop and redevelop the community. It is also encompassed in the North 24th Street Business Improvement District, and recently saw the repaving of the street and sidewalk in front of the building. There are new developments across the street as well as the important Culxure House down the street. Things are happening.

However, the 3006 Building has not been recognized for its historical significance for embodying the commercial well-being of the once-suburban neighborhood and longtime African American neighborhood surrounding it. In addition to being rehabilitated and ensured as viable for future usage, the building should be designated as an official City of Omaha Landmark and receive signage identifying its historic role in the community.

You Might Like…

MY ARTICLES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF KOUNTZE PLACE
General: Kountze Place | Kountze Park | Omaha University | 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
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 »

Elsewhere Online

BONUS PICS!

Sothmann Dry Cleaning at 3012 N. 24th St., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1919 ad for Sothmann Dry Cleaning at 3012 N. 24th St. It operated there until 1933.

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