A Tour of Saratoga Historic Places

These are historic places in the Saratoga neighborhood of North Omaha.

Saratoga, an 1857 town in the Nebraska Territory, was long ago consumed by the City of Omaha. First a dusty town on a wide-open prairie, then it was a leafy suburb and then an inner-city neighborhood. Today, it’s history is nearly forgotten.

This is a tour of former and current historic sites in Saratoga.

Current Historic Places

These are buildings that still stand in the Saratoga neighborhood today.

  1. Druid Hall, 2412 Ames Avenue (1914). Opened in 1915, this was one of the preeminent social halls in North Omaha for 50 years. It was built in 1914 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.
  2. North Star Theatre, 2413-2419 Ames Avenue (1926). Opened in 1926, it was renamed the Ames Theater in the late 1950s and closed in 1960. The same building hosted Crestwood Shop, Shaver’s Groceries and King Solomon’s Mine. It was built in 1926 and is still standing today.
  3. Suburban Theatre, 4414 North 24th St. (1900) – Opened in 1900, this building is standing today.
  4. Former Omaha Fire Department Station 15, 2202 Ames Ave (1938). It was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, and closed permanently in 1983. After that it was a warehouse for Habitat for Humanity and became a private business around 2018. This building is standing today.
  5. Pearl Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, 2377 Larimore Ave (1905). Originally built as Pearl in 1905, this church became home to the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in 1915. This building is standing today, and is home to Iglesia Pentecostes Roca de Salvacion.
  6. Rome Miller Mansion, 4823 Florence Boulevard (1898). Built in 1898 by a famous Omaha hotelier, this fine home stands tall today at the intersection of Florence Boulevard and Grand Avenue. It was a sanatarium and apartments before being restored as a single-family home. It is still standing today.
  7. J. F. Bloom and Company, 4431 Florence Boulevard (1926). Built in 1926, this building was home to the company’s main offices and showroom until 2018. As of 2023, it is still standing and is being renovated.
  8. 4225 Florence Blvd (1926). Opened in 1926, this building has been a car dealer, car painter, washing machine maker and home repair company. It is still standing today, and is now home to a company called GMS Werks.
  9. 4426 Florence Blvd (1926). Billing’s Bun Bakery was just one of the many businesses located here after the building was constructed in 1926. It is still standing today.
  10. Imperial Sash and Window Factory, 4402 Florence Boulevard (1919) . It is still standing today, and there are plans to convert it into the Ernie Chambers Museum.
  11. Saratoga School, 2504 Meredith Avenue (1923) – Originally built in 1866, the current school was located at 25th and Meredith Avenue. There were four different Saratoga School buildings, including the current site and a former one at North 24th and Ames Avenue.
  12. A & P Supermarket, 4515 North 24th Street (1900). It was once an A&P Supermarket, and then a Hinky Dinky until 1965. The building was constructed in 1900 and renovated extensively in 1946. It has been repurposed and is still standing today.
  13. Oldest House, 2527 Ames Avenue (c1870). This may be the only direct evidence of the town of Saratoga today. The brick facade is designed in the vernacular style that was popular throughout the Nebraska frontier towns of that era. Staring at that building from every angle, it is easy to see that this building is older than the Douglas County Assessor’s records indicate. It is still standing today.
  14. Saratoga Stables, 2501 Taylor Avenue (c1871). Built around 1871, these stables are among the oldest remnants of the former Town of Saratoga. While this building is now morphed into a larger warehouse on the south side, the façade is the same as it was originally, and it is still standing today.

Former Places

  1. Site of the Erastus Beadle Residence, North 16th and Sprague Street (1857) – Built in New York and shipped to Saratoga in pieces, the house was located immediately east of the fair grounds near N. 16th and Sprague Streets.
  2. Site of the Saratoga Brewery, North 16th and Commercial Avenue – Opened by Richard Siemon in 1854, it was located at the present-day junction of North 16th Street and Commercial Avenue. It was bought by a few other people, eventually including Gottlieb Storz who eventually transformed it into the Storz Brewery. It is unknown when this building was demolished.
  3. Site of the Central House Hotel aka Saratoga Springs Hotel, North 24th and Grand Street – Later serving as the first home for the Brownell Hall, it was demolished around 1890.
  4. Site of the Saratoga Bend, West Carter Lake Drive – This section of the Missouri River was cut-off in a large flood, forming present-day Carter Lake in 1877.
  5. Site of Saratoga Main Street, 24th and Grand Streets – This was the main intersection of the town of Saratoga, and included the locations of the short-lived post office, hotel, taverns, a hotel and a mill. It stopped serving this role around 1890.
  6. Site of the Omaha and Council Bluffs Streetcar Company Barn, N. 24th and Ames Ave – This building was constructed in 1899. The streetcar company closed down in 1955 and it became a warehouse. It burned down in 1983.
  7. Site of LaRue’s Cafe, 2305 Ames Ave – Open from 1916 to 1946, this building was demolished in the 1980s.
  8. Site of the Star Liquor Store, 2414 Ames Ave – Located in the eventual storefront for the Max I Walker Cleaners, this building was demolished in the 1990s.
  9. Site of the Spot Bar, 2305 Ames Ave – This building was demolished in the 1980s.
  10. Site of the Saratoga Laundry, 4322 North 24th Street – The building was demolished in 1965 when a warehouse was built in its place.
  11. Site of Kulakofsky Market, 2404 Ames Avenue – Opened in 1905, the grocery store run by Reuben Kulakofsky stayed open until 1917. It was later the J.A. Gross Grocery, and from 1951 through 1962, it was Johnson Hardware. The building was demolished in the 1980s.
  12. Site of the Third Church Christ Scientist, 2118 Browne St. Built in 1950, it was home to Bethlehem Baptist Church starting in the early 1960s. Boarded up in 2016, it was demolished in 2019.
  13. Oak Chatham Station, 22nd and Belt Line Railway – Built in 1886 to serve the Belt Line Railway in Saratoga, this depot was for passengers until 1888 when industrial loads were served. A second set of tracks came here in 1890, and several spurs extended throughout the light industrial area surrounding it. By 1898, the station had been closed for more than a year when it was converted into an office building for operations related to the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. The building was gone by the 1920s and the tracks were removed in the 2000s.
  14. Trinity Lutheran Church, N. 25th Street and Ames Avenue (c1887). Opened in the 1880s, this congregation moved to N. 30th and Redick Ave. The North Branch of the Omaha Public Library opened there in 1921, and stayed there until 1938 when it moved to N. 29th and Ames. The building was demolished in 1938.
  15. Site of Max I. Walker Cleaners, 2410 Ames Avenue. In 1917, this address became the first store in this now-citywide chain. It operated there into the 1980s before permanently closing. The building was demolished in the 1990s.
  16. Site of Sulphur Springs, North 11th and Locust Street – This was a shipping area created along the river meant to house the town’s industry. It was closed permanently by a flood in 1877.
  17. Site of the Omaha Driving Park, North 16th and Sprague Street – From approximately 1875 through the 1910s, Saratoga was home to a race track that also served as the Nebraska State Fairgrounds and the Douglas County Fairgrounds. During the 1898 Trans Mississippi Exposition, it was home to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It was demolished around 1912.
  18. Site of Borden Ice Cream, 4414 North 24th Street – This building was demolished in the 1990s.
  19. Site of La Rue Scalp Specialist, 2309 Ames Ave. – Open from 1919 to 1965, this building was demolished in the 1980s.
  20. Site of Metropolitan Building and Loan, 4508 North 24th Street. The two structure had a storefront on the first floor and apartments on the second. The MBLA was opened in 1922 and closed around 1960. The building was home to the Dollar Wise Store for almost a decade and was demolished in 1969.
  21. Site of JFK Youth Center, 4512 North 24th Street. Built in 1910, this two-story structure was home to businesses on the first floor and apartments on the second. The businesses here included a dry goods store and restaurant. The Youth Center was opened here in 1965, and the building was demolished in the 1980s.
  22. Site of the Stroud Company Factory, Florence Blvd and the Belt Line Railway (1909). Stroud built a wagon-making-company turned road machine manufacturing factory here starting in 1909 and it remained in the 1930s. The factory co-housed the Omaha Motor Car Company in 1913. The entire factory was demolished in the 1940s.
  23. Site of the Stroud Mansion, 5100 Florence Blvd (1909). Stroud built his grand mansion on the corner of Browne and Florence Boulevard. A four-story tall Neo-Classical behemoth, it was engulfed by oak trees on its two-acre setting, and was referred to as the White House or The Plantation. It was demolished in 1969 and replaced with the Florence Towers.
  24. Site of Saratoga Springs Hotel, North 24th and Grand Avenue (1857). Built in 1857 as a hotel, this building housed the Brownell Hall, a private religious school, and several other hotels afterwards. It wasn’t demolished until 1890.
  25. Site of the YMCA Athletic Park, northeast corner of N. 24th and Ames Avenue (1899). Opened in 1899, the park included a quarter-mile bicycle and running track, a baseball diamond, trap shooting, handball, quoits and cricket, as well as tennis courts. There were showers, baths, rubbing tables and dressing rooms, too. It was closed in 1909.
  26. Site of Prairie Park Club, 2605 Taylor Street (1908). Open from 1908 to 1920, it was an exclusive hotspot for social, cultural, recreational, athletic and educational activities in the Saratoga neighborhood until it closed. Converted into apartments, the building was demolished around 1981.
  27. Site of the Gruenig Mansion, 2406 Fowler Avenue (c1911). Replacing the original “Gruenig Castle,” this 10-bedroom home was converted into a senior retirement home. The original house was demolished in 1970 and replaced with the building currently at the location in 1971.

It is important to read the history of Sulphur Springs, too.

You Might Like…

BONUS

Two aerial photos of the Saratoga neighborhood in 1930 and in 2020 located in North Omaha, Nebraska.
These two aerial photos show the Saratoga neighborhood in 1930 and in 2020. The key for these images is 1: Omaha Streetcar Ames Barn; 2: Druid Hall; 3: North Star Movie Theater; 4. Third Saratoga School; 5. Omaha University Football Field; 6. Belt Line Railroad; 7. Ernie Chambers Museum; 8. Former JF Bloom Company headquarters; 9. Former Ames Avenue; 10. GMS Wërks; 11. Fourth Saratoga School, and; 12. Lozier Corporation factory.
This is a now-and-then comparison of the Saratoga Main Street in North Omaha, Nebraska, from 1918 to 2016.
This is a now-and-then comparison of the Saratoga Main Street from 1918 to 2016.
Saratoga, Nebraska
An 1885 map of the town of Saratoga. Note the long wetlands along Ames Avenue by 42nd that became the Fontenelle Park pond.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s