“The Negro Faces North. Omaha, Nebraska: The New Mood Shocks the City” by Sam Castan for LOOK magazine

On December 17, 1963, LOOK magazine included a story about segregation in Omaha. Following is a section of the article; there is a link to a PDF of the story under “Related Articles” that follows.   THE NEGRO FACES NORTH OMAHA, NEBRASKA: THE NEW MOOD SHOCKS THE CITY BY SAM CASTAN LOOK SENIOR EDITOR Omaha, Nebr., has an […]

A History of the Gold Coast Historic District in Omaha

From 1880 through the 1920s, Omaha’s new Gold Coast neighborhood was the opulent address in Omaha. Starting with Gilded Age mansions, it evolved into a mixed income neighborhood with wealthy and manager level classes.

A History of KOWH, North Omaha’s Radio Station

In the aftermath of the 1960s riots that ravaged the community, a group of African American investors from North Omaha rallied to invest in technology, and for many, to invest in their home neighborhood. Pulling off a coup, for almost a decade, North Omaha was home to Nebraska’s first radio station and a former bastion of white middle class American culture. Except now it was the home of the city’s Black pride, empowerment and culture.

A History of the Case of Rice and Poindexter in North Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska, was founded on white supremacy. Since then, both formal and informal forces throughout the city have worked continuously to impose, maintain and expand white supremacy throughout the city, state and nation. The stories of Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter are examples of what that looks like. Understood in the context of North Omaha history, it is easy to see they aren’t the only examples; however, they are among the most powerful.

People from North Omaha History

This is a timeline of people from the history of North Omaha. They include people from political, legal, religious, medical, and other professions who transformed the community in countless ways. There are also creative leaders, sports figures, and others, too.

A History of the North 30th and Ames Commercial District

The intersection of North 30th and Ames Avenue was an important suburban crossroads in North Omaha as early as the 1890s and going all the way into the 1960s. Then, with white flight in full force and North Omaha divestment underway, the intersection started to struggle. Today, it continues to flounder, but many businesses stay open, overcoming the negative, challenging and demeaning perceptions many Omaha’s have about the community.

A History of Early 20th Century Crime Bosses in North Omaha

In a time of mobland gangsters, illegal booze, dirty gambling halls and open prostitution, several African Americans rose high enough in Omaha’s criminal underworld to become the crime lords of North Omaha.

A History of North Omaha’s Elks Hall and Iroquois Lodge 92

Starting in 1905, the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World, also called the black Elks, met in North Omaha. They were determined to help foster positive social connections, build community and foster growth within Omaha’s African American community. Almost 100 years later, it keeps going.

A History of the 24th and Lake Historic District in North Omaha

North Omaha is screaming full of history, and the new 24th and Lake Historic District is a tremendous example of how that’s so. After its first developments in the 1870s, this intersection evolved to become a hotbed of the African American community; as well as the heart of the Jewish community; a farm supply area; and much, much more. In 2016, 38 buildings were included in a new listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This article is an introduction to the powerful, poignant past of a large jewel in North Omaha’s historical crown.

A History of African American Newspapers in Omaha

North Omaha’s African American culture has grown and changed dramatically since its founding in 1854. One of the main drivers of the culture for more than a century has been the Black media. From the time Omaha’s first Black newspaper was published in 1889 through Shanelle Williams’ continued use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media today to build the African American community in Omaha, Black media has continued to transform the North Omaha community and the city at large.

A History of North Omaha’s Belt Line Railway

Almost a decade ago, I stumbled across stories of a railroad that looped around Omaha. Different sources told crazy realities, including conflicting ownership, court cases, and the rise and fall of several neighborhoods in North Omaha. I was fascinated that I saw this track all the time when I was growing up, but I never knew its story, so I started researching. I read articles and pamphlets, books and maps. After that, I started an article on Wikipedia to share what I’d found. Well, as you know, that’s never enough for me. With some recent encouragement from John Peterson, a fine Omaha history writer, I am going to expand here on what I’ve researched and learned about the Belt Line Railway in North Omaha.

A History of the Carnation Ballroom in North Omaha

African Americans stepped up to create community for themselves. Since Blacks weren’t allowed to move away from the Near North Side neighborhood, that’s where the community arose. Black churches, restaurants, clothing stores, and entertainment venues filled the North 24th Street strip from Cuming north to Lothrop Streets, and along Lake Street too.

A History of Mob Violence in Omaha

Mobs have terrorized Omaha since the city was founded in 1854. Defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims,” terrorism was been the weapon of Omaha’s mobs from the beginning. Early on, they were seemingly concerned with horse thieves, claim jumping and break-ins. In more recent times, mobs attacked people in Omaha because of their race and ethnicities. 50 years ago, mobs lashed out at businesses. Notably, there haven’t been any mob terror trials, monuments, or other acknowledgments of the acts of the masses in Omaha throughout its 160+ years of existence.

A History of Squatter’s Row in North Omaha

One area that benefited a lot from Nebraska’s pro-squatting law was a little strip in North Omaha, from North 11th Street on the east to North 13th on the west; Nicholas Street on the south to Locust on the north. This area was home to the North Omaha rail yards, but the railroads didn’t have without any concern for the squatters were starting putting up their shacks there as early as the 1860s.

A History of the Governor Alvin Saunders Estate in North Omaha

The fine Second Italianate Renaissance Style home built by Nebraska Territory governor Alvin Saunders was located in North Omaha at 1510 Sherman Avenue / 2008 North 16th Street. Learn more about it in this article.

A History of Cemeteries in North Omaha

Did you know that North Omaha has at least eight historic cemeteries? Serving religious and ethnic populations as well as the general public, these are the final resting places of thousands of people from the 1840s through today.

A History of North Omaha’s Cuming Street

Now seen as the front door to Omaha, Cuming Street has also served as the city’s farthest edge; as the growing, mighty muscles of industry and business; and as its dirty, neglected backside. This article highlights the history of Cuming Street, from its beginnings through to present day.

A History of the Omaha Star

More than 65 years ago, a newspaper was launched to serve Omaha’s African American community. Coming from a legacy of several Black newspapers before it, the paper was launched by the visionary Mildred Brown and her husband Ed Gilbert. Losing its direct competitors within a decade, The Omaha Star became the city’s Civil Rights media champion, refusing to print negative news and constantly focusing on keeping it positive. The original banner was “Joy and Happiness”, and the only told good news.

A History of North Omaha’s Pries Lake

Here’s Pries Lake from a 1910s postcard.  The hills around North Omaha’s Florence neighborhood have kept their share of wealthy country homes, fancy gentlemen’s farms and old settlements hidden since the 1840s. However, one of the most popular places that ever existed in the area was a picnic resort that’s completely forgotten today. Its not […]

A History of North Omaha’s Miller Park

The Miller Park in North Omaha has a long history. There is no single right way to write about it, and if, after you’re done reading this entire article, you disagree with the way I’ve written this history, I invite you to write your own version.     To start with, it is important to […]

A History of the Bailey Residence in North Omaha

Built: 1875 estimated Address: 1504 North 19th Street Architecture: Eastlake Style Demolished: 1900 estimated When Omaha was first starting up in the 1850s and 1860s, it was built with wood. Wood-frame stores, hotels, homes and boarding houses were all over. There were some soddies, too. One of the first people to help the city move […]

A History of Churches in North Omaha

In its first 75 years, North Omaha was home to no fewer than four Jewish synagogues, six Catholic parishes and 50 Protestant congregations. These churches reflected the community’s diversity, including ethnic churches where only Italian, German, Norwegian, Danish and other languages were spoke. Within 25 years of Omaha’s founding, there were also several Black churches in the neighborhood north of downtown. Following is a history of churches in North Omaha.

A Biography of North Omaha’s Dr. Marguerita Washington

This story begins with the death. On November 2nd, 1989, Mildred Brown passed away. Easily the mother of North Omaha pride, Mildred co-founded The Omaha Star in the late 1930s and ran it by herself for almost 50 years. She promoted the community mercilessly, building pride, power and purpose through her paper, and her death was a massive loss to everyone in North Omaha, especially the African American community.

A History of the Florence Neighborhood in North Omaha

The history of Florence begins with the tangled clopping of horse hooves and rattling of the sideboards on beat up wagons. The story of the town begins with people leaving, people coming back, a town booming, a town shrinking, and then getting annexed into Omaha and calming down. It’s a story that’s still being written every day, and lately things are on the up and up!

A History of St. Clare’s Monastery in North Omaha

This is the original Poor Clares Monastery built in 1904. It still stands at N. 29th and Hamilton Streets.   Located in the middle of the hustle and bustle is a spectacularly beautiful, formerly consecrated rental facility that few people in the entire city know about. For more than a century there was a monastery […]

A History of Jim Bell’s Club Harlem In North Omaha

The horns blared out the doors, crowds of Black and white jazz fans waited impatiently to cram in, and bunches of kids stood around the back door trying to get a listen. On any given Friday and Saturday night through the late 1950s, Jim Bell’s Club Harlem was one of the very best places to […]

A History of North Omaha’s Kellom Pool

The Near North Side neighborhood was packed with people for more than a century. People need places to hang out and cool off in Omaha’s hot summers, and in the late 1940s the City of Omaha Parks Department decided to build a swimming pool to serve the community. By this point, the Logan Fontenelle Housing […]

A History of Grave Robbing in North Omaha

The banner from a 1910 periodical for parks maintenance.  It costs money to be a respectful, successful cemetery. They actually have to conduct a regular and brisk business in order to afford their existence. Today, many old cemeteries have charitable groups or beneficiaries who pay for their upkeep. However, it hasn’t always been easy to […]