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.
Built on an 1852 house foundation, the Parker Mansion was a landmark in far North Omaha for more than a century.
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.
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.
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.
Tall and wide, regal and plain, North Omaha has been home to many types of apartment buildings throughout the years. This article summarizes those styles and gives examples.
This is a history of gas stations in North Omaha, Nebraska
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Judges, teachers, decorated veterans, actors and singers, an Olympian and a Heisman Trophy winner are among its alumni. This is a short history of Omaha Technical High School.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These are historic neighborhoods in North Omaha, including their establishment, locations and links.
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 […]
The Ohio Fish Market was a North Omaha institution for 25 years. Discover the history of this iconic restaurant and store…
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 […]
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 […]
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.
This is the story of the Florence-area country escape of the Brandies family called Arlena Lodge…
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.
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!
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 […]
The N. 24th and Lake intersection as it appeared in the early 1950s. Jim Bell’s Club Harlem was to the left of the intersection at 2310 Lake Street. 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 […]
The Walnut Hill neighborhood is one of the most historically distinguished in North Omaha.
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 […]
Dan Desdunes was The Man. The leader of Omaha’s powerhouse music scene for more than 20 years, here’s his story…
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 raise […]
Prospect Hill Cemetery was not Omaha’s first cemetery. This article explores that, and shares information about the city’s actual first cemeteries, including a few others lost to time.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about what happens at Hummel Park. A lot of it comes from racism, a lot from ignorance, and the rest of it from active imaginations. Before we start examining the allegations about the park, let’s look at the actual, factual history of Hummel Park. The Real History of Hummel […]
Omaha’s Colored Commercial Club was an business referral, employment agency, and community building org for almost a decade. This is it’s history…