A History of the Fort Omaha Balloon School in North Omaha

Drifting high above North Omaha for 12 years, dirigibles and balloons that were lighter than air showed how Fort Omaha was central to US Army experimentation. This article shares the short history of the balloon school that showed so much promise early on.

A History of North Omaha’s Burkenroad House aka Broadview Hotel aka Trimble Castle

The home at 2060 Florence Boulevard has a reputation as a mansion for the social elite; an apartment house; a brothel, a hotel and as apartments again. Here is a history of North Omaha’s Broadview Hotel.

A Biography of Beverly Blackburn and a History of the JFK Rec Center in North Omaha

The John F. Kennedy Recreation Center, also called the Blackburn Recreation Center after its founding owner Beverly Wead Blackburn Jones, was located at 4514 North 24th Street between 1965 and 1970. Mrs. Jones began her work with youth when she was 17 at the Kellom Community Center, and became the director in 1957 at the age of 20. In […]

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.

A History of North Omaha’s Stroud Company

Thomas Frank Stroud’s North Omaha business was successful. After starting it in Omaha in 1894, he formally organized the firm in 1895 to build dirt moving machines that he designed. In 1905, he built a $20,000 factory at the intersection of Florence Boulevard and the Belt Line tracks.

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 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 Mormon Tree in Florence, Nebraska

The Mormon Tree, also called the Brigham Young Tree, has loomed over my studies of Florence history for a decade now. I’ve seen mentions of it in old newspapers and heard stories about it from older people. However, I couldn’t find anything about it all this time. Until last month. Finally, after all these years, I wrote the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters to ask about the Mormon Tree.

A History of North Omaha’s Long School Neighborhood

The Long School neighborhood is located in North Omaha from Hamilton Street on the south to Erskine on the North; North 24th on the east and the North Freeway on the west, and it has a total of 30 blocks. Houses started getting built in the neighborhood as early as the 1860s. However, it wasn’t until Long School was built that things really got underway. This is a history of the neighborhood.

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 North Omaha’s Tidy House Factory

Located at 1400 Evans Street in North Omaha, the Tidy House Products Company was one of many small industries scattered throughout the community. A successful company, Tidy House had several products that helped you keep a tidy house. They included Perfex household cleaner, Dexol bleach, GlossTex laundry detergent, and Shina Dish dishwashing liquid. The company […]

A History of Lead Poisoning in North Omaha

For more than 15 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has been fighting lead poisoning in North Omaha as part of a citywide environmental cleanup focused on the 27-square-miles east of 72nd Street.

A History of the Omaha Municipal Beach

Located at 809 Carter Lake Drive North, Municipal Beach was a success, and for decades on every good swimming day all summer long a thousand people swamped Omaha’s Municipal Beach to enjoy sun, fun and good times. It was located there from 1919 through to the 1950s, enjoying massive popularity, an influx of money from the US federal government, and a place in many older peoples’ memories still today.

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 16th and Locust Historic District in North Omaha

The N. 16th and Locust Street intersection was a beehive of commercial activity for more than a century. The Locust overpass of the MoPac Railroad was a key. Learn more.

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 East Omaha’s Florence Lake

Along the wild timeline of the Missouri River, a little nest of water was created in East Omaha, Nebraska. When European settlers saw it, they called it Florence Lake. Here’s a short history of its appearance, some appreciation, and its disappearance.

A History of North Omaha’s Storz Brewery

Before Gottlieb Storz, a few other entrepreneurs tried their hand at brewing beer in North Omaha. Afterwards though, Storz dominated. For more than 75 years, his family ran Omaha’s beer industry, and even though the brewery closed in the 1970s, it left a major mark on the city that still stands today. This is a […]