Its an understatement to say that railroads helped build North Omaha; they were absolutely vital. Here’s a summary of their history.
This is a history of the buildings at North 24th and Fort Streets in the Miller Park neighborhood.
The Danish Vennelyst Park history goes beyond weddings, picnics and parties. It is one of the few remnants of Omaha’s once-thriving Danish immigrant community.
The North Omaha Gene Eppley Boys’ Club was the cradle of youth engagement for a generation of young men. This is a history of the facility.
Opened in 1952, the Spencer Projects in North Omaha have a long, complex history of neglect, crime and community building.
Land speculators snatched up a lot of North Omaha legally and illegally in the 1900s. Victor Lantry was one of them, and built a massive mansion to celebrate his wealth. Here’s his story.
DeBolt, Nebraska shows up on cell phones and social media statuses. Learn why in this article…
The Benson Motor Company operated on present-day Maple Street for more than two decades.
This is a modern history of North 24th and Lake Streets in North Omaha. Several buildings and initiatives are detailed.
Reed’s Ice Cream was a business in Omaha for more than 25 years. This article is about their business in North Omaha specifically…
The history of Scandinavians in North Omaha, including neighborhoods, churches, jobs and social groups.
Omaha’s tradition of Black churches started less than a decade after the founding of the city in 1865. With de facto segregation the norm in the city by then, African Americans were denied seats in white churches. Not to be without a spiritual home, the city’s pioneer Blacks founded their own places of worship. Here is an introduction […]
The Omaha Auto Speedway had a short life, but a long impact on racing in the city.
MY list of 75 places in North Omaha that are over 117 years old, give or take a few places.
North Omaha’s Martha T. Smith Home for the Aged opened in 1913 as the Colored Old Folks Home. This is the history…
A history of Omaha’s Eppley Airfield from 1925 to present. It has also been called the American Legion Municipal Airport and the Omaha Municipal Airport.
A leader among the bedrock institutions of North Omaha is Zion Baptist Church. One of the oldest congregations in Omaha, it was founded in 1884 and became the largest Black church in Omaha by 1900. It’s landmark building at 2215 Grant Street was designed by North Omaha native “Cap” Clarence Wigington, and its mission is still distinctly relevant more than 125 years after it was founded.
Adam Fletcher Sasse’s memories growing up in North Omaha, Nebraska in the 1980s and 1990s.
On Veterans Day, 1941, there was a giant parade for the dedication of a new monument to honor the life of John J. Pershing, General of the Armies during World War I. The City of Omaha named a new roadway leading from Abbott Drive to River Drive after him, as well. This is the story
Robert Strehlow helped build the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Expo and several others, then the Strehlow Terrace apartments.
North Omaha’s has A LOT of unsung architectural heroes, and one of them is Joseph P. Guth. Guth moved from Germany to Omaha in 1884 and designed business blocks, breweries, factories and warehouses, fire stations, schools, houses and multifamily residences, churches and halls across the city for more than 40 years. Leo A. Daly was his […]
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.
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 […]
Bungalow City was a booming neighborhood in North Omaha, Nebraska, for less than a decade. Then it was moved and forgotten.
Imagine a time when riding a streetcar was interesting, respected and almost a little glamorous. On the dusty, granite-covered streets of Omaha, that time was during the 1870s and 1880s. That new technology needed fanciful buildings to go along with the times, and the streetcar barn at 2606 North 26th Street in North Omaha was one of those buildings.
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.
Street signs at 20th and Lake in North Omaha, Nebraska. There are unsung intersections throughout North Omaha. These are places the past treated as important and meaningful, packed with businesses and enterprise, possibilities and the future. Unfortunately, almost every one of them met it’s demise when white flight kicked in and the community ran into […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
Immediately after World War II, there was a rush of soldiers flush with government money that allowed them to buy homes and build families right away. A lot of North Omaha finished in-filling during this period, with houses constructed in just a few months and selling a lot quicker than that. Spread across a few streets in the Miller Park neighborhood, one set of these homes created an architecturally distinct area that should be designated as a historic district and preserved quickly.
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.
Adam’s note: I’m a little hesitant to share this story, but I’m going to. Bad things happen in communities, and this story is part of North Omaha’s history. I’ve removed family names out of respect for the families involved. This is Kellom School in 1914. It was located at N. 24th and Paul Streets. […]