Florence is a neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska on the city's north end and originally one of the oldest cities in Nebraska. It was incorporated by the Nebraska Territorial Legislature on March 10, 1857. The site of [1 ] Winter Quarters for Mormon migrants traveling west, it has the oldest cemetery for people of European descent and oldest standing gristmill in Nebraska. Florence was the site of an illegal territorial legislature in 1858. Given the high concentration of [2 ] National Register of Historic Places in the neighborhood, it is regarded as "the historic front door to Omaha as well as the state." [3 ]
History [ edit ]
In the spring of 1854
James C. Mitchell, following the advice of the fur trader Peter A. Sarpy, platted the village of Florence, including the old buildings and improvements of old Cutler's Park. Cutler's Park was established at the site of [4 ] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1846 Winter Quarters as a hold-over on their way from Nauvoo, Illinois to Utah. Due to the harsh conditions, 359 members of the 2,500 person party died and are buried in what is now called the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery. Their community was the first city in the Nebraska Territory. Despite lasting only two years, the city had a mayor and city council, 24 policemen and fireguards, various administrative committees, and a town square for public meetings. The [5 ] Mormon pioneers left their town once they moved on in 1848. Mitchell platted Florence six years later.
Late in 1854 the town of Florence made a bid to become the
Nebraska State Capitol, which it lost to Omaha. The [6 ] Bank of Florence, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built as a wildcat bank in 1856. It fell in the Panic of 1857, leaving thousands of local townspeople and area farmers severely financially drained.
It may not be generally known that, about seven miles north of Omaha, on the Missouri River, there is a small hamlet, ycleped Florence, the proprietors of which have been, for months, laboring assiduously to delude strangers that it was a city.
[7 ] ”
Florence Legislature [ edit ]
In January, 1858 a group of representatives illegally moved the
Nebraska Territorial Legislature to Florence following a violent outburst at the Territorial Capitol in Omaha. After repeatedly being dogged out of voting on the removal of the Capitol from Omaha, a skirmish pitted representatives from Nebraska City, Florence, and other communities to convene outside of Omaha. Despite having a majority of members present for the vote to remove the Capitol and all agreeing, the "Florence Legislature" did not succeed in swaying the Nebraska Territory governor, and the Capitol remained in Omaha until 1867 when Nebraska gained statehood. [8 ]
Omaha annexation [ edit ]
In 1917 the town was annexed by the
City of Omaha. The [6 ] Fort Omaha Balloon School was established later that year as the first such military school in America. "Florence Field," about a mile north of Fort Omaha, consisted of 119 acres (0.482 km 2). [6 ]
Historic landmarks [ edit ]
Landmarks in Florence
Bank of Florence 1856
8502 North 30th Street
October 15, 1969
wildcat bank was designated as an Omaha landmark on October 14, 1980. It is a Greek Revival-style building built between 1850 and 1874.
Florence Boulevard 1892
Burt Street north to J.J. Pershing Drive
Omaha boulevard system, this was once called the "Prettiest Mile."
Florence Depot 1887
9000 North 30th Street
Originally built at 28th and Grebe Streets.
Florence Firehouse 1888
8415 North 29th Street
This landmark was severely damaged in a fire that broke out due to faulty electrical wiring on May 15, 1984. It was rebuilt in the Urbana Gothic style, a transition from the early Fremol style of most other landmark Florence buildings.
Florence Mill 1846
9102 North 30th Street
December 31, 1998
Also known as the Weber Mill, Mormon Mill, Grist Mill, and Old Pink Mill, this site is on the National Register of Historic Places and has two historic markers.
Florence School 1860s
7902 North 36th Street
Fontenelle Boulevard Pre-1900
Military Road to North 30th Street
Keirle House 1905
3017 Mormon Street
Omaha Landmark in 1997.
8315 North 31st Street
James C. Mitchell, some assert that Brigham Young lived in the house for a short period. [9 ]
Mormon Pioneer Cemetery 1846
3301 State Street
Used until 1848,
LDS Church records indicate 359 pioneers are buried there.
Notre Dame Academy and Convent 1924
3501 State Street
March 5, 1998
Old People's Home 1917
3325 Fontenelle Boulevard
October 21, 1987
Potter's Field Cemetery 1870s
7909 Mormon Bridge Road
Located next to the
Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
St Philip Neri School
8202 North 31st Street
The parish was founded in 1904; the school in 1922.
Interesting sites [ edit ]
In addition to these historic landmarks designated by the city, state or federal government, a new attraction is the
Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple, constructed in 2001. The opening ceremonies and open house for the large temple drew thousands of visitors.
Also of interest are the
Mormon Pioneer Memorial Bridge, built in 1952; it carries Interstate 680 over the Missouri River. The Mormon Bridge Tollhouse, at 3010 Willit Street, was related to the operations of the toll bridge.
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
^ (1912) Bulletin. Issues 2. Nebraska State Legislature. p. 7
^ (n.d.) History of the Florence Mill.
^ "Heritage tourism may define future of Florence", Omaha by Design. Retrieved 9/18/08.
^ Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska - Douglas County
^ (n.d.) Historic Florence - Culter's Park Marker
^ a b c Reeves, R. (n.d.) Douglas County History University of Nebraska.
^ Omaha Nebraskian, 1857, as cited in Bristow, D. (1997) A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tale of 19th Century Omaha. Caxton Press.
^ Bristow, D.
^ a b Federal Writers Project, , Nebraska State Historical Society, (1939) Online full-text PDF edition, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Retrieved 6/28/10. Nebraska: A Guide to the Cornhusker State
^ "Parish history", St. Philip Neri Church of Omaha, Retrieved 6/4/08.
External links [ edit ]
Coordinates: 41°20′10″N 95°57′37″W / 41.33611°N 95.96028°W