South Omaha, Nebraska

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South Omaha is a former city and current district of Omaha, Nebraska, United States. During its initial development phase the town's nickname was "The Magic City" because of the seemingly overnight growth due to the rapid development of the Union Stockyards. Annexed by the City of Omaha in 1915, the community has numerous historical landmarks. Many are within the South Omaha Main Street Historic District.

Definition[edit]

The traditional borders of South Omaha included Vinton Street to the north, Harrison Street to the south, the Missouri River on the east, and 42nd Street on the west.

History[edit]

The area that would become South Omaha was rural until the early 1880s, when cattle baron Alexander Hamilton Swan decided to establish a stockyards operation just south of Omaha. The South Omaha plat was registered on July 18, 1884. Two years later, South Omaha was incorporated as a city. By 1890, the city had grown to 8,000 people, a rate of growth that earned it the nickname of "The Magic City".

In less than 10 years, South Omaha had developed as a regional stockyards and meat packing center. As its industrial jobs did not require high-level language skills, it drew thousands of immigrant workers, mostly from southern and eastern Europe. This area of the city showed ethnic succession, as different waves of immigrants established certain territories as their own during their first settlement. Some descendants moved out of the area into other parts of the city, and newer immigrant groups filled the neighborhoods behind them.

South Omaha was annexed by Omaha on June 20, 1915. At that time it was 6.4 mi² and had 40,000 residents.[1] In 1947 there were 15,000 people working in meatpacking. Dale Carnegie, the future motivational speaker and writer, had his first job out of college here, working for Armour & Company as their South Omaha sales representative.[2] Structural changes to the meatpacking industry in the 1960s, including decentralization of operations, cost the city 10,000 jobs.

Cultural diversity[edit]

South Omaha was, and continues to be, culturally diverse. Many residents are descended from the Irish, Polish, Czech, Lithuanian, Italian, and Latino immigrants who made up the original workforce in the meatpacking industry; they were primarily Roman Catholic in religion. In recent decades, South Omaha has seen an influx of new immigrants representing Hispanic and Sudanese populations.

The early diversity is evident in the variety of religious institutions established by the various ethnic communities, which established national Roman Catholic and other churches, including

Catholic Churches:

Orthodox churches:

In the late 19th century, a Jewish synagogue was established in South Omaha.

In addition to the churches, in the early part of the 20th century, the Lithuanian community published a newspaper, known as the Bell of the West.

Landmarks in South Omaha[edit]

Place name Year built Location National Register of Historic Places[3] Omaha Landmark[4]
Arthur G. Rocheford Building 1913 1717 Vinton Street Yes Yes
Breckenridge-Gordon House No Yes
Broatch Building No Yes
Center School (Omaha, Nebraska) Yes Yes
Columbian School Yes Yes
Elsasser Bakery 1933 1802-1804 Vinton Street Yes Yes
Epeneter House No Yes
Ford Hospital Yes No
Franklin School Yes No
Gallagher Building 1888 1902-1906 South 13th Street Yes Yes
Georgia Row House Yes No
Gottlieb Storz House Yes Yes
Grossman Apartment No Yes
Guy C. Barton House Yes No
Hanscom Park 1876 No No
Hicks House No Yes
Hicks Terrace No Yes
Immaculate Conception Church and School Yes No
Joel N. Cornish House Yes No
Kimball House No Yes
Kuncl-Hruska House No Yes
Little Bohemia Bounded by South 10th Street on the east, South 16th Street on the west, Pierce Street on the north, and Martha Street on the south No No
Little Italy Bounded by Pacific Street on the north, Center Street on the south, South 10th Street on the west and the Missouri River on the east. No No
Livestock Exchange Building Yes Yes
Mason School 1012 South 24th Street Yes Yes
Mason Terrace & Van Closter Residence No Yes
McLaughlin House No Yes
Megeath House No Yes
Monmouth Park School It was razed in 1995. Yes No
Neble House No Yes
Packer’s National Bank Building Yes Yes
Park School Yes Yes
Porter House Yes Yes
Prague Hotel Yes No
Robbins School No Yes
Rosewater School Yes Yes
Saint Joseph Parish Complex Yes Yes
St. John's Collegiate Church No Yes
St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church Yes Yes
St. Matthias Episcopal Church Yes No
St Philomena's Cathedral and Rectory - now known as St Frances Cabrini Church Yes Yes
Slater House No Yes
South Omaha Bridge 1936 Located on Hwys 275/92 over the Missouri River Yes No
South Omaha Main Street Historic District 1883 South 24th Street between M Street on the north and O Street on the south Yes No
South Omaha Public Library 1904 Razed in 1953. No No
Steiner Rowhouse No. 1 Yes No
Steiner Rowhouse No. 2 Yes No
Swoboda Bakery Yes No
Union State Bank Building No Yes
Vinton School Yes Yes
Vinton Street Commercial Historic District Along Vinton Street between Elm Street on the west and South 17th Street on the east Yes Yes
Wattles House No Yes
Zabriskie House Yes Yes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ History of Nebraska - Chapter 35, retrieved 14dec2006
  2. ^ How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, Introduction by Lowell Thomas, p. 9, Copyright 1964
  3. ^ (2007) National Register of Historic Places - Nebraska, Douglas County. National Park Service. Retrieved 6/7/07.
  4. ^ Omaha Landmarks. Omaha Landmark Heritage Preservation Commission. Retrieved 7/7/07.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°12′38″N 95°57′45″W / 41.21056°N 95.96250°W / 41.21056; -95.96250