South Omaha, Nebraska
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.
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.
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. 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. Structural changes to the meatpacking industry in the 1960s, including decentralization of operations, cost the city 10,000 jobs.
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
- Irish – St. Mary's and St. Bridget's
- German – St. Rose and St. Joseph
- Czech – Assumption and St. Adalbert's
- Polish – St. Stanislaus, Immaculate Conception Church and St. Francis of Assisi
- Lithuanian – St. Anthony's
- Italian – St. Francis Cabrini and St. Ann's
- Croatian – Sts. Peter and Paul
- Hispanic – Our Lady of Guadalupe
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
|Place name||Year built||Location||National Register of Historic Places||Omaha Landmark|
|Arthur G. Rocheford Building||1913||1717 Vinton Street||Yes||Yes|
|Center School (Omaha, Nebraska)||Yes||Yes|
|Elsasser Bakery||1933||1802-1804 Vinton Street||Yes||Yes|
|Gallagher Building||1888||1902-1906 South 13th Street||Yes||Yes|
|Georgia Row House||Yes||No|
|Gottlieb Storz House||Yes||Yes|
|Guy C. Barton House||Yes||No|
|Immaculate Conception Church and School||Yes||No|
|Joel N. Cornish House||Yes||No|
|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|
|Monmouth Park School||It was razed in 1995.||Yes||No|
|Packer’s National Bank Building||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|
|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|
|Union State Bank Building||No||Yes|
|Vinton Street Commercial Historic District||Along Vinton Street between Elm Street on the west and South 17th Street on the east||Yes||Yes|
- History of Nebraska - Chapter 35, retrieved 14dec2006
- How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, Introduction by Lowell Thomas, p. 9, Copyright 1964
- (2007) National Register of Historic Places - Nebraska, Douglas County. National Park Service. Retrieved 6/7/07.
- Omaha Landmarks. Omaha Landmark Heritage Preservation Commission. Retrieved 7/7/07.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article South Omaha.|