Jewell Building

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Jewell Building
Jewell building (Omaha) from NW 1.JPG
Jewell Building is located in Nebraska
Jewell Building
Location Omaha, NE
Coordinates 41°16′46.56″N 95°56′48.59″W / 41.2796000°N 95.9468306°W / 41.2796000; -95.9468306Coordinates: 41°16′46.56″N 95°56′48.59″W / 41.2796000°N 95.9468306°W / 41.2796000; -95.9468306
Built 1923[2]
Built by Lof, John & Sons, Builder
Architect Henninger, F.A.
Architectural style Colonial Revival
NRHP reference # 83001091[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 21, 1983
Designated OMAL September 9, 1980[2]

The Jewell Building is a city landmark in North Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1923, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 2221 North 24th Street, the building was home to the Dreamland Ballroom for more than 40 years, and featured performances by many jazz and blues legends, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lionel Hampton.[3]

Dizzy Gillespie and his band at the Dreamland Ballroom in 1948

The building has been designated a Landmark by the City of Omaha, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an example of the kind of venue that was integral to the cultural transmission and interchange of musical styles and art, especially in the years before television. In addition such entertainment centers were the chief ways musicians, both local and national, earned enough to make livings.


Located at 2221-2225 North 24th Street in the Near North Side neighborhood of Omaha, the Jewell Building was built in 1923 by James Jewell, Sr., an influential man in the local African-American community. Architect Frederick A. Henninger designed the building in the vernacular Georgian Revival style. It originally featured commercial spaces on the first floor, as well as the Dreamland Ballroom on the second floor.[4]

In 1945 Dreamland Ballroom was used as a USO center for African-American soldiers. It continued to be used for music performances until 1965.[5]

The Omaha Economic Development Council restored the building in the early 1980s. It was designated a landmark by the City of Omaha on September 9, 1980, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. For several years, the Jewell Building housed OEDC's corporate headquarters and served as an office center for professional people and small businesses. Two private apartments were kept in the building.[6]

The Jewell Building was converted to the Love's Center for Jazz and Art, which opened in 2008 in honor of local musician Preston Love. In the 1940s he was recruited as a young musician by the nationally famous Count Basie Band and played with them for years. The building will be used to help preserve jazz history, as well as promote new jazz and art activities. Dreamland Plaza is located adjacent to the Jewell Building at 24th and Lizzie Robinson Streets. It is the site of a recent $2 million investment by the city, including the addition of public art, a sculpture of three jazz musicians.[7]

Dreamland Ballroom[edit]

Located on the second floor of the Jewell Building, the Dreamland Ballroom was the premier nightclub for big bands and jazz in Omaha. James Jewell, Jr. booked the original Nat King Cole Trio for $25 a person for one show. Dreamland closed in the 1960s. Other performers included Dinah Washington, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lionel Hampton.[8] A variety of Omaha music legends including Preston Love, Anna Mae Winburn and Lloyd Hunter also played at the Dreamland.

An influential man in the black community, James Jewell invited activist Whitney Young to speak in the 1950s at Dreamland Hall about the Civil Rights Movement. Young started in Omaha and became the national director of the Urban League.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Omaha Landmarks". Omaha Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  3. ^ (nd) Nebraska National Register Sites in Douglas County. Official Nebraska Government Website. Retrieved 4/30/07.
  4. ^ (nd) Jewell Building/Dreamland Ballroom Archived March 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. City of Omaha. Retrieved 4/30/07.
  5. ^ Landmarks, Inc. (2003) Building for the Ages: Omaha's Architectural Landmarks. Quebecor Books. p 160.
  6. ^ Blair, R., Deichert, J., and Bloom, H. (2005) [2005 Revised Omaha Economic Development Plan]. Omaha Economic Development Council.
  7. ^ "Jazz and All That", Omaha By Design. Retrieved 7/13/08.
  8. ^ (nd) Official Nebraska Government Website.