Sporting District, Omaha

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The Sporting District was an area near 16th and Harney Streets in Omaha, Nebraska where city boss Tom Dennison kept the majority of his gambling, drinking and prostitution interests from the late 19th century until the end of his reign in 1933.[1] "Cowboy" James Dahlman was reputedly voted to the first of eight terms as mayor of Omaha because he was more tolerant of the Dennison's "Sporting District" in the middle of the city.[2]


There were a variety of venues inside the district. They included the Gayety Theatre, located at 1514 Harney Street, which was a notorious burlesque house that civic organizations protested. The theatre was open from 1906 to 1928.[3] Tom Dennison kept his primary office at the Budweiser Saloon in the Sporting District at 1409 Douglas Street, the site of the current Union Pacific Center.[4]

Anna Wilson ran a 25-room brothel in a mansion at 915 Douglas Street during this period, along with Dan Allen's gambling house, saloon and pawn shop. Another establishment in the Sporting District was the Diamond Gambling House located at 1312 Douglas Street. The "Big Four" Omaha gamblers of 1887, Charles Bibbins, H.B. Kennedy, Charles White and Jack Morrison operated the facility until 1893, when it was closed by the City.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Menard, O.D. (1989) Political Bossism in Mid America: Tom Dennison's Omaha, 1900–1933. University Press of America. p. 107.
  2. ^ Wolff, H. (2007). "Cowboy Jim rode out of Texas to find fame in Nebraska." Victoria Advocate (Texas). 4/20/07.
  3. ^ (nd) Theatre. Nebraska Memories. Retrieved 3/27/15.
  4. ^ Larsen, L. and Cottrell, B. (1997) The Gate City: A History of Omaha. University of Nebraska Press. p. 180
  5. ^ Federal Writers' Project Staff (1939) Nebraska: A guide to the Cornhusker state. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Nebraska. p. 234

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