Architecture in Omaha, Nebraska

Architecture in Omaha, Nebraska represents a range of cultural influences and social changes occurring from the late 19th century to present.


The area comprising modern-day North Omaha is home to a variety of important examples of popular turn-of-the-20th-century architecture, ranging from Thomas Rogers Kimball's Spanish Renaissance Revival-style St. Cecilia Cathedral at 701 N. 40th Street to the Prairie School style of St. John's A.M.E. Church designed by Frederick Stott at 2402 N. 22nd Street.[1] A young African American architect under Kimball's guidance was Clarence W. Wigington, who designed the Broomfield Rowhouse and Zion Baptist Church. Wigington moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where he became the city's senior municipal architect. In that capacity he designed hundreds of important civic buildings throughout that city, leaving an indelible mark on architecture across the Midwestern United States. The firm of Mendelssohn, Fisher and Lawrie was very influential in early Omaha, designing dozens of significant buildings throughout the city.

Notable figures in the history of Omaha architecture include John Latenser, Sr., a Liechtenstein-born immigrant; Byron Reed and A.J. Poppleton, early real estate moguls in the city; and Thomas Rogers Kimball and his student Clarence W. Wigington. Other early architects in the city included Charles F. Beindorf, who designed the old City Hall; Frederick W. Clarke, who designed Vinton School; and Jacob Nachtigall;

Public works

Notable public architecture in Omaha
Name Location Notes
Fort Omaha Historic District Italianate-style
Prettiest Mile in Omaha Boulevard Later renamed Florence Boulevard
Kountze Park Site of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, all the buildings here were designed in Grecian and Roman Revival styles and were demolished soon after the event.
Technical High School Tech was the largest school west of Chicago when it was built.
North High School

Commercial enterprises

Notable commercial architecture in Omaha
Name Location Notes
Bank of Florence 8502 N. 30th Street A Greek Revival-style building built between 1850 and 1874.[2]
Jewell Building 2221-2225 N. 24th Street A Georgian Revival-style commercial building built between 1900 and 1949.[3]
Webster Telephone Exchange Building 2213 Lake Street A Jacobethan Revival style commercial building built in 1907.[4]
Omaha Star building A 1923 Commercial style building housing the Omaha Star since 1938.

Private residences

Notable residential architecture in Omaha
Name Location Notes
Dr. Samuel Mercer House 3920 Cuming Street A Queen Anne Style house built between 1875 and 1924.
George H. Kelly House 1924 Binney Street A Classical Revival house built between 1900 and 1924.[5]
Havens-Page House 101 N. 39th Street A house built between 1900 and 1924 in the styles of the late 19th and 20th Century Revivals. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Strehlow Terrace 2024 and 2107 N. Sixteenth Street An apartment complex built in mixed Bungalow, American Craftsman, Classical Revival, and Prairie School styles between 1900 and 1924.
Keirle House 3017 Mormon Street A classic box style house built in 1905.[6]
Harry Buford House 1804 North 30th Street Built in 1929 in the Period Revival-Style.[7]
John P. Bay House 2024 Binney Street Built in 1887 in the Queen Anne-style.[8]
Joseph Garneau Jr./Thomas Kilpatrick House 3100 Chicago Street Built in 1890 in the Romanesque Revival style.[9]
Melrose Apartments 602 North 33rd Street Built in 1916.
Saunders School 415 North 41st Avenue Built in 1899 in the Neoclassical Revival-style.[10]
George F. Shepard House 1802 Wirt Street A Queen Anne Style/Beaux Arts-style built in 1903.[11]
Sherman Apartments 2501 North 16th Street A Neoclassical Revival-style apartment building built in 1897 located at .[12]
Charles Storz House 1901 Wirt Street An Arts and Crafts-style home built in 1909.[13]
Broomfield Rowhouse 2502-2504 Lake Street Designed by master architect Clarence Wigington in 1913 from Wigington's 1909 Good Housekeeping award-winning blueprints.

Religious institutions

There are several notable Christian churches in North Omaha. They include Calvin Memorial Presbyterian Church, located at 3105 North 24th Street. Formerly known at North Presbyterian Church, the City of Omaha reports, "Calvin Memorial Presbyterian Church is architecturally significant to Omaha as a fine example of the Neo-Classical Revival Style of architecture, taking formal inspiration from several buildings of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition that had been held nearby." [14]

Holy Family Church was built at the intersections of 18th and Izard Streets in 1883 for North Omaha's Irish immigrants. Over the years it served Czech and Italian immigrants, and today is targeted at the city's African American Catholics. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with St. John's African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Formed in 1880, St. John's was built in 1921 in the Prairie style. An auditorium extension was added to the building in 1947, and auxiliary rooms were finished in 1956. Designed by Omaha architect Frederick S. Stott, the building reflects a progressive attitude on the part of this black congregation at a time when traditional values in religious architecture were prevalent.[15][16]

Notable architects

Notable historical architects in Omaha
Name Years active Notes
Thomas Rogers Kimball 1906 to 1936 Designed the St. Cecelia's Cathedral, Burlington Headquarters Building, Burlington Train Station, Hotel Fontenelle, Mary Rogers Kimball House , Monmouth Park School, and Nash Block
Clarence W. Wigington 1898 to 1915 in Omaha Designed the Broomfield Rowhouse, Zion Baptist Church and others
Mendelssohn, Fisher and Lawrie 1887 to 1931 Later known as Fisher and Lawrie. Notable designs include Broatch Building, Mason School, Minne Lusa Pumping Station, and Hicks Terrace
John Latenser 1887 to 1931 Later known as Latenser and Sons. Notable designs include Omaha Central High School, Douglas County Courthouse and J. L. Brandeis and Sons Store
John McDonald 1887 to 1950 Joined with son Alan McDonald until 1947. Notable designs include Joslyn Art Museum, Faidley Building (demolished), Joslyn Castle, Beth El Synagogue, Bradford-Pettis House, and Hill Hotel

Notable former structures

Former notable locations in Omaha
Name Location Notes
Bee Building 17th and Farnam Built in 1888 and demolished in 1966, along with the Old City Hall.
Minne Lusa Pumping Station Located at the Florence Waterworks Completed in 1889, this building was demolished in 1970.
Gerald R. Ford birthsite 3202 Woolworth Avenue Ford was born in 1913 and his mother relocated with him to another state soon after. The house was demolished in 1971.
Hotel Fontenelle 1806 Douglas Street Designed by Thomas Rogers Kimball and built in 1914, it was demolished in 1983.
Indian Hills Theater 78th and Dodge Streets Built in 1962, this was the largest and last Super-Cinerama in the U.S.
Jefferson Square Bounded by 15th, 16th, Farnam and Douglas Streets Dedicated November 25, 1865, it was razed by the city March 18, 1969. The first park in Omaha, it was also the location of the first school and hot air balloon in Omaha.
Jobbers Canyon Bound by Farnam Street, South Eighth Street, Jackson Street, and South Tenth Street. Built up from the 1860s, the entirety of the area was demolished in 1989.
Krug Park 2936 North 52nd Street Originally opened in 1895, the amusement park was bought by Frederick Krug in 1902 and became the site of the nation's worst roller coaster accident in 1930. It was redeveloped as a traditional public park in 1955.
Malcolm X birthplace 3448 Pinkney Street Malcolm Little was born in 1925, and his family moved away soon after. The house was demolished in 1965 before the owners knew about its connection to his life.
Old Post Office 16th and Dodge Streets Built in 1898, the building was demolished in 1966.
Old City Hall 18th and Farnam Streets. Completed in 1890, the building was demolished 1966.
Peony Park 78th and Cass Streets This amusement park was opened in 1920 and demolished in 1996.

See also


  1. "ArchiPlanet.Org". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  2. (n.d.) Bank of Florence City of Omaha Landmarks
  3. (n.d.) Jewell Building Archived March 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Landmarks
  4. (n.d.) Webster Telephone Exchange Building City of Omaha Landmarks
  5. (n.d.) Kelly House Archived October 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Landmarks
  6. (n.d.) Keirle House Archived December 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Landmarks.
  7. (n.d.) Buford House City of Omaha Landmarks
  8. (n.d.) Bay House City of Omaha Landmarks
  9. (n.d.) Kilpatrick House Archived October 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Landmarks
  10. (n.d.) Saunders School City of Omaha Landmarks
  11. (n.d.) Shepard House Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Landmarks
  12. (n.d.) Sherman Apartments Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Landmarks
  13. (n.d.) Storz House Archived August 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine City of House Landmarks.
  14. (n.d.)Calvin Memorial Presbyterian Church Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine City of Omaha Designated Landmarks website.
  15. (n.d.) National Historic Register locations
  16. Historic picture of St. John's AME Church Omaha Historical Society website.

Further reading

  • Gerber, K. and Spencer, J.S. (2003) Building for the Ages: Omaha's architectural landmarks. Landmarks, Inc.
  • Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission. (1984) Patterns on the Landscape, Heritage Conservation in North Omaha. City of Omaha Planning Department.
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