Ahhh, ’tis time for the wearing of the green, and nobody does that better than Nebraskans! There are some rivalries that almost surpass the old Nebraska-Oklahoma series.
One such is the rivalry between Wisner and O’Neill. Here’s a couple photos of victorious Wisner, Neb., residents in 1975.
Hibernians claimed O’Neill forfeited its rights by foregoing its traditional Irish celebration. The fact was driven home by this Sultzer-Chittenden Mortuaries float, which bore a sign that read, “We buried O’Neill today.”
This year, the women of the North Town Kraut Card Club “trumped the ace of John O’Gallagher, the annual harried official keeper of of Wisner’s ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ Blarney Stone.” In the past, men of the town had been the culprits, so the ladies went overboard with their float. It was a wagon, followed by a manure spreader carrying their obedient husbands, a casket and the missing Blarney Stone.
Politicians and parades go together, and Omaha’s downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade is no exception. These legislative leprechauns in 1979 are, front row from left, Dan Lynch, Sen. Tom Fitzgerald AND County Clerk Walt Spellman; back row from left, Mary Kay Green, Mary Cornett and Mike Boyle.
One of the things I love about Omaha is its community spirit. The neighborhoods have a small-town ambience and celebrate that feeling. Above is the Benson St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1994. Jessica Bedlion, 3, just loves Cara, the Irish Wolfhound who belonged to Joe and Cyndy Beck of Glenwood, Iowa.
OK, I get Irish wolfhounds, but a goat? Here is Nanny and her keeper, Mary Kay Knight, decked out in their Irish finest for the downtown Omaha parade in 1980.
What would St. Paddy’s be without corned beef and cabbage? Here is Al J. Baker, right, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Richard Huntzinger of Richie’s Restaurant as they cook up some for the annual banquet to be held at Peony Park in 1961.
Of course we can’t forget thE parties! In the photo above, Maureen O’Brien hangs a sign and balloons announcing the festivities at the Rodeway Inn in 1984. If you look closely in the lower left corner, you can see the poster for the band the County Corkers, featuring The World-Herald’s very own Jeff Koterba and Paul Hammel.
Parties begin early on St. Pat’s. A mid-morning dance is performed by, from left, Tom Herr, Mike Malone and Mrs. Jerry “Mother” Doyle at Fahey’s Pub to celebrate in 1978. Why the celebration? The blarney stone was back after being confiscated from Clancy’s Pub.
This story behind this 1950 photo is really interesting, especially to me as we are working on our next “At War, At Home” book, which features the Cold War. The caption was a bit misleading as it simply read “Corinne Murphy, Eugene Quinlan, Margaret Neary…Irish Smiles.” The story was titled “Communism is Atheism” and was about James F. Green, past commander of Omaha Post No. 1 of the American Legion, addressing the 29th annual St. Patrick’s Day Banquet and Ball.
The headline and caption of this 1980 photo: “It’s like a Green Boomerang. Michael McCarville and friends have done it again. For the past three years, McCarville has been the chief artist during the painting of a shamrock in front of the Marlyebone Tavern, 3710 Leavenworth.”
Who could resist celebrating with names like these two? George and Kathleen Ireland don their green in 1970.
You may have noticed these photos were not as clean as most of the photos in my blog. These were scanned in “as is.” The outlines and shading painted on were necessary to accommodate the printing process used back then.
To see more photos of folks enjoying a wee bit of fun, visit this photo showcase at Omaha.com.
Erin Go Braugh!