From the Archives: Where in Omaha II?

I was so thrilled with all the feedback I received through email, Facebook and Viewfinder that I thought a sequel to “Where in Omaha is this?” would be fun. I once scanned in a huge folder of Omaha scenes from our morgue (aka photo library) and have enough photos to produce more sequels than the “Friday the 13th” franchise. I even had one reader, a professional photographer, offer to go shoot “now” pictures.

Let’s start off with one that’s not really guessable, but interesting.

The cover of the special edition magazine “Omaha from the Air” in 1947.


This photo shot by the Omaha Bee-News in the early 1900s is somewhere downtown. I have no idea where!


Can you guess where the next two photos were taken?

1915 Bureau of Publicity - Omaha Commercial Club booklet

Hanscom Park’s open-air pavilion stands in the background as ice skaters stop to pose in this photo from the Bostwick-Frohardt Collection taken in the early 1900s. Fire eventually destroyed the pavilion.


I love the automobiles! This Omaha Bee-News photo from around 1930 is at 15th and Harney.


This 1943 World-Herald photo by John Savage is at 30th and Ames.


All that was written on the back of this undated World-Herald photo was “Douglas Street scene.” When I look at it, I think of “The Maltese Falcon” and Sam Spade: ”I hope they don’t hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I’m gonna send you over. The chances are you’ll get off with life. That means if you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years. I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.”


Two relics were brought to light when painters uncovered these murals in a shoe repair shop on the southeast corner of 13th Dodge streets. The painters, Alden Tinley and Frank Collins, found the ancient art beneath several coats of paint and moldy wallpaper. Although both paintings are of the “gladiator-Greek goddess” school of art now popular with circus side shows, these pictures are actual paintings and are not paper posters.
Look for more Where in Omaha in the future!
Jolene McHugh

About Jolene McHugh

I was a graphic artist prior to coming to the Omaha World-Herald in 2007, and now I’m a photo imaging specialist, which means I prepare photos to print properly in the newspaper. I also have the incredibly fun task of restoring old photographs from our massive library. My favorite part of my job is getting lost in the history and stories behind the photographs. Many of the archive photos have little or no information attached, so I need to properly date and identify the people and places in them. Researching the stories is a bit like being on a historical scavenger hunt. The largest challenge I face is restoring photos we run in our books. Our newest book, “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is filled with hundreds of old photographs, and most of them small and in poor condition. I live in Omaha with my husband, one of my daughters and three very furry Maine Coon cats.
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  1. B says:

    2nd picture from the top is Wholesale District, Omaha, Nebraska

    1. Jolene McHugh Jolene McHugh says:

      Thanks! The photos from the Omaha Bee-News have absolutely no information on the back, and we have no archive micro-fiche.

  2. Tiffany says:

    Great photos! Love The Maltese Falcon shot!

    1. Dan Sullivan Dan says:

      That’s the stuff dreams are made of!

  3. Kathy Joyce says:

    What a great feature! It is so fun to see the old pictures.

    1. Kathy says:

      Love it!

  4. Torsten Adair says:

    Perhaps your new owner could finance the scanning of the old Omaha newspapers into PDFs…

    Pauline Hall:

    Willa Cather wrote about her:
    “As You Like It”
    Nebraska State Journal, 11 November 1894, p. 13.

    “Mr. Robert Dow…the Gladiator” ???

    There were horse-drawn wagons in use in Omaha in 1930?!? Not much traffic on the streets if cars could park in the middle. Given the blur of the figure in the foreground, the shutter speed would be slow. The sepia tint also suggests an earlier time period than 1930.

    Thompson-Belden & Co.
    “In 1905, the company moved to its new building on the northwest corner of Sixteenth and Howard Streets, the present location of Montgomery Ward & Co.”
    (Check the city directory or phone book.)
    (The High School Register of 1914 lists them at “Sixteenth Street at Howard”).

    If this is the NW corner, then the view is to the west, and that strange intersection would be where St. Mary’s Avenue begins.

    That is a Burgess-Nash department store. The last known location was at the corner of 16th and Harney, and the building still stands (Downtown Foodmart). B-N went out of business in 1924. (There was a bit of scandal with Mr. Burgess c.1927.)

    On the Burgess-Nash department store, you can see a billboard for the nearby Orpheum. The photo can be dated from the advertisements, the businesses (use the city directories at OPL), what appears to be a marquee (…zora) or a cigar store, and the automobiles and horses.

    T. P. Cartwright & CO.
    N. E. Cor. 16th and Douglas
    (High School Register, 1900)
    [Currently a parking garage]

    The dentist on the second story, the jeweler to the left, and the carpet company in the background can all be dated via phone books and city directories.

    The tall building on the left might be listed in the WPA Guide, which would be the SE corner of 16th and Dodge.

    1. Jolene McHugh Jolene says:

      We do have the old pages of the World-Herald as pdf files. BUT not the old Omaha-Bee News. That was a different paper, not the Herald.
      Thanks for the info.

      1. Allana says:

        The Omaha Daily Bee and a number of other historic Nebraska newspapers have been digitized and are available online for free. The newspapers have been digitized as part of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers project. The list of Nebraska newspapers can be found at:

  5. Betty Plank Nisich says:

    Found your grand site today, looking for an old article in the Omaha Bee regarding Betty Plank loosing her leg in an accident about June 21, 1928. Its been 84 years, and I’ve lived to tell the great grandkids about it.