From the Archives: Where in Omaha III?

Ready for another tour through Omaha’s past?

You can see the first and second installments here:

Where in Omaha I?

Where in Omaha II?

Most of these are pretty easy to figure out.

The 1939 caption under this photo read, “Henfruit would seem to be a horticultural fact if this sign in front of Slater’s Egg Market at 5705 North Twenty-fourth street were taken literally. ‘Home Grown Eggs’ advertises the hand lettered sign in front.” EARLE BUNKER/THE WORLD-HERALD

This is the original Woodmen of the World Tower at 14th  and Farnam Streets. This 19-story building, shown here in 1951, was the tallest building between Chicago and the West Coast at the time of its dedication in 1912. The building was replaced in 1969 with the current Woodmen tower, which is 30 stories high. THE WORLD-HERALD

This photo ran in an Omaha history feature in The World-Herald in 1953. The caption read, “This is a view taken up Capitol Avenue from about 17th Street. The old Territorial Capitol building (which became Omaha High School) can be seen in the middle. It was estimated this picture was taken about 1900 or before.” THE WORLD-HERALD

Here’s a similar view just a couple of years later. This is a 1909 postcard that shows the addition of a horse trough.

Workers paint white stripes on the road after Dodge Street was widened. This Midtown photo of 35th and Dodge Streets was taken in 1948. THE WORLD-HERALD

Potholes have always been a problem in Omaha. In1949, The World-Herald ran this photo, taken at 50th and Seward Streets. The caption read, “The street survey party… on Country Club Avenue at Fiftieth and Seward Street found the avenue had been patched so much its surfacing is now ‘all patches.’ Left to right are J. Mitchell Garrison, Omaha Improvement Commission Manager; Edwin W. Woodbridge, City Engineer; William Green, Street Commissioner; William Campen, head of Omaha Testing Laboratories; Jim Parks, City Asphalt Foreman; and Lee Davis, Street Department Foreman.” THE WORLD-HERALD

This 1949 photo was taken a little south of Midtown at 49th Street and Curlew Lane (just a block north of Grover Street.) THE WORLD-HERALD

Here’s an easy one: A 1939 photo illustration of the plot of land residents of the Cedarnole district (and others west of Fairacres) were fighting to prevent construction of a trailer and cabin camp on. The plot is south of Dodge with 72nd Street shown just beyond it. THE WORLD-HERALD

Hugh Lee Jr. takes a picture of Streetcar No. 946 at 60th and Leavenworth Streets in Omaha in this 1942 photo submitted by Richard Orr of Omaha.

The “Races of the Century” on the Associated Retailers’ Street of Gold were pedal car and tricycle races for children 3 1/2 to 6 years old held on a 100 foot long block of gold on Douglas Street, according to the June 25, 1954, World-Herald. Richard Margritz, far right, was the first-place winner with his peddle dump truck. ROBERT PASKACH/THE WORLD-HERALD


Those were all pretty easy to figure out, but here’s a couple of stumpers. These photos both ran in The World-Herald on March 18, 1939. I searched our digital archives, but only two of the editions per day were digitized from microfiche. The back of the photos had only the publication date and description of “Omaha Scenes.”

A building? A sign?

I googled barrel shaped buildings and found many similar structures all over the country (and oddly, many in Michigan). There is one that is almost identical in Douglas, Mich., and another that is similar in Grand Marais, Mich. But if you look closely, the barrel hoops are placed in different locations on the buildings. The Grand Marais bulding has doors and windows as it was built as a pickle barrel cottage for cartoonist William Donahey, who plugged a pickle company’s products in his cartoons.


I would love to find out where these last two photos were from. Have fun searching. I did! I love roadside kitsch, and my searches came up with some great stuff. Yours will too!


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. MR says:

    This isn’t too old, but when I was a kid, every time I came down from Kearney with my GrandParents, we stayed at the Tower Inn (I think)… I believe it was on 74th and Dodge? Does anyone have a picture of this? It would be a great memory!

    1. Cecilia Houston says:

      The place you are referring to, was the New Tower Inn on 78th & Dodge St. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures, but my husband worked at the coffee shop there as a busboy early in highschool and we stayed there on our wedding night before heading out of town for our honeymoon. They also had “The Crystal Tree” Dining Room and the Leopard Lounge. Good Memories!

      1. Jolene McHugh Jolene McHugh says:

        “Too Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar” was filmed there.
        I am sure we have pictures in the hard copy library, but I did a quick search in the digital and came up with nothing quick to show you.
        I will come up with a blog of memory making places in the future.

      2. Rich Mills says:

        Marrakech restaurant on 33rd and Cass has some artwork salvaged from the Lazy Leopard Lounge. Great food, too. Check it out.

        1. Rich Mills says:

          And Jolene, I’d love to see old pictures of the 33rd and California business district — especially the California Beauty School, which was in operation from 1911 to 1952. Any in the archives?

  2. Dianna Eveland says:

    I remeber taking art lessons at the Woodmen of the World building as a kid. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Tom Stull says:

    We had dinner at the Prom Town House on our wedding night in 1970. Would love to see a picture, if you can find one.

  4. Carolyn Warne says:

    The barrel building was a 2 in 1 franchise for Hi Ho root beer and Dari O soft ice cream. It was pre-fab. I found a ad for it in the February 5, 1954 Omaha World Herald. It is on page 32 6th column of the want ads. The company was from Sioux Falls.

    1. Jolene McHugh Jolene McHugh says:

      THANK YOU so much. I never thought to search almost 20 years later in the want ads! I am sure we probably ran a feature on odd buildings in 1939 and that is where I was searching.

  5. Erin O'Brien says:

    What a great morning it has been to step into the past! And boy, how Dodge St. has changed.

  6. Bob Neve says:

    Awesome! I love these old pics!!! Got anything from 49th and Dodge or 49th and Cuming? Keep up the good work!
    Bob & Sheri

  7. william bradley says:

    Irecall a Fairmont branch in Scranton,pa. in 1930/s 1940s I worked in one of your Sally Anne stores summers in that city. Fun job, with good memories I hope You will reply to this 87 year old kid. Am pleased to learn that Fairmont Corp. is alive and well. Good old days long remembered. We could use some these days Sincerely, Bill Bradley