Look Up, Omaha! A Walking Tour of Omaha, Nebraska
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Omaha, Nebraska is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
"Thanks for coming, don't let the buffalo skins hit you on the behind on your way out. And to remember you, we'll name the place after you." It took 26 separate treaties before the United States government was able to displace the Omaha Indians and their fellow tribes from this land. All the while eager settlers across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs were eyeing choice lots - and sometimes prematurely staking illegal claims - in the rolling hills on the west bank.
Finally in 1854 Logan Fontenelle, a chief of the Omaha Tribe, wrapped up the negotiations to cede the land in Indian Territory that would become Nebraska Territory. The town of Omaha was platted immediately and designated the territorial capital. In 1863 Council Bluffs was designated the eastern terminus for the coming Transcontinental River but since the Lone Tree Ferry was still the only way to cross the Missouri River at the time the Union Pacific Railroad began building in Omaha; it did not bridge the river until 1872, three years after the link-up with the Central Pacific Railroad.
The building of the railroads made the loss of the capital to Lincoln with the coming of Nebraska statehood a mere speed bump in the town's development. A population of 16,000 in 1870 became 140,000 in 1890. The first meat-packing plant opened in the 1870s and in 1883 the Union Stockyards formed that made Omaha America's third largest livestock market. Nationwide financial turmoil, grasshoppers and drought all tested the town in the 1890s but Omaha was firmly established as the dominant industrial city of the upper Great Plains.
In 1898 Omaha formally announced its emergence from a dusty frontier town by hosting a world's fair named the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. During its four-month run over 2.6 million people, including President William McKinley, arrived in Omaha to marvel at 4,062 exhibits. A century later Omaha had successfully executed the tricky transition from industrial hub to a diversified economy with several Fortune 500 companies headquartered in town.
Omaha has never been shy about swinging the wrecking ball downtown. Buildings from the 19th century are as rare today as the great steam locomotives that once chugged into incomparable Union Station at the rate of 64 train a day. In 1989 an aggressive urban renewal project demolished all 24 buildings in an old industrial and warehouse area known as the Jobbers Canyon Historic District. It was the biggest loss of a National Register historic district ever executed in the United States. The destruction rallied preservationists and there remain historical frocks in modern Omaha's architectural closet. To poke around, our walking tour of downtown will begin on Farnam Street, the original main street in Omaha named after Henry Farnam of the Rock Island Railroad. And we will start with at 16th Street where a brick intersection designed in the form of a compass symbolizes the great railroad crossroads of the Great Plains...
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