Look Up, Omaha! A Walking Tour of Omaha, Nebraska
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
“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. Especially those plagued by the regular flooding of the river.
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. When the nation was linked by rail in 1869 the town became synonymous with railroading back east. The Union Pacific finally built the first railroad bridge across the river three years later.