Shoppers crowd into the downtown Brandeis store in September 1980 for the start of the final closing sale. J.L. Braindeis and Sons had announced earlier that it would close stores in downtown Omaha and Lincoln and smaller stores in north Omaha and Columbus, Nebraska, by the end of 1980. The company planned to refurbish stores in Crossroads and Westroads Malls. 

Cowboy Dick Kinsler, 10, perches on the base of an old elm tree on July 2, 1946. The tree was in front of the Florence Bank and is believed to have been planted by the first cashier, J.D. Brisbin, when the bank opened in 1856. It was 6 feet at the base. It was ordered to be razed in 1946 because the city forester pronounced it dangerous. 

The City Auditorium Arena was packed with 10,604 fans thrilled by Elvis’ performance of his old hits “Jailhouse Rock” and “Teddy Bear,” sprinkled among gospel numbers on June 19, 1977. Adding to the excitement were nine TV cameras filming the concert for a planned fall special, “Elvis in Concert.” Auditorium manager Charlie Mancuso said that when CBS asked about doing the special, Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, told them that he wanted it done in Omaha. Elvis would perform his final concert a week later in Indianapolis. The CBS special aired several weeks after his death on Aug. 16, 1977. 

A car is submerged on 84th Street near Interstate 80 after 7 to 8 inches of rain fell on Omaha on June 16 and 17, 1964. The Army Corps of Engineers labeled it a “100-year storm,” meaning a storm that size has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. North of Dodge Street, more than 4,500 acres of farmland near the Big Papillion Creek was flooded. South of Dodge, the Big Papillion flooded 108 homes and 34 businesses. Seven people were killed in the Papillion Creek watershed, eventually leading the Corps to build reservoirs, including Cunningham, Wehrspann and Zorinsky Lakes. THE WORLD-HERALD

Jerry Shotkoski, 14, catches a glimpse of photographer Ed Rath just as he left the high diving platform at Hitchcock pool in August 1976. A sunny, 94-degree day helped inaugurate the pool at Hitchcock Park, 42nd and Q Streets, on June 8, 1970. The dedication of the 50-meter, Olympic-size pool was preceded by exhibitions of water ballet, diving from the pool’s 32-foot, tri-level platform, water polo and competition swimming. ED RATH/THE WORLD-HERALD

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Anybody who wanted a ride on this Omaha streetcar on May 18, 1947, was out of luck. The streetcar went all the way from downtown to Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum and back that Sunday without stopping for a passenger as Beta Sigma Phi, an international sorority of young businesswomen, capped off a two-day state convention. According to The World-Herald’s account of the event, there was a sherry party and a formal dance Saturday at the Paxton Hotel. On Sunday, delegates from Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Fremont, Fairbury and Grand Island crowded into the chartered streetcar at 14th and Harney Streets. They flung streamers around inside, tied balloons to the seats, tooted on paper horns, sang songs and danced in the aisle the whole trip. Marcy Gruidel, president of the Mu Chapter in Omaha, said, “I don’t know where we got the idea for a trolley ride but it seemed like a good one.” THE WORLD-HERALD

Douglas County’s biggest polio vaccination program began on May 2, 1955, with no difficulties as teams of doctors, nurses and PTA volunteers set up production lines at schools to vaccinate children. This one was at Dundee School, and that’s Dr. Lynn MacQuiddy administering the shots. According to The World-Herald’s account of the effort, some parents were reluctant to have their kids vaccinated because of reports that some children had developed polio after getting a vaccination. But Dr. J. Harry Murphy, a Creighton University Medical School professor and polio researcher, said those cases appeared to have been developing before the shots were given. “I have been advising my patients to go ahead with the shots,” he said. “I’ll stand behind that.” Other doctors also spoke in favor of having children vaccinated. And Dr. MacQuiddy gave a shot to his 8-year-old daughter, Mary, that day at Dundee School.

A lovely spring day in 1979 drew some 2,000 people to Omaha’s Elmwood Park, but the behavior of some visitors drew police. Officers were called to the park on Sunday, April 22, to investigate complaints of drinking and other illegal activities. According to The World-Herald’s account, officers arrested one person, ticketed seven more and impounded four cars. The city’s parks director, Arthur Bradley, described the scene that day at the park as a “jungle.” It was the third time that spring that officers were called to the park. Police started a special “park patrol” in response to the problems at Elmwood Park.

Cowboy movie star Tom Mix nearly caused a stampede when he came to Omaha on April 9, 1928, for an appearance at the Orpheum Theater. That’s Mix on the left being greeted by Mayor James Dahlman as he arrived for the judging of a cowboy costume and a roping contest. The World-Herald account of the event said more than 10,000 people gathered at the corner of 15th and Farnam Streets to see the star ride in on his horse, Tony. THE WORLD-HERALD

On March 29, 1943, the United States began rationing meat, fats and cheese as World War II raged on. Here, Omaha grocer Ray Wright displays the items subject to the new rules. According to the story accompanying the photo of Wright, the meat ration was about 2 pounds per person per week. The other allotments were measured in ounces: butter, 4½; lard, 4; margarine, 1½; cheese, 2; shortening, 3. The story also noted that under Great Britain’s rationing program, citizens received half the amount of meat as Americans but twice the amount of cheese. 

Easter Sunday ended tragically in Omaha in 1913. A powerful tornado swept through town that evening and killed 94 people. More than 3,000 buildings were damaged, and the property damage was estimated at $3.5 million. This photo is looking north on 24th Street from Erskine Street.

Some small turtles painted with the slogan “Omaha Zoo — 1953” were used in a March 1953 fundraiser. That’s painter Ben Braasch painting the slogan on a china turtle and a real turtle. Some china turtles and three real turtles were given as prizes by the Omaha Zoological Society at an event it held March 16 to begin a $15,000 fundraising drive. The society had been organized in 1952 to help improve the Riverview Park Zoo, and things worked out pretty well. Today, of course, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best.

“It’s great to be Irish every day, but it’s even better today.” Those were the words of 8-year-old George Ireland on March 17, 1970. That’s his sister, Kathleen, then 6, giving him a little help with his hat. At the time, the youngsters lived with their parents on South 16th Street in Omaha. And, by the way: They attended nearby St. Patrick School. 

A combination cafe, old-fashioned country store, garage, library and museum also served as the headquarters of the Pleasant Valley Cultural Society back in 1967. Here are a few of the members studying the key issues of the day facing Nebraska. Don’t confuse this Pleasant Valley with the one in Dodge County. These society members were gathered at their headquarters in Cedar County at the intersection of U.S. Highway 81 and Nebraska Highway 84. That’s about 20 miles south of Yankton, South Dakota. TOM ALLAN/THE WORLD-HERALD

Yeah, potholes are a pain these days, but in 1949, drivers in the parts of Omaha with dirt streets had to worry about getting stuck in the mud this time of year. This photo of Fort Street looking east from 11th Street was taken in early March. According to the story that ran with the photo, the roads were in bad shape after to a snowy winter, and the tons of cinders and rocks that the city had put down on the streets didn’t help much. One city official said it was as if the dirt roads had no bottom at all. 

The annual Girl Scouts cookie sale in Omaha was a little different back in 1949. The money raised from the cookie sale then was used to finance Camp Maha and day camps in the city parks. And the cookies were made here then. Watching the first batch being prepared at Merchants Biscuit Co. at 4301 N. 30th St. on Feb. 25, 1949, were Jackie Richardson, left, Theresa Sukovaty and Gayle Fried.

The President’s Birthday Ball at Omaha’s City Auditorium drew about 4,000 people on Jan. 30, 1939. The celebration was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s crusade against polio. Roosevelt contracted polio as an adult and was paralyzed from the waist down. The first ball was held in 1934 to raise funds for the nonprofit treatment center that Roosevelt had established in Warm Springs, Georgia. Proceeds from later events were split with local communities. The balls ended after his death in 1945, but the crusade continued through the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis he helped establish in 1938. It’s known today as the March of Dimes.

In January 1978, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Patrick Macey, front, said, “I spent five years on a tour of duty in Kodiak, Alaska, and I don’t remember more than a couple of days when it was as cold as this.” Macey was stationed in Omaha and worked with the crew of the cutter Gasconade. THE WORLD-HERALD

Camp attendees at Camp Brewster in 1917. Camp Brewster, the Young Women’s Christian Association camp, had recently opened on the former grounds of the South Omaha Country Club. In 1998, Fontenelle Forest purchased the 82-acre Camp Brewster from the Metro Omaha YWCA for $500,000. This land connects to the existing forest. According to World-Herald archives, at the time of purchase, Ken Finch, executive director of Fontenelle Forest, said Camp Brewster’s land was more open and gently sloping – easier-to-handle topography for preschoolers – than Fontenelle Forest’s. The forest’s plan was to use the additional property for its summer day camp and preschool program, the federally funded Early Childhood Outdoors Institute.

Back in prohibition days, liquor-dumping expeditions were everyday affairs. For the first time since the repeal, state agents dumped liquor at the east Omaha dump at 11th and Cottonwood in June 1938. It was seized in raids on places which had no authority to sell it. The liquor had been kept in a courthouse vault until cases involved were disposed of. 

A portion of the old Swift plant tumbles down amid a four-alarm fire on Sept. 29, 1971. About one-third of Omaha’s firefighting force was called to the scene. The blaze at 27th and Q Streets, one of at least four separate fires that night, was the latest in a series of deliberate incidents that had plagued Dore Wrecking Company as it demolished the buildings. The company had also had office windows shot out, equipment damaged and sand dumped in machinery. Because of threats, some workers had been carrying pistols for protection. “This is like the wild west,” said John Courtney, job foreman.

In February 1928, under the headline “Music getting hot,” The World-Herald announced that the newly organized firemen’s band was beginning rehearsals. Practice was held at 11th and Dodge Streets, which was an old firehouse, but at the time was being used as the National Guard Armory. John Otte, standing in the middle row at the far left, who was director of the Creighton University band and a member of the Omaha symphony orchestra, was tapped as bandmaster of the firemen’s group. Players in the band signed up for the group as a recreational activity. All members worked the same shift, so they could be free to practice together. The hope was that the group would be become proficient enough to give a benefit concert in six to eight months.