Tornadoes tore through Council Bluffs shortly after 4 p.m., with the storm bringing 15 minutes of fury to a surprised city.
The three-story, 33-room structure on the Omaha Indian Reservation was named as one of the nation's 11 most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Two more now are scheduled for August and September.
Depending on your perspective, Carter Lake is either a feisty little Lichtenstein squeezed between Nebraska and Iowa or a gallstone in Omaha’s gut. Either way, the town deserves respect for having survived its history of geographic and political whiplash.
After his experience as an infantryman in World War I, Jim Baldwin decided to keep his distance from civilization. Around 1920, he retreated to the wooded hills next to Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue.
The Cuban missile crisis in 1962 jangled the nerves of Americans everywhere. Knowing that President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev each had a finger on the nuclear trigger scared people into action.
History from Nebraska and western Iowa captured through the lenses of World-Herald photographers.
Newspaper ads announced the availability of these children, who were "of special promise in intelligence and health, " according to an 1893 ad in the Tecumseh Chieftain, "and are sent free to those receiving them, on 90 days trial."
For 75 years, Peony Park near 78th and Cass Streets was the place for Omahans to swim and have fun. The park closed after falling attendance and lagging business. Its rides were auctioned off on April 16, 1994. The area is now home to a grocery store and neighborhood.
Editor's note: This piece originally was published on Jan. 3, 2010, as part of David Harding's "Everyday History" column in The World-Herald.
The 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion, built in 1903 by George and Sarah Joslyn, includes a reception hall, music room, ballroom and library. Today the castle hosts more than 40 weddings a year, plus murder-mystery parties, literary readings, scotch tastings, anniversary parties, concerts, l…
More than a dozen other Omaha Public Schools students are researching black musicians who contributed to the city’s vibrant music scene from the 1940s to the 1960s but aren’t necessarily household names.
For decades the official history of Omaha's Westside High School said it was named after "West Side Story," the popular musical. Turns out the origins of the school's name are far less interesting.
For decades, Omaha figuratively turned its back to the riverfront, and why not? It was gritty and not very pretty, an industrial zone with railroad repair yards and a polluting lead-smelting plant.
History from Nebraska and western Iowa captured through the lenses of World-Herald photographers.
The debate over legislating firearms was as divisive then as it is now. And it played out in much the same way.
According to local legend, the church was blown off its foundation by a tornado in 1888. Then, before repairs could be made, a strong wind blew the 50-by-100-foot church back in place.
This is a tale of two Nick Petrows. The first one came to America from his native Greece in 1895.
Sandoz lived at the boardinghouse from 1925 to 1937, and began work there on her most famous novel, “Old Jules.”
KFAB brought the news to our house on Miami Street early that morning: Robert F. Kennedy had been shot while campaigning in California.
The throwback tour from Cheyenne to Omaha illustrates the fading luxury of presidential candidates taking time to meet people in the present era of rapid-fire social media campaigns.
The Greater America Exposition of 1899 would follow up the phenomenally successful 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition and offer visitors their first glimpse of the people and lifestyles in the territories recently acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War. It seemed like a great idea at the time.
Imagine a time when you couldn't follow a Husker football game or know its outcome until the next day's newspaper landed on your doorstep. For diehard fans in the 21st century, that would be torture. In the first quarter of the previous century, it was the name of the game.
This is not the sort of story you would wish on your ancestors. But at the same time, John Braden wanted to know if it belonged in his family history.
A schism formed in the Polish-speaking St. Paul’s Catholic Church at 29th and Elm Streets concerning who should own and operate the church.
Omaha was a territorial capital wallowing in streets of mud, stewing in political intrigue and echoing with whistles of riverboats and railroad locomotives when Nebraska steamed toward statehood in early 1867.
Dynamite Pete is a fading memory in and around Louisville, but his legend lives on in the yellowed newspapers and archives of the town library, and every so often in a fuzzy bar tale told by an old-timer.
For more coverage on the Henry Doorly Zoo, visit Omaha.com/zoo.
On May 25, 1972, as the world watched, the Bluffs Butcher challenged Smokin' Joe Frazier in Omaha for the heavyweight belt and the chance to be king of the ring.
Jack Kawa had heard passing remarks about his father’s involvement in the liquor trade during Prohibition in the 1920s. It was a fun family fact, but he never gave it a second thought.
At the turn of the 20th century, automobiles with eager drivers began to venture out on Nebraska's roads. By 1905, roughly 500 cars could be found in the entire state.
Paul Lewis designed a car called the Fascination in the late 1960s and turned an old Army munitions bunker west of Sidney, Nebraska, into his production plant a few years later.
Omaha's older neighborhoods are full of street names that honor the town's early settlers. So why is Abbott Drive — the entryway to downtown from Eppley Airfield — named after a man who lived 400 miles from the area?
Across the river, William D. Brown spotted a single tree holding the bank. Above it lay a lush plateau laced with ravines and backed by hills affording a nice view of the valley. Brown wasn't alone in thinking that this land opposite Council Bluffs would make a great town site.
As a powerful tornado made its way through the metro area, the early warning provided by storm spotters and the gutsy tornado tracking of Police Officer David Campbell helped keep the death toll to three.
Since Omaha's earliest days, six steep hills near present-day 20th Street vexed residents. City leaders knew that if the hills weren't conquered, there would be no development directly west of downtown.
After 140 years, the Nebraska State Historical Society is dusting itself off with a new name, a new brand and a 21st-century emphasis on digital access.
In the weeks leading up to Nebraska's May 1968 primary election, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy crisscrossed the state multiple times, speaking to crowds of thousands that jammed roads and parks to hear him.
The battle to save Jobbers Canyon, a six-block collection of warehouses mostly built in the early 20th century, was a hard-fought one. And not unfamiliar to Omaha. This April marks 30 years since the historic district's demolition began.
Those involved with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's Nebraska whistle-stop tour have kept a variety of memorabilia from the 1968 trip.
On April 27, 1968, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy took a train across Nebraska to promote his presidential campaign.
More than 20 historic buildings were demolished in 1988 and 1989 to make way for the ConAgra campus.
It is the first time the Country School Association of America is holding its national conference in Nebraska. The theme of the 18th annual event is “Free People, Free Land, Free Schools.”
One official called it “the biggest thing that Omaha has done since the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in 1898.” Gliders, smoke aerobatics, something called “Lady in the Air,” and a 2-mile free fall by a parachutist kept folks looking up for hours.
The Omaha tornado — now categorized by the National Weather Service as an F4 storm with 166- to 200-mph winds — was part of the most catastrophic outbreak of tornadoes in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa history.
March 23 is the anniversary of the 1913 Easter tornado that hit Omaha, from which the death toll varies from about 100 to 150.
Released by RKO in 1948, “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” starred Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The studio knew it had a hit on its hands with this romantic comedy, and the promotional campaign was a bigger deal than the movie itself.
For Chris Carter and Doug Lewis, members of the Omaha Masonic lodge named in George Lininger's honor, the Bible’s discovery feels like a gift from their old friend.
The riot’s 50th anniversary bears marking while those who remember the events firsthand can give voice to a history they find relevant to the still-existing racial conflicts of today.
A day of events will commemorate both the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force and the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.
The hospital that was founded in Walthill in 1913, eventually known as the Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Memorial Hospital, has slowly deteriorated over the years and is rarely used now, except for an occasional school tour.
By the end of February 1948, grain was on its way to Austria, Germany, Poland, Japan and other nations that had suffered during the war.
The snowstorm that hit Oct. 25-26, 1997, would take the lives of five people, sever power to nearly 300,000 homes and businesses in Nebraska and Iowa, and cost more than $50 million to clean up.
Only $85,000 has been raised of the $200,000 it is estimated the entire restoration will cost, especially given the museum’s wish that the finished airplane be a walk-through exhibit with its critical components protected by glass windows.
The club’s appeal extends beyond agriculture majors. A couple of future engineers and a few studying the health sciences round out its numbers.
Patrick D. Jones, an associate professor of history and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will tell the story of the Omaha bus boycott and other moments in the city’s civil rights history during a lecture Thursday at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln.
On Saturday, the Durham Museum unveiled “Women in Omaha: A Biographical Sketch Through History,” a new exhibit that shares the diverse experiences of 12 Nebraska women through time. The exhibit will remain open through July 29.
Karen Johns, a retired elementary kindergarten teacher from the Omaha Public Schools with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education, grasped the importance of black history in the lives of African-Americans at a very young age.
As a kid, Jim Schwertley was small, scrawny and funny-looking. At age 16, he discovered weightlifting, a virtually unknown exercise technique at the time he took it up in 1945.
Raging winds and blinding snow plunged the region into a nightmare on Jan. 12, 1888. Historians rank it as among the most severe blizzards to hit Nebraska. And none is more anchored in Nebraska lore.
The Great Plains Black History Museum is presenting three new exhibits to kick off 2018, including focusing on early black settlers in Nebraska.
The Omaha Planning Board voted 6-1 to recommend that the Omaha City Council approve their request for local landmark status for the building.
An eager crowd gathered on Omaha's riverfront in 1863 to witness the groundbreaking for America's transcontinental railroad. Ceremonial shovels pierced the dirt, and a man dressed in a dapper suit and lavender gloves stepped forward to inspire the crowd with visions of future greatness.
The collection celebrates the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of Boys Town. On Dec. 12, 1917, Flanagan began his legendary children’s home with five boys in the rundown Byron Reed Mansion at 25th and Dodge Streets.
When car No. 1011 rolled to a stop on March 5, 1955, it marked the end of the line for the Omaha streetcar system – a system that once had ranked among the nation's largest.
In 1923, Omaha made national headlines by swearing in almost 200 boys to serve as a special Halloween police force on Oct. 30 and 31. They were told to patrol the streets in search of wrongdoing, get the names of offenders and take them to one of two dozen supervising officers.
On Sept. 6, 1938, more than 15,000 people packed Omaha’s Union Station to watch the arrival of Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, here for the premiere of their movie “Boys Town.” Now, almost 80 years later, the Durham Museum, housed in the former train station, is commemorating the premiere as part of its new exhibit “Let’s Go to Town for Boys Town: 100 Years of Saving Children, Healing Families,” which traces the history of Father Edward Flanagan’s famous children’s home.
This month the museum will open in new space on the first floor of north Omaha’s historic Jewell Building, 2221 N. 24th St. A celebratory open house is scheduled for later this week.
Friday the 13th. Bad luck day. The ultimate harbinger of ill fortune. Bad luck? Not to Judy Brodersen of Denison, Iowa. Not to Alice Mary Buchanan of Omaha.
Omaha's Union Station's current structure opened in 1931 on 10th Street south of downtown and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The station was designed by Los Angeles architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, then the Union Pacific Railroad’s corporate architect, and renowned des…
About 40 people boarded a chartered bus for the eighth Tombstone Tour. With plastic wine glasses in hand, the guests made stops at Prospect Hill Cemetery, Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Park and Potter’s Field.
“We’re at a point in our country today, in a very dark place that’s not unlike where we were in Vietnam,” he said. “Many similarities. In fact, I think it’s worse today in many ways.”
Many of the exhibits haven’t been updated in decades, some lack information, and others need a little sprucing up.
Salvatore “Sam” Sambasile died last week, ending a life that will be remembered by many of us fascinated by what Sam did say, and what he didn’t.
By December 1914, Louise Storz had been living in seclusion in Missouri for weeks. A month earlier, her ex-husband, Carl Hans Lody, had been killed by firing squad in the Tower of London for spying on the British navy for the Germans. As the hostilities of World War I dominated headlines in Europe, his public trial had become an international media sensation.
Over a two-day period in August 1999, torrents of rain drenched the Omaha area, killing one person, flooding streets and basements, damaging thousands of homes and knocking out power.
Kent McCloughan, the Broken Bow, Nebraska, boy who played cornerback for the Raiders in the 1960s, recalls how odd it was. “I can remember people saying ‘What the hell are we doing here?’ ” said McCloughan, now 74.
Union Pacific discontinued passenger service in 1971, but it occasionally conducts rides on its historical heritage fleet to benefit the museum. The last such ride was in 2010. The trips have been the museum’s largest fundraising effort, a spokeswoman said.
He was a 12-year-old boy on summer vacation. So, like any kid would, Dennis Riesselman groaned when his mother woke him at the crack of dawn on June 30, 1954, in Butte, Nebraska.
About 30 members of the Professional Surveyors Association of Nebraska discovered two monuments in central Nebraska that were buried in 1893.
The three-day event started Friday and ends Sunday at Ash Hollow State Historical Park and in nearby Lewellen. It features the shared histories of American Indians, settlers, cowboys, fur traders, Overland Trail emigrants and soldiers told through living history demonstrations, trail and wagon rides, music, food and other activities.
Vintage Union Pacific Railroad streamliner and diesel locomotives pulling heritage cars will cross the state over three days. The tour starts in Omaha and stops for rallies in Columbus, North Platte, Ogallala, Sidney, Gering, Kearney and Grand Island.
Say what they will about Nebraska, and throughout its 150-year history a lot of people have tried, one thing is clear: Nebraska — its vastness, its weather, the shape of its land — has made an impression.
The 1945 Allis-Chalmers Model C was recovered from the wilderness of western interior Alaska in mid-June as part of a National Park Service project financed by the Friends of Homestead National Monument. It came from the homestead about 250 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska, claimed by Ken Deardorff.
Next month, passengers will once again have the chance to ride the rails on a U.P. train.
Tourists come to see the “oldest tavern in the state.” But for the town’s residents, it’s Glur’s local ownership through the years that stands out, making it a place they’ve always been able to rely on for a cheap burger and a cold beer.
St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in downtown Omaha turns 150 in 2018. Over the years the church has seen a lot, including the lowering of Dodge Street in the early 20th century, renovations in the late 1990s and the long-awaited addition of a steeple in 2007.
The houses and surrounding buildings are giving way to a $1.2 billion entertainment, residential and retail district, currently being developed by Noddle Cos. Some pieces of the other structures will be incorporated into the new development. But the homes are to be cleared.
The tractor used by the last person to receive free land under the federal Homestead Act of 1862 was recovered from the wilderness of western interior Alaska last week for eventual permanent display at Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Nebraska.
This 142-year-old company is, as one employee said, “known worldwide but not locally.” Its boots have gone farther and faster than most soles would dare to dream.
The Gentry log home — more than 125 years old — held up well as it was moved Wednesday to its new home at the Legacy of the Plains museum in Gering.