Street Names

ABBOTT DR.

Chris J. Abbott was a supporter of improving the roadway to Eppley Air Field. The goal was to replace an eyesore entryway to Omaha with an attractive and modernized main corridor between the Air Field and downtown Omaha.  Its unofficial name is “String of Pearls,” for the beauty of its illumination.


AMES AVE.

Oakes Ames was a heavy investor in the Union Pacific Railroad and a Congressman from Massachusetts. His involvement with the U.P., the Credit Mobilier, and contracting led to a congressional censure in 1873. He died ten weeks later. At the highest point of the railroad, Sherman, Wyoming, a large granite monument was built in his memory.


ARBOR ST.

Arbor Street was named for the family vineyard by the daughter of Issac Hascal, a pioneer lawyer and politician.


ARCADIA AVE.

Arcadia is a region in Peloponnesus in Greece, north of Messenia and east of Olympia. King Arcas, the son of Zeus, was made immortal and placed among the constellations as Bear Watchers.

BANCROFT ST.

George Bancroft, historian, statesman, and Secretary of the Navy in the cabinet of James Polk, is best known for his ten volume History of the United States.


BARKER AVE.

Joseph Barker was a minister who came to the United States from England in 1851. He came to Omaha in 1856. Active in real estate and banking, his sons, Joseph Jr., and George, built the Barker Block and the Barker Building. The Douglas County Historical Society has published two volumes of letters, titled Their Man in Omaha, which Joseph Jr. wrote to family members in England between 1868 and 1876. The street may possibly be named for his brother George.


BAUMAN ST.

Otto Bauman worked in a bank, engaged in real estate, and was once a hotel proprietor. He was a Deputy County treasurer from 1923 to 1943. During those years the County Court House was a Democratic Party stronghold, and Bauman never lost an election for the office. He was a delegate to the 1928 and 1932 Democratic Party National Conventions.


BEDFORD AVE.

Jefferson W. Bedford was a city councilman, county commissioner, state senator and mayoral candidate. Bedford chaired the construction of the Douglas County Court House in 1912 and laid the cornerstone for the building. He owned the land that was subdivided and later formed Bedford Avenue.


BLAINE ST.

James G. Blaine of Maine was a Congressman, Senator, and Secretary of State in the cabinets of James Garfield, Chester Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison.


BLONDO ST.

Perhaps named for Maurice Blondeaux, a nineteenth century French fur trader.


ROSE BLUMKIN DR.

An impoverished child native of Russia, Rose Blumkin founded the Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1937 and built it into the nation’s largest furniture and carpet store. Her motto was “sell cheap, tell the truth, and don’t cheat nobody.” Small in stature, she started her furniture store with $500 she borrowed from her brother and became a business giant. She died at age 104.


BOB BOOZER DR.

Robert “Bob” Boozer was a basketball star at Technical High School who helped the U.S. Olympic team win a gold medal in Rome in 1960. Boozer was an NBA All-Star who enjoyed success with the Chicago Bulls, Seattle SuperSonics and Milwaukee Bucks. Following his playing days, he became a business executive with Northwestern Bell Telephone.


BOYD ST.

Ireland-born James E. Boyd, came to Omaha as a carpenter, but became a leading businessman, politician and patron of the arts. He was an organizer and president of the Omaha and Northwestern Railroad and the Central National Bank. Politically, he was a member of the state constitutional conventions, was twice mayor of Omaha in the 1880s, and was elected governor of Nebraska in 1890. His election as governor was contested on the grounds he was not a citizen, and it took a U.S. Supreme Court decision to resolve the issue in his favor. (Boyd vs. Thayer.) He built two opera houses in Omaha to enrich its cultural life.


BROWN ST.

Born in Alabama in 1915, Mildred Brown was a civil rights activist and founder of the Omaha Star newspaper, the only African-American paper currently published in Nebraska. She championed the African-American community in Omaha and challenged racial discrimination. By means of scholarships she provided, pressing for employment opportunities, and advocating a positive approach for her community, she earned widespread admiration and countless awards. President Lyndon Johnson appointed her a Goodwill Ambassador to East Germany, and she was inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame, the Omaha Press Club Hall of Fame and in 2007 posthumously to the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame.


BURDETTE ST.

Robert Burdette, 1880s preacher and lecturer, wrote that “There are two days of the week which I never worry about: one is yesterday and the other is tomorrow.”


BURT ST.

Newly appointed first territorial governor of Nebraska, Francis Burt arrived in Bellevue, Nebraska, on October 6, 1854. He died a few days later on October 18, 1854, only forty-five years old. See Cuming Street.

CALDWELL ST.

Smith Samuel Caldwell arrived in Omaha in 1859, going on to become a leading figure in Omaha’s financial affairs. He created a firm that later merged with the United States National Bank, was an incorporator and president of the Southwestern Railroad Company, a participant in the building of the Grand Central Hotel, and a founding member of Omaha’s Circulating Library. He served as mayor in 1871.


CALIFORNIA ST.

California Street is said to have been so named because gold seekers, on their way to California, landed near the foot of this street upon crossing the Missouri River.


CALHOUN ST.

National figure John C. Calhoun served as Vice President under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He also served as a Congressman, U.S. Senator, Secretary of War and Secretary of State. Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, is named in his honor.


CAPITOL AVE.

The main approach to the old territorial capitol was a road leading from the Missouri River to the Capitol building at the top of a hill – thus the name “Capitol Avenue”.


CARTER ST.

O.M. Carter was a president of the American Loan & Trust Co. and vice president of the Nebraska Central Railroad Company. Some sources claim the street was named for Levi Carter, founder of Carter White Lead Company, for whom Carter Lake is named.


CASS ST.

General Lewis Cass of Michigan was a politician, statesman, and military officer. For eighteen years he was governor of the territory of Michigan, going on to become President Buchanan’s Secretary of State and Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of War. He also served as a diplomat and as a U.S. Senator.


CASTELAR ST.

Born in Cadiz, Spain, Emilio Castelar participated in an unsuccessful uprising in 1866. He fled to France, but returned to Spain two years later as a republican leader when Queen Isabella II was deposed. Journalist, statesman and orator, he is remembered as having “the soul of Don Quixote in the body of Sancho Panza”. Why a street is named after him is unknown.


CHARLES ST.

Charles was the given name of Charles W. Hamilton, the postmaster of Omaha for forty-seven days in 1859. A financier and Grand Hotel backer, he was president of the U.S. National Bank in 1896.


CLARK ST.

This street’s origin has backers in two camps. Some claim it was named for S.H. Clark, who worked as superintendent and general manager of the Union Pacific Railroad. The street may have been named for Captain William Clark of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition.


CLARKSON AVE.

Bishop Robert H. Clarkson, when consecrated as the Bishop of Nebraska and North Dakota, moved from Chicago to Omaha where he resided for the rest of his life. Clarkson Hospital is named for him.


CLAY ST.

Henry Clay was a Senator from Kentucky and a leading statesman, orator and unsuccessful presidential candidate. He was known as the Great Compromiser because of his success in brokering compromises on the slavery issue, such as the Missouri Compromise. In 1957 a Senate committee chaired by John F. Kennedy, named Clay as one of the five greatest Senators in American history.


CORBY ST.

Joseph O. Corby, a brick mason and contractor, was a member of the City Council in 1881.


ED CREIGHTON AVE.

Edward Creighton made a fortune constructing the Pacific Telegraph line. He was an investor in the freighting business between Omaha, Denver and Salt Lake City, and served the Omaha Northwestern Railroad. His widow, Mary, bequeathed $50,000 to establish Creighton University in 1878.


JOHN A. CREIGHTON BLVD.

Count John A. Creighton arrived in Omaha with his brother Edward in 1856. He was president of the United States National Bank at the time of his death in 1907. Many Omaha charities benefited from his philanthropy, as did Creighton University. The J.C. Creighton Medical College and St. Joseph Hospital are examples of his generosity. In recognition of his philanthropy, he was made a Count of the Papal Court.


CUMING ST.

Thomas B. Cuming was appointed secretary of the Nebraska Territory in 1854 and became acting governor when Francis Burt died just a few days after his arrival. Cuming convened the first territorial legislature of Nebraska in Omaha, thus making Omaha the capital, much to the dismay of its neighboring competitor, Bellevue.

DAHLMAN AVE.

James “Cowboy Jim” Dahlman, was Omaha’s “perpetual Mayor”, in office from 1906 to 1930, except for 1918-21. A native Texan, he fled to Nebraska because of problems with the law. He later claimed he had shot his wife-abusing brother-in-law, but it may have been cattle rustling that set the Texas Rangers after him. After a few years as a cowboy in northwest Nebraska, he became sheriff of Dawes County and served as mayor or Chadron. He began his long tenure as Omaha’s mayor in 1906.


DAVENPORT ST.

Davenport Street was named by a firm of bankers who came from Davenport, Iowa, and established a bank in Florence. The street was named in honor of their home town and also a leading family of that city.


DECATUR ST.

Stephen Decatur, an eccentric and mysterious character, lived with the Omaha Indians and read the service at Logan Fontenelle’s funeral. Rumors spread that Decatur was an assumed name. Leaving his Nebraska family when his business went bad, he headed west for Colorado, where he became successful. His family name was Dross, but he adopted the assumed identity when he deserted his Pennsylvania wife and family.


DEWEY AVE.

Charles H. Dewey was a leading Omaha furniture dealer in the post-Civil War years and advocate of a quality hotel for Omaha. In 1865 he entered the furniture business that became known as Dewey & Stone Furniture Company. From a small local retail business, it grew to reach the Pacific coast.


DODGE ST.

Augustus Caesar Dodge, a U.S. Senator from Iowa, was a strong supporter of westward expansion beyond the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. An eminent advocate of building a transcontinental railroad, in December of 1853 he introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate for the organization of the Nebraska Territory. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was the result and opened the west to settlement and the founding of Omaha on July 4, 1854. Some sources erroneously list the street’s namesake as Grenville Dodge, the chief engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad.


DORCAS ST.

Dorcas Street was named by Samuel E. Rogers, pioneer and charter member of the Territorial Council, after his mother’s maiden name.


DOUGLAS ST.

Stephen A. Douglas was an influential U.S. Senator from Illinois who championed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill that resulted in Nebraska becoming an organized territory. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was the result, signed by President Pierce on May 30, 1854. The founding of Omaha followed on July 4, 1854. Douglas opposed Abraham Lincoln as the Democratic candidate for president in 1860.


DREXEL ST.

Frederick Drexel, who came to Omaha in 1856, helped incorporate the Cable Tramway Company and Immanuel Hospital. He was a state legislator and the Douglas County Commissioner. A South Omaha pioneer, he was active in the organization of public schools and served as a director of the school district. In 1884 he built a Gothic mansion of carved stone overlooking the Missouri River.


DUPONT ST.

Dupont Street is so named because the Dupont Powder Company once had a powder house in the grove near Gibson Station. This powder house was blown up accidentally by four young men while out hunting, all of whom were killed by the explosion.

 

EMMET ST.

Emmet Street was probably named for Robert Emmet, the Irish orator and patriot, as a compliment to some of the Irish pioneers of Omaha.

FARNAM ST.

A banker from Hartford, CT, Henry Farnam was a principal promoter of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. Farnam was Omaha’s original “main” street.


FLORENCE BLVD.

Florence Boulevard was so named because it is the thoroughfare that leads to Florence, a suburban town in the northeastern part of Douglas County. The town and street were named for Florence Kilbourn, niece of J.C. Mitchell, who helped organize the Florence Land Company in 1854.


FONTENELLE BLVD.

The well-educated son of a French fur trader and an Omaha Indian, Logan Fontenelle, at age sixteen, was appointed a U.S. interpreter for the Omahas. Later named a principal chief of the tribe, he was a negotiator for the selling of the tribal lands to the government. Fontenelle urged the Omahas to gain an education and be peaceful farmers. He was killed by Sioux warriors during a buffalo hunt in 1855.


FRANKLIN ST.

During America’s formative years, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia became a famous writer, wit, scientist, diplomat, politician, and philosopher.


FUNSTON AVE.

Funston Avenue was named for General Frederick Funston of Kansas, who won distinction in the Philippine War by capturing Emilio Aguinaldo, the insurgent leader.

JOHN GALT BLVD.

John Galt Boulevard was named in the early 1970s by Ron Abboud, a real estate developer who once owned land where the street connects 108th Street to Q Street. His favorite book was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. “Who is John Galt?” is the opening line and Galt is the hero in the Rand classic, which extols economic individualism and self-interest, and foresees the decline of “men of the mind” and the end of civilization. (Thanks to Omaha World-Herald staffer Bob Fishbach and his readers for this revision.)


J.E. GEORGE BLVD.

John Edward George founded the real estate firm George & Company with his brother, Charles S. George. A member of the city planning commission, Ed George was the primary mover behind the St. Mary’s Ave. grading project and worked toward other city improvements. He died in an automobile accident near Fairmont, NE in 1921.


EDWARD “BABE” GOMEZ AVE.

Edward “Babe” Gomez, born in South Omaha, was killed during the Korean War. He fell on a grenade to save comrades, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor.


GIFFORD DR.

Dr. Harold Gifford Sr., a founder of Fontenelle Park and a naturalist, was a member of Omaha medical societies and a faculty member of the Omaha Medical College.


GREBE ST.

Henry Grebe came to Florence, Nebraska in 1857 and practiced the carriage and wagon making trade. He moved to Omaha in 1861 and twice served in the Territorial Legislature. After a stint on the City Council, Grebe was elected Sheriff of Douglas County in 1869 and was reelected in 1871 for another four years. While sheriff, he broke up the three-card monte gang of William “Canada Bill” Jones. (Three-card monte was less a game than a scam or swindle. The dealer manipulated his three cards to ensure the victim couldn’t win.) Meanwhile Grebe found time to invent the Grebe Hay Sweep and the Stalk Rake, and was a member of the 1875 Constitutional Convention.

HAMILTON ST.

Charles W. Hamilton, an early settler, became a well-known banker, a financial supporter of the Hamilton Hotel (where it was said, “Champagne flowed freely as water”), a president of the U.S. National Bank, and an activist for the South Omaha stockyards.


HANSCOM BLVD.

Andrew Jackson Hanscom was present at the July 4, 1854 picnic founding Omaha and became one of its most colorful figures in law, real estate, and politics. He was noted in his early days as one who would “soon as fight as eat”, a quality he demonstrated as the first speaker of the Territorial Legislature. He and James C. Megeath donated the land for what became Hanscom Park. During the Mexican War he served as a captain.


HARNEY ST.

General William S. Harney was a career army officer and Indian fighter. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was commander of the Department of the West.


HARRIS ST.

Matt Harris was the proprietor of a classy gambling house for “high rollers” in Omaha’s rough and ready early days. On one occasion he returned, at gunpoint, $3,000 to a gambler who had accused Harris of cheating. Harris gave him the money and left the room. Returning with two guns, he got the money back.


HASCALL ST.

Isaac S. Hascall was an early Omaha pioneer who served as a probate judge, a member of two constitutional conventions, a state senator, and three times a city councilman. Hascall was considered a professional politician who was shrewd and tricky and “carried the votes of the Second Ward in his inside vest pocket.”


HIMEBAUGH AVE.

Pierce C. Himebaugh is credited for his years of effort on behalf of Omaha’s YMCA, serving for seven years as its president. As a businessman he was involved with the Omaha Illustrating Company, the Omaha Union Grain Company, and the Dime Savings Bank of Omaha, where you could make a deposit for less than a dollar.


HOCTOR BLVD.

Thomas Hoctor came to Douglas County in 1875, settling in what became South Omaha. He was elected South Omaha city clerk in 1888, before he was 21 years old. He held the offices of city treasurer and county commissioner before he was elected mayor in 1906 and again in 1912. The press referred to him as “the man with a heart as big as a barrel.” He opposed the annexation of the “Magic City” by Omaha but ultimately lost the battle. While on a train in 1927, he suffered a perforated ulcer and died before reaching a hospital.


HOWARD ST.

There are three or more theories behind this street name. Some claim it was named for the father-in-law of Henry Farnam. Other authorities say it was named for Thomas P. Howard, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804. A third faction back General Tilman A. Howard, special envoy from the U.S. to Texas, whose “good offices” brought Texas into the union.


HUMMEL RD.

Joseph Hummel served for many years as the city commissioner for Parks and Boulevards, working to provide Omaha with a system of beautiful parks. Hummel Park is also named for him. Hummel had his own way of pronouncing words, for example, he once announced, “the rains had inundated the streets.”

IZARD ST.

Mark W. Izard became territorial governor in February 1855, taking the place of the recently deceased Francis Burt. The only governor’s ball held in Omaha was held in Izard’s honor. The freezing February temperatures turned the dance floor into an ice rink as the water used to scrub the floor froze in the heatless room.

JONES ST.

Alfred D. Jones crossed the Missouri River in 1853 to stake a claim he called “Park Wilde”. A lawyer and surveyor, he did the first survey of Omaha City in 1854. Jones became Omaha’s first postmaster and was said to have carried the mail in his hat. In a speech to the territorial legislature in opposition to a territorial bank law, he said he would like to have on his gravestone the words “Here lies an honest man who voted against Wild Cat Banks in Nebraska.”

KRUG AVE.

Krug in German means “beer stein” and Frederick Krug started Nebraska’s oldest major brewery in 1859. The brewery was sold to Falstaff in 1936. Krug owned popular Krug Park in Benson, but a tragic roller coaster accident on July 30, 1930, killed four persons and injured some seventeen, persuading the city council to pass an ordinance in 1931 prohibiting roller coasters in Omaha. The Park closed in 1940.

LAFAYETTE AVE.

A favorite of George Washington, Frenchman the Marquis de La Lafayette fought on the side of the colonists in the War for Independence.


LAKE CUNNINGHAM RD.

Named the Outstanding Young Man of Omaha by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1945, Glenn Cunningham three years later was elected mayor of Omaha, the youngest individual to attain that position. Omaha’s mayor for two terms, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1957 to 1971.


LAKE ST.

Lake Street was named for George B. Lake, an early member of the Omaha bar and one of the first justices of the Nebraska Supreme Court. He helped draft the Nebraska constitution for statehood and was a law partner of Andrew Poppleton.


LEAVENWORTH ST.

Leavenworth Street was named for General Henry Leavenworth, a noted military figure and founder of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

MANDERSON ST.

Charles F. Manderson, a veteran of the Civil War, came to Omaha in 1869. He was a member of the constitutional conventions of 1871 and 1875, served as city attorney for six years, and was a two-term member of the U.S. Senate.


MARCY ST.

Marcy Street was named for William L. Marcy, Secretary of State in the cabinet of President Franklin Pierce, at the time the Nebraska Territory was organized.


MARTHA ST.

Pioneer and city leader Samuel Rogers named the street after his wife, whose maiden name was Martha Brown. His career included law, merchandising, real estate, and banking. Samuel and William Rogers built the sixth house in Omaha.


MASON ST.

Mason Street is said to have been named for Judge Charles Mason, an eminent lawyer and jurist of Iowa in early days.


MERCER BLVD.

Dr. Samuel D. Mercer was one of the leading early physicians of the region, arriving in Omaha in 1866. After retiring from his medical career, Dr. Mercer became active in developing the cable tramways, motor street railways, and the fashionable Walnut Hills neighborhood. Mercer’s descendants, Sam and Mark, were paramount forces for the creation of the “Old Market”. Sam started the development by restoring the family warehouses in the district, saying contemporary structures “would have been like painting over the Mona Lisa.”


MEREDITH ST.

Meredith Avenue was named for John Reid Meredith, a native of Pennsylvania and a leading Omaha attorney following his arrival in 1857. He was a member of the city council in 1868, a stalwart of the Presbyterian Church, and one of the incorporators of the Omaha Horse Railway Company.


MILITARY AVE.

A part of the original Overland Trail, Military Road snaked through Omaha and Benson starting in 1857. It was used to move military supplies to Fort Kearny. Military Road was used by thousands of settlers heading to the Northwest. The road was purposely laid out over high ground so that emigrants and freighters could have a good view of the surrounding country as a protection against attacks. In 1994 a portion of Military Road near 82nd and Fort Streets was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


MILLARD AVE.

The Millard family was a major contributor to Omaha’s development and growth. Ezra Millard arrived in Omaha in 1856 and went into banking. He organized the Omaha National Bank in 1866, moving on to its presidency until 1884. Politics and construction of commercial buildings and the first class Millard Hotel also occupied him. Ezra Millard purchased the land that became the town of Millard in 1871.


MILLER ST.

Dr. George L. Miller was one of Omaha’s first physicians. Becoming involved in politics, he served in the territorial council and was a member of a delegation that went to New York to promote Omaha as the location for the Union Pacific’s Railroad Bridge. He left medicine in 1865 to enter journalism and founded the Omaha Daily Herald, serving for many years as its editor.


MINNE LUSA BLVD.

Named for the Florence Pumping Station, Minne Lusa comes from an Indian term meaning “clear water”.


MORMON ST.

The street’s name commemorates the Mormon’s desperate “Winter Quarters” of the winter of 1846-47. Brigham Young was leading his followers, driven out of Nauvoo, Illinois, to find their “New Zion”.

NAKOMA AVE.

Nakoma Avenue comes from Lake Nakoma, a former name for Carter Lake. The lake was originally called Cut-Off Lake.


NICHOLAS ST.

The street may be named for the first building and hotel in Omaha, constructed for the Council Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry Company. It became the home of William “Billy” Snowden and his wife Rachel, Omaha’s first permanent white settlers. They moved into the building at 12th and Jackson Street on July 11, 1854, with the building also serving as Omaha’s first hotel, the St. Nicholas.

OGDEN AVE.

Named for W.B. Ogden of Illinois, first president of the Union Pacific Railroad.


ORCHARD AVE.

Samuel Orchard was appointed by Congress to be the first surveyor of customs for the new Omaha Port of Delivery in 1870. Having opened the Orchard and Bean carpet store, he expanded into furniture sales and built a five-story building at 15th and Farnam. He added to his fortune by investing in the Union Stockyards Company.


ORVILLE PLZ.

Orville Plaza, located near Eppley Air Field, is named for Orville Wright of the airplane inventor brothers.

PADDOCK RD.

Algerson Sidney Paddock became secretary of the Nebraska Territory in 1861, and twice served the state as a U.S. Senator. While a Senator he championed the establishment of the Military District of Nebraska, which resulted in the Department of the Platte with its headquarters in Omaha. The first appropriations for river development at Omaha are attributed to Paddock. In his business career he was a large investor and director at the Omaha Street Railway.


PARK WILDE AVE.

Park Wilde Avenue derives its name from the claim staked off by Alfred D. Jones before Omaha was surveyed, which he named “Park Wilde”.


PATRICK AVE.

J.N.H. Patrick was an early Omaha pioneer and the father of R.W. Patrick, a municipal court judge, and of daughter Eliza who married Joseph Barker, Jr. Family farmland covered the Dundee and 24th and Lake areas. Like several other early settlers, in his home was a private art collection of over twenty fine paintings, displayed in the central hall, drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, and library. He also had sculptures of bronze and marble.


PAXTON BLVD.

From humble beginnings William A. Paxton constructed a multi-faceted career that earned him a fortune and a reputation as a man with a “big purse, but a bigger heart”, and as the “real founder of South Omaha”. He went from livery foreman to beef mogul, later expanding into banking, investing and organizing the Union Stockyards Company. He co-founded the Paxton & Gallagher Wholesale Grocery Business and became a co-owner of the Paxton & Vierling Iron Works. Along the way he found time to serve in the Nebraska Legislature. The prestigious Paxton Hotel became the hotel of preference for wealthy visiting cattlemen.


JOHN J. PERSHING DR.

Named for General John J. Pershing, who taught military tactics at the University of Nebraska in the early 1890s. After graduating from West Point, he rose to the highest rank in the U.S. Military, General of the Armies of the United States. “Black Jack” was commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I.


POPPLETON AVE.

Andrew Jackson Poppleton arrived as a young attorney in Omaha in October 1854 and became a principal figure in the city’s public life. As a member of the first territorial legislature, he was in the midst of the struggle over where the territorial capital would be located. He served three times as Mayor of Omaha. As a defense attorney he lost the first legal execution trial in the Nebraska Territory, but successfully defended Standing Bear in the Chief’s 1879 trial. He argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and for many years was an attorney for the Union Pacific Railroad.


PRATT ST.

Augustus Pratt was a member of the first Board of Park Commissioners and a member of the Board of Education.

REDICK AVE.

John I. Redick came to Omaha in 1856 as an attorney. He was an investor in the Grand Central Hotel and in railroads, and built the Redick Opera House. As head of the presidential Nebraska delegation in Baltimore, he nominated Lincoln for a second term, and later did the same for Grant in Philadelphia. The title of “Judge” was bestowed on him by Grant, who appointed him U.S. Judge for New Mexico in 1876.


REDMAN AVE.

Joseph Redman, an 1856 settler, was a city council member in 1878 when a controversy raged over the granting of a contract for building a waterworks. He was also a member of Omaha’s first Board of Education, and a deputy assessor.


LIZZIE ROBINSON AVE.

Lizzie Robinson rose from birth as a slave to national influence in the ministry of the Church of God in Christ. She helped develop the women’s ministry and other groups of the COIC. In 1916 she and her husband Edward founded the first Church of God in Christ in Nebraska, a “mother” church of what became to largest African Pentecostal denomination in the world.


RUGGLES ST.

An 1855 graduate of West Point, General George D. Ruggles was commander of Fort Kearney at the beginning of the Civil War. In 1875 he was a member of a delegation led by General George Crook, Commander of the Department of the Platte, escorting President Grant from Des Moines to Omaha.

ST. MARY’S AVE.

An institution called the St. Mary’s Convent was once in the vicinity; the convent is long gone, but the name remains. The street runs at an angle because Harrison Johnson used it as a short cut to get to and from Omaha City to his southwest homestead.


SADDLE CREEK RD.

The story is that a saddle fell off a wagon while crossing the creek that then flowed in the area. When a road was established, it became known as Saddle Creek Road.


SAHLER ST.

John Hoornbeek Sahler, an early settler, was one of two representatives sent to Washington D.C. to lobby, unsuccessfully, for certain legislation on behalf of Omaha. He was a police judge of Omaha in 1868.


SARATOGA ST.

Saratoga Street takes its name from the old Saratoga town and precinct on the north side between Omaha and Florence.


SAUNDERS ST.

Alvin Saunders was appointed by President Lincoln to be territorial governor of Nebraska in 1861 and reappointed him in 1865. Following a term as a United States Senator for Nebraska, he entered the business world of banking, real estate and railroads. He was an original stockholder of the Omaha Smelting Company. Saunders chaired the committee that went to Washington D.C. to press for the Union Pacific Bridge to be built at Omaha. As president of the Board of Regents of Omaha High School, he was involved in the building of the High School that replaced the Territorial Capitol Building.


SEWARD ST.

Seward Street has two possible namesakes: William H. Seward, President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, or H.L. Seward, Omaha city marshal in 1871.


SHERMAN ST.

General William T. Sherman, after a career of successes and failures, became Commander in Chief of the Army after General Grant’s retirement. He was popular in Omaha during the building of the Union Pacific Railroad.


A.V. SORENSEN PARKWAY

Omaha businessman Axel Vergman Sorensen chaired the fifteen-member delegate convention in 1956 that wrote the city’s current governing charter. He later commented, “It was the worst job he ever had.” Mayor of Omaha from 1965 to 1969, he did not run for re-election. Race riots in the summer of 1966 and during George Wallace’s visit in 1968, signaled the racial problems dividing the population. The street is frequently misspelled “Sorenson”.


SPAULDING ST.

S.K. Spaulding was a physician who was a member of the Douglas County Medical Society, the Omaha Medical Society, and the faculty of the John A. Creighton Medical College. He was also a member of the Manufacturers and Consumers Association and a president of the School Board.


STONE AVE.

E.L. Stone, with Charles E. Dewey, founded an Omaha furniture and carpet business. It started as a small local company and spread across the continent to the Pacific coast. He was an organizer and stockholder of the Omaha Motor Railway Company.


ARTHUR C. STORZ EXPRESSWAY

German immigrant Gottlieb Storz’s brewery began operations in 1884. Following Gottlieb’s death in 1938, son Arthur C. Storz carried on the business until market changes forced closure in 1972. Arthur introduced a product for women in 1953 called “Storzette”. His “orchid of beer” had a pink orchid on a smaller can, was “less bitter” and had fewer calories. However, the queen-size beers failed to attract a following. Arthur went on to play an important role in promoting aviation locally and nationally.

TAYLOR ST.

Taylor Street may have been named for E.B. Taylor, who purchased the Omaha Republican newspaper in 1861. Some claim it was named for President Zachary Taylor.


TEMPLETON DR.

W.G. Templeton helped found the Citizens Bank in 1886 and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Midlands State Bank.


TURKEY LN.

Turkey Lane was a short street in South Omaha running from 21st to 22nd Street. The name is derived from “the belief that the people living on this street were lovers of turkeys, and these proud birds in the Thanksgiving season strutted up and down the street without molestation.” There is now a Turkey Road in West Omaha.

UNDERWOOD AVE.

W.A. Underwood was President of the Omaha Waterworks Company when it opened a modern pumping station in Florence. He was one of several prominent Omahans involved with the Nebraska Central Railroad Company and the building of the railroad bridge across the Missouri River.

VINTON ST.

The naming of this street continues to baffle historians. The winding street was apparently an Indian trail at one time. Vinton Street first appeared in the Omaha City Directory in 1878 and was laid out as it is today.

WAKELY ST.

Eleazer Wakely was an associate territorial justice of the Nebraska Territory and later a district judge. In an 1884 case, he ruled that the mayor had been illegally ousted by the city council. He served in a Nebraska constitutional convention, dealt with tax and corporate law, and worked as an attorney for the Union Pacific Railroad. Humor and repartee were characteristic of his courtroom and writings.


WEBSTER ST.

John Lee Webster, an eminent attorney and public figure, arrived in Omaha in 1869 to practice his profession and soon engaged in politics. He served as a state legislator, chaired the 1875 constitutional convention, was city attorney in 1877 and led the Nebraska Republican Party delegation to two presidential conventions. His most memorable case, with Andrew Poppleton at his side, earned a prominent place in American constitutional law. Justice Dundy ruled in favor of Webster’s and Poppleton’s client, the incarcerated Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca tribe, in deciding that the “Indian is a person within the meaning of the laws of the United States,” and has the right to sue for writ of habeas corpus in a federal court. However, he lost in a later case seeking voting rights for Indians.


WILLIAM ST.

William Street, in the southeastern part of the city, was named by pioneer S.E. Rogers for his father, William R. Rogers, who came to Omaha in 1854 and died soon after his arrival.


WOOLWORTH AVE.

James Woolworth arrived in Omaha in 1856 to enter a career that marked him as a major contributor to Nebraska jurisprudence. He was the first city of Omaha attorney and rose to prominence in the city’s religious, political, business, and legal worlds. He was a member of the claims club, the territorial legislature, the 1871 constitutional convention, and the Board of Trustees of Brownell Hall. He helped develop South Omaha’s stockyards. Frequently he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, usually on cases involving railroads. An author, he wrote The History of Omaha, published in 1857, and owned rare editions in his private library. His large art collection included small paintings by Corot, Rousseau and Renoir.

MALCOLM X AVE.

A section of North 34th Avenue was named for slain civil rights figure Malcolm X in 2003. The street between Bedford and Evans is adjacent to the birthsite of Malcolm Little, who was born there in 1925. Threats from night riders forced his family to move out of state. Little, who fell into a life of drugs and prison, educated himself and became a leader of the Black Muslims. Though he once felt whites were inherently racist, he later softened his views. He was assassinated in New York City in 1965.

YATES ST.

Henry W. Yates came to Omaha as a wholesale grocer. Two years later he joined the Kountze brothers to begin his banking career, rising to president of the First National Bank. A variety of business interests occupied him: real estate, railroad, bridge, stockyards development, and white lead smelting. He joined the Omaha Library Association to establish a circulating library in Omaha, and participated in the founding of Brownell Hall, an Episcopal School for young women in 1863.

Several streets, highways and expressways are named after U.S. Presidents, including: Adams, Cleveland, Ford, Garfield, Grant, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lincoln, Madison, Monroe, Pierce, Polk, Taylor, and Washington.

Others are named for trees (Pine, Oak, Walnut, Maple, etc.), some for locations or neighborhoods (Deer Park, River View, Country Club, etc.). Still others are named for states of union (Kansas Avenue, Nebraska Avenue, Iowa Street, Ohio Street, Wyoming Street); Indian tribes (Otoe Street, Omaha Trace, Ponca Road and the generic Indian Street); oceans (Pacific); and non-specific waterways (Bay Meadows Road, Bay Wood Drive, Dock Street, Lake Forest Drive, Lakeshore Drive, Lakeside Drive, Lakeview Street, River Drive, Riverfront Drive). State Street borrowed its name from the famous Chicago thoroughfare.

This list of street names is the start of what we hope will be a continuously evolving resource. It was compiled through the efforts of Orville D. Menard, Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Member, Douglas County Historical Society Board of Directors.

Bibliography:

Baumann, Louise, and Charles Martin and S. Jane Simpson. Omaha’s Historical Prospect Hill Cemetery. Omaha: Prospect Hill Cemetery Historical Development Foundation, 1990.

Brick, H. Ben. The Streets of Omaha: Their Origins and Changes. Omaha: Omaha Public Library, 1997.

Savage, James W., and John T. Bell. History of the City of Omaha. New York and Chicago: Munsell & Company, 1894.

Sorenson, Alfred. The Story of Omaha from the Earliest Days to the Present. 3rd ed. Omaha: National Printing Company, 1923.

Wakely, Arthur C., Omaha: The Gate City, and Douglas County Nebraska. Chicago: The J.S. Clark Publishing Co., 1917.

Newspaper clipping files of the Douglas County Historical Society, Library Archives Center.

Full List of Street Names

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