Omaha’s Lithuanian Community

by Rita Shelley During the 19th and 20th centuries, two waves of Lithuanian refugees settled in Omaha, the first in the 1890s and the second after World War II. Though separated by half a century, the two groups shared a common imperative, to escape persecution. For...

Ralph Bradley and the Ak-Sar-Ben Junior City Crew

By Natalie Kammerer This week, we wanted to do another highlight of an object in our collection, because it’s a great example of how one item can lead to a whole story with various levels of historical significance. Ralph H. Bradley was born in Missouri but spent the...

The Writings of Erastus A. Benson

Natalie Kammerer Erastus Benson was born in Iowa in 1854, and came to Omaha as a young man. Over the course of his life, he practiced law, taught school, edited a newspaper, was an important investor in Thomas Edison’s early inventions, and was one of the largest real...

Wright & Wilhelmy Co.

By Natalie Kammerer The Omaha-based Wright & Wilhelmy Co. Wholesale Hardware firm was rather ubiquitous in eastern Nebraska for much of the 20th century. The company was founded by John F. Wilhelmy and H. Larson in Nebraska City in 1871. They functioned as both a...

“Aunt May” and “Auntie Bachman”

By Natalie Kammerer DCHS recently received a collection of materials that provides a rich glimpse into the lives of two female artists active in Omaha at the turn of the 20th century. May Murray (some records spell her name “Mary”) and Fannie Murray Bachman were born...

The Early History of Waterloo, Nebraska

The Early History of Waterloo, Nebraska Written by Natalie Kammerer Research by Josalyn Switzer   The village of Waterloo in western Douglas County has a history almost as old as Omaha’s. The land was most notably settled by John H. Logan and Elias A. Kelsey, who...

Omaha’s Auto Speedways

Omaha’s Auto Speedways Natalie Kammerer   Most Omahans of just about any age are probably aware of Omaha’s horseracing history, with the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack drawing huge crowds to 67th and Center Street for decades. But even farther back, Omaha and Council...

Omaha’s Hanscom Park

Omaha’s Hanscom Park Natalie Kammerer Omaha’s oldest remaining park was formed in November 1872, when land developers Andrew J. Hanscom and James G. Megeath donated 57.6 acres near Park Avenue and Woolworth Streets to the city of Omaha. The land was part of their...

The Omaha Creche Society

The Omaha Creche Society Natalie Kammerer   Among the collections housed at the Douglas County Historical Society Archive are the early records of the Omaha Creche Society, one of the first charities founded in Omaha. First established as the Omaha Charity...

Medical Arts Building: Omaha’s Original Medical Campus

Medical Arts Building: Omaha’s Original Medical Campus Natalie Kammerer   Omaha has a strong reputation in the Midwest for its medical resources, and today boasts several state-of-the art complexes that serve as healthcare hubs providing many services on one...