Old photos

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ShawJ
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Old photos

Postby ShawJ » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:58 pm

I'm sure some of you have seen these before, but I came across these today and thought they were pretty cool. Downtown Omaha in the early 60s. It's crazy to see how much activity used to be down there.

1.
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Downtown Omaha_August, 1962_01 by UNO Criss Library, on Flickr

2.
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Downtown Omaha_August, 1962_03 by UNO Criss Library, on Flickr

3.
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Downtown Omaha_August, 1962_04 by UNO Criss Library, on Flickr

4.
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Downtown Omaha_August, 1962_02 by UNO Criss Library, on Flickr

5.
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Downtown Omaha_August, 1962_05 by UNO Criss Library, on Flickr

6.
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Downtown Omaha_April, 1963 by UNO Criss Library, on Flickr

StreetsOfOmaha
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:36 pm

Wow.

Omaha is virtually unrecognizable in these photos because practically none of those buildings are there anymore. Even the number of pedestrians---which to our eyes in 2012 looks impressive---is far diminished from what would have been seen just 20 years earlier.

If these photos aren't sobering to the viewer in terms of what has happened to our cities in the last 50 years, then I don't know what could be. A picture really is worth a thousand words.
"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."
Lewis Mumford, The Highway and the City, 1963

ShawJ
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Postby ShawJ » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:10 am

Aside from the second picture I can't recognize any of those locations.

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:45 am

ShawJ wrote:Aside from the second picture I can't recognize any of those locations.


Same with me.  I think the last one is the old Post Office
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Postby icejammer » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:54 am

ShawJ wrote:Aside from the second picture I can't recognize any of those locations.


The last two are along Dodge Street.  The third photo is looking north along 16th St. I think (before there was a Doubletree to block the view)
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Postby icejammer » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:00 am

Brad wrote:Same with me.  I think the last one is the old Post Office


Yes.  

I can still remember going shopping with my parents in downtown Omaha several times when I was a kid, but I don't really remember the buildings.
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Omababe
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Postby Omababe » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:07 pm

I've been here since the 70s and by just seeing those, I would question if they are Omaha or just some other random city.

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:14 pm

I am starting to think that #3 is 16th Street looking north before the Red Lion?
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SaveOmaha
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Postby SaveOmaha » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:01 pm

Honestly, the only building that I recognized was the (backside of) the old Aquila Court Building (Magnolia Hotel now).

StreetsOfOmaha
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:46 pm

All,

Exactly.

Now, take this in the context of the quote from Lewis Mumford in my signature line. Is anything starting to make sense?

It's pure chance that the quote happens to come from the exact period during which these photos were taken.
"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."
Lewis Mumford, The Highway and the City, 1963

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Postby l-dude » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:33 pm

1st picture: 16th & Farnam looking west (the banner above the street was to remind people to get their polio vaccine- given at most of the neighborhood schools 4 consecutive Sundays in '63, I think).  2nd pic: about 17th and Jones (if it were cut through then) looking north.  Note the Douglas County courthouse (light gray building in the center) and the old Omaha Bee newspaper building (medium brown color - now the Woodman building location) behind it.  3rd pic: 16th & Douglas, looking north, in front of the Brandeis building.  4th pic: SE corner of 16th & Dodge looking east (now the FNB "geese splashing" fountain across the street from the current FNB building).  5th pic: Northeast corner of 16th & Dodge (looking north) before the Hilton/ now Doubletree hotel was built.  6th pic: Aprox. 16th & Capital, looking west.  Old Post Office in foreground and current Zorinsky Fed building in background.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:52 pm

Thanks for those details, I-dude. Out of curiosity, how were you able to place all of those? Are you a local historian? Or of a certain age (i.e. you experienced them in person)?
"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."
Lewis Mumford, The Highway and the City, 1963

ShawJ
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Postby ShawJ » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:16 pm

Impressive. Thanks for that, l-dude.

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Postby Timmys Treehouse » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:15 am

Awesome!  Thanks for sharing these.

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Postby Stargazer » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:23 am

I would love to see more photos of Omaha like these.

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:28 am

Here are all the Library's photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/unocrisslibrary/sets/

Also, There are several REALLY good books on the market.  Here are two quick ones:

Building for the Ages
http://www.amazon.com/Building-Ages-Oma ... 553&sr=8-3

Omaha and Council Bluffs, Yesterday and Today
http://www.amazon.com/Omaha-Council-Blu ... 589&sr=1-1
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Stargazer
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Postby Stargazer » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:41 am

I actually own both of those books.

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Postby ShawJ » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:53 am

Another solid one:

Dundee, Neb. A pictorial history
http://www.amazon.com/Dundee-Neb-pictor ... 0970659504

It only focuses on Dundee and a little bit of Elmwood, but it's cool to see the neighborhoods when they were first being built. It also shows some early proposals for the parks.

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:54 am

ShawJ wrote:Another solid one:

Dundee, Neb. A pictorial history
http://www.amazon.com/Dundee-Neb-pictor ... 0970659504

It only focuses on Dundee and a little bit of Elmwood, but it's cool to see the neighborhoods when they were first being built. It also shows some early proposals for the parks.


Didn't know about that one.  I need to add it to my collection!
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Postby Linkin5 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:07 pm

You can find most of those books at the used book store on west center for super cheap.

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:10 pm

Linkin5 wrote:You can find most of those books at the used book store on west center for super cheap.


Last time I was in, they had the 3 OWH Books there too.
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Postby GetUrban » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:47 pm

Yep, those are "must have" books about Omaha.

The Red Lion(Hilton) and FNB complex killed 16th street by closing it off to the north, .....retail mostly moving to Crossroads and Westroads didn't help either.

I love how you see so many people on the streets in the old photos, nothing like NYC, but still impressive.  Despite all of the recent progress downtown, the streets still look mostly deserted compared to then.
He said "They are some big, ugly red brick buildings"
...and then they were gone.

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:57 pm

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Postby Linkin5 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:29 pm

Brad wrote:Here are some really sad photos:
http://www.pbase.com/mhdigifilm/fire_in_omaha

Really nice Jobbers Canyon Photo:
http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclo ... gp.arc.053


Brad, do you know of any large collections of Jobber's Canyon?

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Postby Brad » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:41 pm

The Durham Museum has a large Collection.  I have looked and there are not a lot of photos out there on the Internet.
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Postby Big E » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:49 pm

Contact the guys that own Dixie Quicks.  I can't remember if it's Rob or Renee that did it, but he actually documented JC shortly before it was razed (not knowing it was going to be razed).

Had a big show at Bemis a few years ago.  Not sure how extensive the collection is.
Stable genius.

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Postby nebport5 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:59 pm

http://www.durhammuseum.org/experience/photo-archive.aspx


probably as extensive of a collection you'll find online.
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. - Jonathan Swift

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Postby Big E » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:33 pm

nebport5 wrote:http://www.durhammuseum.org/experience/photo-archive.aspx

probably as extensive of a collection you'll find online.


That might be the worst way to display photos I've seen on the internet in a decade.
Stable genius.

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Postby ShawJ » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:41 pm

Big E wrote:
nebport5 wrote:http://www.durhammuseum.org/experience/photo-archive.aspx

probably as extensive of a collection you'll find online.


That might be the worst way to display photos I've seen on the internet in a decade.


The "Browse all" section isn't bad if you click on view options and turn on thumbnail view.

edit: unless you're talking about when you actually click on a picture, then I agree with you.

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Postby l-dude » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:58 pm

To the poster "Streets", I lived in Omaha from the mid '50s through the late '60s, so you decide if I'm an historian, or a "person of a certain" age.  I fondly remember traveling to downtown, via city buses "from near Florance"  (my home, my mother didn't drive), and shopping the 16th St district, (from almost Howard St, north to Capital Ave).  We used to walk underground from Kilpratrick's, at basement level on the west side of 16th, under Faram, Douglas, and Dodge Streets, to Penny's.  I don't recall reading a post on here about if this subterranean route is still open (I'm guessing one cannot go from Brandeis north into the FNB basement).  I've lived in  SW Iowa (Creston), Chicago, SE Nebraska, and now Lincoln, so don't know If I'm qualified (vis/a/vie this board) to comment ...
Last edited by l-dude on Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ShawJ » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:06 pm

Not sure if this will work, but check out 16th:

http://durhammuseum.contentdm.oclc.org/ ... 740/rec/85

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Postby l-dude » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:18 pm

Good picture...this is probably the "Boston Store" based on the time frame.  Brandeis is just across Douglas street to the south, which can be seen in the picture.  The Boston Store building was later replaced by the Penny's store building (it may have been a rehab of the old Boston Store?), which was torn down, along with the Medical Arts building, to make way for the current First National Bank building.

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Postby Stargazer » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:48 pm

It is amazing to see those early Dundee photos when it really looked no different than any other west Omaha barren wasteland subdivision.  This town really was built on the treeless plains.

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Postby icejammer » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:57 pm

l-dude wrote:I don't recall reading a post on here about if this subterranean route is still open (I'm guessing one cannot go from Brandeis north into the FNB basement).


Yes, you can walk underground from Brandeis to the First Data center at 16th and Capitol (and the parking garage across the street), going though FNB.
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Postby ShawJ » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:00 pm

Stargazer wrote:It is amazing to see those early Dundee photos when it really looked no different than any other west Omaha barren wasteland subdivision.  This town really was built on the treeless plains.


Exactly what I thought when I first saw them.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:07 am

GetUrban wrote:I love how you see so many people on the streets in the old photos, nothing like NYC, but still impressive.  Despite all of the recent progress downtown, the streets still look mostly deserted compared to then.


Actually, that level of pedestrian traffic, in many ways, is exactly like many areas of NYC, only confined to a smaller geography. And as for your last point there, I completely agree. As these photos beautifully display, even up through the 1960s, in the early stages of the downfall of American cities, Omaha's core was still teaming with vibrant, urban life---which, as I mentioned, was still far less than what would have been seen a few decades earlier (see below), but to our 21st Century eyes still looks pretty darn good. Urbanists and public intellectuals such as Mumford and Jacobs, who were actively writing about the urban condition in America during this time, saw the writing on the wall.

Image
"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."
Lewis Mumford, The Highway and the City, 1963

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Postby iamjacobm » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Really great picture the Old Market Facebook page posted a few days ago.

Image

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l-dude
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Postby l-dude » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:21 pm

I've enjoyed that picture as well...it's been used in many versions in the books & etc. listed above, as well as the Douglas Co. Historical Soc., Omaha Library, Durham Museum and other websites.  The ironic aspect of this Photo is this is the Northwest view from 16th & Farnam, several blocks north of the traditional north boundry of the Old Market.  I don't know the context of the photo post, but maybe this is a sly attempt to push the Old Market boundary north into "North Downtown"? :roll:

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Postby Hawkeye » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:42 am

StreetsOfOmaha wrote:
GetUrban wrote:I love how you see so many people on the streets in the old photos, nothing like NYC, but still impressive.  Despite all of the recent progress downtown, the streets still look mostly deserted compared to then.


Actually, that level of pedestrian traffic, in many ways, is exactly like many areas of NYC, only confined to a smaller geography. And as for your last point there, I completely agree. As these photos beautifully display, even up through the 1960s, in the early stages of the downfall of American cities, Omaha's core was still teaming with vibrant, urban life---which, as I mentioned, was still far less than what would have been seen a few decades earlier (see below), but to our 21st Century eyes still looks pretty darn good. Urbanists and public intellectuals such as Mumford and Jacobs, who were actively writing about the urban condition in America during this time, saw the writing on the wall.

Image


Council Bluffs used to have a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly central business/retail district too back in the day.  
Image


Then the monstrosity known as Midlands Mall (now Omni Center) destroyed it forever and ever and ever.
Image
Image

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Thu May 31, 2012 1:38 pm

Check out these photos of the "Awful Tunnel" on 84th Street:
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/sho ... hp?t=40322
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