Omaha From the Air: Gallery Number Two

During the summer of 1947, the Omaha World-Herald published a series of 45 aerial photographs depicting the city of Omaha. The pictures were later published in a book entitled Omaha From the Air. The photographs were taken by World-Herald staff photographer John S. Savage. The plane was piloted by Marion Nelson of the Omaha Aircraft Company.

The text presented below is that which appeared as captions for each of the photos, which are also linked below. The forty-five aerial photographs are presented in four, separate galleries and are approximately 80-100K each.

Gallery Number One Gallery Number Three Gallery Number Four


North High School, Seen From Air, Looks Like Giant Capital 'E'

You are flying rather low over North High School, commanding a hilltop at Thirty-sixth Street and Ames Avenue. The building is in the northwest corner of an area of four square blocks.

Constructed like a capital E, the building has 49 rooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium and an auditorium. Like Central and Benson High Schools, North has a roughed-in swimming pool which never has been finished. It is used as a study hall.

North was first occupied in September, 1924. For the first two years it was a junior high school. It now serves 1,700 pupils and 57 teachers.

The football field in the foreground is used only for practice. It is regulation size, but lack of seating arrangements precludes playing games before spectators.


Mount Vernon Gardens Give Omaha One of Its Most Striking Views

You are flying over Mount Vernon Gardens, at Thirteenth and Y Streets. This is a miniature replica of the George Washington estate at Mount Vernon, Va., a living memorial to the first president.

This site was a bare clay bluff when first established by the city in 1928. Now there are 36 varieties of trees, many kinds of shrubs and flowers. All are varieties grown at Mount Vernon. However, all of the latter's varieties cannot be grown here because of difference in soil and climate.

The trees include English walnut, tulip, fringetree, Kentucky coffee, white oak, Ohio buckeye, shellbark, bitternut hickory, hemlock and cut-leaved birch.

The suggestion for Omaha's garden spot came from Mrs. Alexander C. Troup, widow of the late District Judge. For many years she has been Nebraska vice-regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union. This is a national organization devoted to preservation of Mount Vernon as a national shrine. Mrs. Troup, now 90, still maintains an active interest in Omaha's Mount Vernon Gardens.

On the steep bank at left is a "retaining wall" of spirea. The shrubs hold the bank together, prevent erosion, seem to thrive on their peculiar location.

The Gardens occupy eight acres. Flower beds are developed to represent buildings, gardens and other parts of the estate at Mount Vernon.

The white structure is the portico, built to represent the Washington mansion. A section of the South Omaha Bridge over the Missouri can be seen in the right background.

The Mount Vernon site offers one of the most scenic views in Omaha. To the east is the Missouri River, the wooded area and the hills on the Iowa side. In other directions there are sweeping views of four-lane Thirteenth Street, homes, business buildings and factories of Omaha.


Tech High, Largest School Building in Omaha, Has Graduated 12,404

The magic carpet takes you over Technical High School, Omaha's largest public school building. You are looking west. The five-winged building and large athletic field (to the east, not shown) occupy three square city blocks between Burt and Cuming Streets, and from Thirtieth to Thirty-third Streets.

The east wing (nearest the camera) houses two large gymnasiums and a swimming pool. The gyms are marked by large, round-topped windows. The pool is centrally-located in the basement, with locker rooms at each end. This is the only pool in Omaha public high schools.

The entire top floor in this wing contains the home economics department. On the roof is a deck with a canopy. The south roof is fenced in. This area was formerly used as an exercise roof for those who wanted to stroll after finishing lunch.

The central wing, extending to the south behind the main entrance, has a large auditorium. There are classrooms on the top (fifth) floor. Offices for the principal, registrar and clerical staff are on the first floor adjacent to entrance.

The west wing houses the shops and laboratories. On the roof at the south end is a greenhouse, not now in use.

Tech was first occupied in 1923. The school had formerly been the High School of Commerce, started in 1912 at Seventeenth and Leavenworth Streets.

Tech has 124 rooms with 2,700 pupils and one hundred teachers. It has held as many as four thousand pupils. Since 1923, there have been 12, 404 graduates.


City's Walnut Hill Pumping Station Site Occupies Four Square Blocks

This sylvan scene viewed from the magic carpet is not a rich man's estate, with private swimming pools. It is the Walnut Hill Pumping Station, part of the water system operated by the Metropolitan Utilities District. Many Omahans find the grounds an enjoyable place in which to relax.

The quiet "lakes" are three big reservoirs. The camera is looking west. The two small basins at right hold six million gallons of water each. The large reservoir contains 12 million gallons. This huge supply is pumped daily from the Minne Lusa station at Florence. It is then distributed to the central part of the city by gravity. A sterilization process gives the water extra cleaning before it is sent back into the mains.

The white building near the reservoirs contains three booster pumps. These take the water to higher parts of Omaha. The Walnut Hill station, plus other booster stations at Thirty-first Street and Bedford Avenue, and Twentieth Street and Poppleton Avenue, create an even distribution of supply and force that could otherwise not be maintained by the Minne Lusa station alone. Another booster station may be built in the west part of town.

Omaha's consumption of water is enormous. During the first 10 days of August, 640,600,000 gallons of water were pumped.

The large circle of concrete in foreground formerly was a multi-colored fountain, brilliant at night. It has not been in operation since the war began. It may be in action by next year. As the plane soared over this area, workmen could be pairing the "flasher vault" which controls the play of colored lights.

The Walnut Hill station occupies four square blocks between Thirty-eighth and Fortieth Streets, and from Hamilton to Nicholas Streets. It was part of the original Omaha Water Works. The two small basins, built in 1882, were fed from an intake at Burt Street and the Missouri River. The Burt Street station continued to feed the reservoirs, in conjunction with the newer Minne Lusa station, until the turn of the century. The big reservoir was built in 1914, and the new booster station was built in 1916, after the old pumped building burned down.


Magic Carpet Carries You Over Benson....a 'City Within a City'

You are flying over the business district of Benson in northwest Omaha. It extends from Fifty-eighth to Sixty-third Street on Maple Street, which is also Military Avenue at this point. In this bustling, thriving district are approximately 150 merchants, business and professional men.

The Benson area extends from Fifty-second to Seventy-second Street, and from Blondo to Sahler Street. Including the Veterans' Housing Center in Benson Park, there are some 17 thousand persons living in this "city within a city."

The two-story brick building at right is the fire station, with the Benson Recreation Center on the second floor. At extreme left is the German Lutheran Church, one of nine churches in Benson. In background is Benson West School. This busy district has its own library, movie theater, newspaper office, Post office and Masonic Temple. It also has posts of the VFW and American Legion, a Lions Club, Benson Commercial Club, Northwest Civic Improvement Club and the Benson Medical Center.

Benson is 60 years old. The town was platted in 1887 by Erastus A. Benson. He had the idea of starting a town for home owners, an acquired 860 acres of land along the old Military Highway. The town began to assume proportions in 1893. It was incorporated as a village in 1897, and as a city of the second class in 1906.

Benson was annexed by Omaha in 1917. Fred A. Bailey, 77, Benson realtor, was the last mayor.

One reason the new town grew rapidly was a steam railway connecting it with Omaha. This was installed by Mr. Benson, who later converted it to electricity. He operated the line at a a loss, and finally gave it to the street railway company, with one stipulation. There had to be a 10-minute schedule.


Municipal Stadium, Concrete Base Completed, Now Awaits Steel

Flying west from Riverview Park, the magic carpet takes you over the site of Omaha's Municipal Stadium at Thirteenth and Deer Park Boulevard.

The stadium is slowly taking shape. Cement foundations have been completed. Beneath the earthen base (back of rounded section) is a network of concrete beams. These are connected with concrete bases for later erection of steel columns. These bases have the appearance of black dots in the photo.

Columns attached to the bases will hold the steel deck on which the stadium seats will be placed. Erection of the columns will be the next step in building the stadium.

One of the last steps will be to cover with concrete the earthen base that is visible here. This will form the concourse.

Concrete beams at the left, front edge of the foundation are the framework for one of the team rooms. The similar set of beams near center is for the other team room. Other beams at the front are part of the concrete network that underlines the earthen base.

The structure at center in front of the foundation (encircled by a patch of grass) marks the site of home plate.

There are to be 10 thousand permanent seats in the stadium proper, based on the foundation shown here. In addition, 15 thousand movable bleacher seats are to be provided later.

A bond issue of 480 thousand dollars to build the stadium was approved by Omaha voters in April, 1945.

The stadium structure proper is expected to be completed this fall. The 15 thousand portable bleachers, landscaping, drainage works, sidewalks, a sprinkling system and lights will have to be added later. It is estimated that 150 thousand dollars in addition to the original 480 thousand-dollar bond issue will be needed for that work.

Backdrop of the stadium site, in this magic carpet view, is the wooded, residential area west of Thirteenth Street.


Work on Exterior of Childrens Memorial Hospital Nears Completion

This is the nearly completed Childrens Memorial Hospital at Forty-fourth Street and Dewey Avenue. Construction was made possible by contributions from thousands of World-Herald readers. Friends in Nebraska, Iowa and surrounding states are still donating to the fund, and additional money is needed.

Outside work on the three-story Georgian-style building is almost finished. Interior plastering and tiling is under way, and the building is expected to be ready for used by the end of the year.

Scaffolding at the center of the building shows the location of the entrance - a semi-circular white portico, to be supported by six columns. A contract was awarded last week for landscaping the area in front of the hospital, including grading of a high bank in the foreground at the right. This is a part of the campus of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.

At the extreme south (left) end of the building will be an ambulance entrance, with stairs leading up one side and a ramp for wheel chairs leading up the other side. This will open into the first-floor admissions room. Also in the south wing of the first floor will be the outpatient department, dentist's office, pharmacy, laboratory, hospitality shop and administrators' offices.

In the north wing will be a 30-bed nursing unit (both wards and rooms) where patients will be placed for observation. If contagious diseases are found, the patients may be moved to the self-sustaining isolation section, at the north end.

The second floor will house two 30-bed nursing units and a quiet isolation section at the north end. The third floor will contain living quarters for interns and supervising nurses.

The west wing (just visible at rear center) will contain operating and treatment rooms and a mothers' overnight room.

The basement will house linen and supply rooms, student nurses' and physicians' lounges and locker rooms, the kitchen and cafeteria, and space for air conditioning units. Ducts for the air conditioning system have been installed, but money for the machinery is still to be raised.

Heat for the building will be supplied through a one thousand-foot tunnel from the University of Nebraska Hospital. The tunnel leads in from the south.

The building is designed so it may be expanded to the west. The expansion would consist of an extension of the west wing and building of another north-south section.


Busy South Omaha: Annexed in 1915, It Now Houses 60,000 Persons

This is another city within a city - a very important part of Omaha. You are flying slightly northeast over the South Side business district. In the immediate foreground below you is the square roof of the police court. It is the former City Hall of South Omaha, when that city was a separate entity. South Omaha was annexed in 1915.

An overhead runway connects the police court building with the South Side police station (at left). The intersection is Twenty-fourth and O Streets.

Extending north and south on the main thoroughfare are more than 150 business establishments. These are flanked by others on Twenty-third, Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Streets. West of this district is Omaha's largest industry, the cattle and meat packing center.

Arrow points to South High School, which is situated between J and K Streets, between Twenty-fourth and Twenty-third Streets. The old section, once known as South Omaha High School, was built in 1904. The newer, larger addition was completed in 1926. There are 67 rooms, including a gymnasium and an auditorium. Present enrollment is 2,700 students, with 90 teachers. The school has had as many as four thousand pupils at one time. Since 1904, there have been more than 11 thousand graduates.

It is estimated that approximately 60 thousand persons live in the South Side district. At the time of annexation, the population was 26 thousand. Thomas Hoctor, who died in 1927, was the last South Omaha mayor.

The South Side district has its own sub-treasury, post office, branch public library. There are four banks, three movie theaters and about 25 churches. Men's clubs include the South Side Kiwanis, the 400 Club, South Omaha Merchants, and the South Side Civic Council.


Flying Low Over the Rolling Green Campus of the University of Omaha

The magic carpet takes you over the rolling green campus of the Georgian-style building which is the University of Omaha. It is flanked on the east and south by Elmwood Park. You are flying south. Two wide sidewalks are lined with Moline Elm trees. Other greenery dots the 52-acre campus.

This building is near the east side of Fairacres, at about Sixtieth Street, south of Dodge Street. It was opened in June, 1938. The Public Works Administration matched the local funds to complete the structure. It is said to be the only air-conditioned university in the world.

There are 360 rooms and an auditorium which house three thousand students and 61 members of the faculty. In the rear (not shown) are two large quonset houses for the technical institute and to house athletic equipment. At upper right may be seen the practice football field, running track and tennis courts.

The University has filed in Washington a plan for $1,515,000 in post-war campus developments. Included are a new classroom building (similar to the present main building but without an auditorium), a library, field house and stadium.

Incorporated in 1908, the University of Omaha was opened a year later at Twenty-fourth and Pratt Streets. For 20 years, the university was supported by gifts and goodwill. At the general election of May 6, 1930, Omahans cast their votes in favor of a city-sponsored university.

Greatest progress has been made since 1935 - the year Rowland Haynes became president. Rapid growth in enrollment, faculty and accreditment are proof of the progress. The University's present plan calls for a well-balanced diet of cultural and practical training, according to individual needs and aptitudes.


Ak-Sar-Ben Field: Home of World's Largest 4-H Fat Baby Beef Show

The magic carpet sweeps over Ak-Sar-Ben Field in southwest Omaha. This is the home of the world's largest 4-H Fat Baby Beef Show. It is the scene of year-round activities ranging from horse racing to hockey.

The mile race track, considered the finest racing oval between Chicago and the Pacific Coast, is used during the 30-day race meeting each spring. Ak-Sar-Ben, a non-profit civic organization, expends revenue from the racing meet for scholarships, fellowships and research studies at the University of Nebraska's College of Agriculture, for 4-H activities, including annual institutes for leaders and club leadership awards in each county, for philanthropic and charitable activities in Omaha and throughout Nebraska, and other activities.

Following the racing meet, Ak-Sar-Ben presents a series of outdoor "under the stars" concerts for its record roster of 12,836 members.

Across the concrete drive from the grandstand is the Coliseum, home of the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show. Each October, the Coliseum is transformed into a beautiful castle befitting the pomp and ceremony attached to Ak-Sar-Ben's traditional Coronation Ceremony. After the second night of the Coronation, the Castle then becomes an ice palace for the hockey team and ice shows.

West of the grandstand is Ak-Sar-Ben's new 4-H Building, constructed at a cost of nearly 200 thousand dollars. It is open during the year for free use by agricultural and allied organizations. The building, first used during the stock show last year, is dedicated to 4-H youths who gave their lives in World War II.

In the future, Ak-Sar-Ben hopes to tear down the wooden barns west of the Coliseum and across the street from the 4-H Building and construct a new two-story livestock pavilion. When that structure is completed at an estimated cost of 500 thousand dollars, Ak-Sar-Ben will then be in position to resume its breed cattle show in conjunction with the 4-H fat beef classic. The pavilion will make it possible for Ak-Sar-Ben to conduct livestock exhibitions similar to the American Royal at Kansas City, the International in Chicago and other leading shows.


World-Herald Square: Here Rises Midwest's Most Modern Newspaper Plant

You are flying over the new World-Herald Building, looking northwest from above Thirteenth and Dodge Streets. The entire block is World-Herald Square.

The last section of the roof has recently been completed. When this was poured, more than seven thousand cubic yards (189 thousand cubic feet) of concrete had been used in construction. Of reinforced concrete throughout, this modern building is designed for easy expansion, both to the east and for a future third story. The Leo A. Daly Company are architects.

The small "house" on the roof is an elevator penthouse. The larger deck will house a conference room. The roof is large enough to accommodate two baseball diamonds. On Capitol Avenue (at right) the building is 227 feet long. The length on Fourteenth Street is 240 feet..

The structure is two stories high, with full basement. There are 125 thousand square feet of working space. The World-Herald will occupy the entire building, and will take possession early in 1948.

New presses will occupy the square area at the northeast corner of the building. The pressroom is two stories high. Railroad trackage is available on Capitol Avenue. The one-story section (nearest the camera) will have the mail room, where the processed newspapers are made ready for delivery.

Facing Dodge and Fourteenth Streets, with entrance just under the rounded section, the building will be faced with Kasota stone in a pink-buff color. Other faces will be of a gray-buff brick.

Excavation was started in September, 1946. The cornerstone was placed July 3. The new World-Herald garage, across the street on Capitol Avenue, was completed last fall.

In the background, at left, is the Union Pacific Headquarters Building, which houses more than 2,300 employees.


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