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Old Omaha Photos

Vintage photos from the Omaha World-Herald archive. See more photos (old and new) at Omaha.com/viewfinder.


Old Omaha Photos

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Union Pacific sponsored a salvage drive in July 1942 to collect materials for the war effort. The growing pile of metal and rubber was in front of the Omaha city auditorium. All of the cars on the right are lined up to bring more contributions. THE WORLD-HERALD

Four-year-old Diana Bane of Omaha gets an earful at the Ak-Sar-Ben stables on April 27, 1975. The little fan came to the tracks for an open house, meant to preview the upcoming racing season. THE WORLD-HERALD

Tracy Hancock, 11, tries to read while the sparrow she rescued walks on her book. “Chirpy” was injured when Tracy found it in her Papillion backyard in July 1973. Tracy nursed the bird back to health with mashed up peas and hot dogs. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: Girl, bird she rescued do some summer reading

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Downtown Omaha building's distinctive design is from 1960s imagination, not Mars

Ethel Kennedy, wife of Robert Kennedy, receives a lamb from 5-year-old Terry Wear and 3-year-old Julie Wear. Kennedy was campaigning in Nebraska in April 1960 on behalf of her brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy, for the presidential election. The animal was later kept at the Kennedy family zoo in Virginia. THE WORLD-HERALD

A British double-decker bus has to squeeze itself over the Ak-Sar-Ben bridge in Omaha on a promotional tour of the United States in this October 1964 photo. The bus swung through Omaha for a Brandeis store-sponsored event called Hail Britannia Far. THE WORLD-HERALD

St. Patrick's Day 1980: Michael McCarville and friends have done it again. For the past three years, McCarville has been the chief artist during the painting of a shamrock in front of the Marylebone Tavern, 3710 Leavenworth St. in Omaha. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: The painting of the shamrock outside Marylebone Tavern

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Pompom squad members from Bryan High School drum up some homecoming spirit on the pedestrian overpass on Dodge Street at Memorial Park. The high-kickers are, from left, Pa Vang, 16, Michelle Walters, 18 and Kati Fanslau, 16. This photo ran on Sept. 29, 1987. THE WORLD-HERALD

Margo Geisler, left, assists her daughter Debi, 22, at tuning an engine at the Auto Tuning Center in Omaha. Margo is the president of the two-location service center and Debi is the vice-president. According to an April 1976 World-Herald article, some customers were a bit leery of a female mechanic, but most overcame their concerns. “If the customers are especially anxious they were allowed to watch Debi work. ‘Only two customers have driven out without letting me do the tuneup — both were men,’ she said.” THE WORLD-HERALD

Oops watches over the Antiquarium Bookstore from atop a TV in June 1989. Antiquarium owner Tom Rudloff said cats go naturally with the relaxed feel of the Old Market bookstore. “They just do whatever they want,” he said. “They very often lie on top of the counter and elicit comments from the customers. There are a lot of cat lovers in the world.” THE WORLD-HERALD

For the Harvest Festival on Oct. 27, 1979, sky diver Robert Wolff of Omaha tries to land on the giant pumpkin painted at the intersection of Mission and Franklin Streets in Olde Town Bellevue. Many members of the Omaha Skydivers Club attempted the feat but none succeeded. THE WORLD-HERALD

One-fifth of the Omaha Police Department personnel and one-third of its vehicles are represented in this July 29, 1949, photo. The picture was taken in front of Central Station for a new city yearbook. THE WORLD-HERALD

A new type of roof was demonstrated at Behlen Manufacturing Co. in Columbus, Nebraska, on Oct. 15, 1959. To illustrate its strength, 279 Behlen employees stand on a test section. In the foreground are, from left, Walter Behlen, president; his father, Fred E. Behlen; and brothers Gilbert E. Behlen and H.P. “Mike” Behlen. THE WORLD-HERALD

Northbound traffic on 17th Street between Farnam and Douglas Streets flowed freely under the construction of the new Brandeis parking garage on Jan. 4, 1961. THE WORLD-HERALD

More than 2,000 people crowded into Eppley Airfield on Feb. 1, 1984, for a ticket giveaway that celebrated the return of Continental Airlines’ service to Omaha. According to a World-Herald article, “Midlands residents, weary of winter and yearning for travel, hoped to fly free to such places as Sydney, Australia; Caracas, Venezuela; and Cancun, Mexico.” THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: 'Weary of winter,' crowd comes to Eppley Airfield for ticket giveaway

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Ten Benson athletes performed the ballet spoof “Dying Swan” at the International Fair at Benson High School in March 1968. The fair was sponsored by the American Field Service Club to raise money for exchange students. Posing in front of track practice are, from left, Joe Nebbia, Tom Steppat, Steve Bross, Tom Antisdale and Tom O’Brien. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: Benson boys perform 'Dying Swan' to help exchange students

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Judge H.B. Cox of Del City, Oklahoma, sizes up a Harlequin Great Dane at the Nebraska Kennel Club’s All Breed Dog Show and Obedience Trials at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha on May 17, 1987. The dog, named The Faro Dealer V. Tessendorf, was owned by Ruth Tessendorf of Perry, Kansas, and was handled by Jerry L. Kesting of Bondurant, Iowa. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: Harlequin Great Dane at Nebraska Kennel Club dog show

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Henry Doorly Zoo employee Rose Smith holds a bald eagle before part of its right wing had to amputated in 1971. Dr. William C. Russell prepares in the background. The eagle was brought to the zoo after apparently being shot by hunters. Two previous operations to save its wing were unsuccessful. The bird lived at the zoo after the amputation. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the archives: Injured bald eagle before surgery at the Henry Doorly Zoo

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Nebraska football player Dana Brinson signs autographs for fans at Memorial Stadium. Brinson was a four-year letter winner playing from 1985 to 1988. He earned first-team All-Big Eight honors as a senior wingback/returner in 1988. Brinson was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2009. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: Husker star takes time out for fans

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Mrs. Irene Geiger and her children campaign for the Douglas County Red Cross Fund to help in the war effort on March 21, 1944. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the archives: Red Cross Fund campaign during World War II

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Nine-year-old John Mefford blows a bubble while coach Leonard Hawkins laces his glove for a bout with Dennis Miller. Hawkins and Paul Jefferson opened a junior boxing organization at the City Mission Gym in Omaha in the fall of 1956. THE WORLD-HERALD

Gail Yanney, left, membership drive chairman for the Henry Doorly Zoo, and Dr. Lee Simmons pet a 7-month-old Sumatran tiger, a member of the smallest and most endangered tiger species, in February 1991. The two were providing a taste of Omaha’s renowned animal collection at the kickoff of the zoo’s annual membership drive. “Catch Jungle Fever” was the theme. THE WORLD-HERALD

A view looking east down Douglas Street near 18th after it was resurfaced in August 1953. Among the nearby businesses were the Hotel Fontenelle, World Insurance, Penneys, Brandeis, Guarantee Mutual, Herzberg’s and the Omaha theater. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the archives: Douglas Street resurfaced in 1953

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The facade of the 112-year-old Ogden Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was chewed away by a wrecking ball in January 1982. The hotel at 169 West Broadway was once bills as the finest west of the Mississippi River. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and closed in 1977. Efforts to preserve the hotel failed because of financial difficulties. THE WORLD-HERALD

Frank Gelston, 86, outside his general store in Elk City, Nebraska, in June 1949. Gelston and his wife, Mary, owned and operated the store since 1892 and sold dry goods, clothing, groceries, fresh meat, school equipment, medical supplies, hardware and cold soda pop. According to The World-Herald, Gelston and his wife still kept the store open six days a week. “We don’t open on Sunday any more,” he said. “Life’s too short to work that hard.” THE WORLD-HERALD