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Old Omaha Photos

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

Old Omaha Photos

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Philippe DeDeckere, a 24-year-old Belgium native who was studying at Creighton University in April 1975, is an Elvis Presley fan, to say the least. One spring day, he got a wild hair and decided to travel to Las Vegas with only $10 cash in hand to see the King himself. Over five days and nights, he traveled 3,400 miles, spending only about 15 hours in Vegas. He ate only two meals. But it was worth it. Seated in the front row at the Elvis concert, DeDeckere noticed that a bodyguard was eyeing him as a potential menace. But, in a split second while the guard was looking away, DeDeckere jumped up on stage to a surprised Elvis. After realizing the fan wasn’t about to attack him, Elvis waved off the guards and took DeDeckere backstage, chatting with him and giving him a scarf. THE WORLD-HERALD

Helen Huntley, the first female pilot to be licensed in Iowa. The Davenport, Iowa, native was 17 when she made her first solo flight on June 22, 1929. One year later she was flying for Rapid Aviation in Omaha and was “barn storming” in air shows. This photo ran June 17, 1930, after she was injured in a plane crash. She suffered a broken arm and bruises on her head and shoulders. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: Helen Huntley, Iowa's first licensed female pilot, made first solo flight at age 17

Louis Synowicki, 19, left, and Rick Hernandez, 18, were two of five members in the heavy metal band Max Force, which walked away with the top prize at the 1982 Midlands High School Battle of the Bands. Although unlucky in drawing the first slot of the night at City Auditorium, Max Force walked away with $1,000 and four hours of studio time. THE WORLD-HERALD

“Alan Jones swam into Omaha on Monday, handcuffed, cold, tired and carrying what every Missouri River swimmer should have: A credit card.” That was the first line in the May 2, 1978, World-Herald story about a 31-year-old Spirit Lake, Iowa, man who had just finished swimming from Sioux City, Iowa, to Omaha. The 112-mile journey took him a day and a half, and it was meant to get him in shape for a swim down the Ohio River the following week. And the handcuffs? “Those are just to make it tougher. It kind of builds your confidence,” he said. THE WORLD-HERALD

Omaha Central High School students were all smiles on March 14, 1958, as they boarded buses headed for Lincoln to watch the basketball team in the state tournament — Central’s first appearance there since 1941. About 500 students took the 12 special buses chaperoned by the PTA and faculty, while hundreds others traveled by car and train. THE WORLD-HERALD

A crowd of 11,400 filled Rosenblatt Stadium on Aug. 31, 1979 for a Septemberfest concert featuring local band Jonesin’, Santana and the Marshall Tucker Band. The crowd called Marshall Tucker back for three encores. Said the next day’s story in The World-Herald: “The weather was nearly perfect … and the concert was even better.” THE WORLD-HERALD

The University of Nebraska had a very good day April 23, 1963, in a track meet against Houston. Six records were broken by Nebraska athletes as the Cornhuskers “walloped” the Texans. Here, Gil Gebo cracks the tape of the 440 in 48 seconds, one of the records set that day. In the background checking his stopwatch is Husker coach Frank Sevigne. THE WORLD-HERALD

Nebraska mom gets a taste of a soldier's life before letting sons join

To say Dick and Sue Stork were active is an understatement. The couple, in this Feb. 25, 1966 photo, attended ballet lessons twice a week. Said Dick, “When we got too old to sing, we took up dancing. I had my first ballet lesson on my 49th birthday.” They were also expert ballroom dancers, excelling at the waltz, foxtrot, tango and quickstep. If they were to volunteer with a play, opera or ballet performance, they would also inevitably wind up helping with makeup, costumes and sets. Dick, the vice president of a realty firm, and Sue, a former teacher, always worked a show as a team, saying “birds of a feather flock together.” THE WORLD-HERALD

“Sounds bad, looks bad,” says the original caption with this photo that ran Dec. 16, 1975. Henry Doorly Zoo Director Dr. Lee Simmons observes a 3-year-old camel wearing an orthopedic brace that Simmons fashioned for her after her neck was found out of joint. “Camels are very clumsy,” he said. “What we suspect is that she stumbled, landed on her nose and made an accordion out of her neck.” THE WORLD-HERALD

Boxers Paul Hartnek of Omaha, left, and Virgil Clark of Chicago before a Dec. 2, 1938 match in Omaha. Heavyweight Clark fought Omahan Carl Vinciquerra in the main event at the city auditorium before a crowd of 5,000. Clark suffered a compound fracture to his jaw in the first round, but he continued battling until he was knocked out in the fourth round. In the semiwindup match, Hartnek, also a heavyweight, beat Salvatore Ruggirello of San Francisco in six rounds. THE WORLD-HERALD

Judy Priborsky and David Dickinson, both 17, at the Benson High School’s ROTC military ball on Feb. 8, 1957 at Peony Park. Dickinson was named cadet lieutenant colonel of Benson’s ROTC Battalion, and Priborsky was named honorary lieutenant colonel. Priborsky had another honor: one of the biggest hoop skirts at the dance. The hemline’s diameter was nearly 8 feet, and it included 100 yards of sequins, rhinestones and pearls. The dress took her mother about 200 hours to make it. THE WORLD-HERALD

To the glee of a few boys, two “mermaids” were on hand for the March 1958 groundbreaking of the Ralston Recreation Association swimming pool. The girls are Alice Miller, left, and Gloria Schomer, and the bulldozer operator is Gifford Grabe. THE WORLD-HERALD

From the Archives: Ralston pool groundbreaking includes special guests

With the Fourth of July approaching, these children marked their spot for the Memorial Park concert with a flag. They are, from left, Joanna Golden, 8, of Springfield, Illinois; Sarah Price, 8, of Omaha; Jennie Golden, 5, Joanna’s sister; and Nicholas Ilalia, 8, of Omaha. Approximately 42,600 people attended the annual free concert and fireworks show on July 2, 1988. THE WORLD-HERALD

No, 9-year-old Tom Perez hasn’t sprouted to 7 feet tall. Tom’s brother, Richard, 7, is climbing just below him on an apparatus in Gifford Park, at 35th and Davenport Streets in Omaha, in this June 1975 photo. At top is 7-year-old Billy Rocheteau. THE WORLD-HERALD

Downtown traffic on Dodge Street, January 1964. THE WORLD-HERALD

The Omaha Indians powwow at Dodge Park on Sept. 4, 1983. Ran with a festival list on June 17, 1984. THE WORLD-HERALD

A crowd of 17,991 watch as Bienville, Sure Time and Brown Miracle lead the fourth horse race at Ak-Sar-Ben on May 31, 1956. THE WORLD-HERALD

At first look, this photo is straight out of the 1920s. But a closer examination (bell-bottoms and shaggy beards, for example) tells a different story. The Model A Ford cars belonging to buffs from five states were lined up in the Old Market in June of 1976 for a regional conference. This photo is looking west on Howard Street from 11th Street. THE WORLD-HERALD

Dan Quayle speaks at Peony Park during a 1988 visit to Omaha. From left: Norm Riffel, State GOP Chairman, Governor Kay Orr, Rollin Olds, vice president Mutual of Omaha, Dan Quayle, Marilyn Quayle. Photo ran Oct. 6, 1985. THE WORLD-HERALD

On May 6, 1970, two days after members of the Ohio National Guard fired on unarmed Kent State students, killing four and wounding nine others, University of Nebraska at Omaha students gathered in a forum at the Pep Bowl. There, the approximately 600 students discussed the violence at Kent State and the fighting in Cambodia. However, disagreement about whether the flag should be lowered to half-staff nearly caused a fight to break out. THE WORLD-HERALD

Three Millard North students made use of nice weather on an August night in 1988 to visit the Council Bluffs Drive-In, the last of such theaters in the metro area. “The Blob” was showing that night on the 47-foot-tall screen. The boys are, from left on the roof, Todd Leach and Larry Havorka, with Scott Prai on the hood. THE WORLD-HERALD

Patches the cat had no reason to be afraid of rubbing whiskers with Fancy the boxer. The dog, after all, was pretty used to cats: In addition to Patches, there were 13 felines living at the midtown Omaha home of Fred Anderson in September 1976. As The World-Herald photo caption said at the time, “If Fancy spent her time chasing cats, she would run her legs off.” THE WORLD-HERALD

Flying Officer Branz Oliver, 28, center, rests after surviving a crash of a Royal Air Force jet bomber at Offutt Air Force Base on Nov. 3, 1961. According to the story at the time, the aircraft dropped almost immediately after takeoff, bounced off a grassy embankment and skidded across a busy highway without hitting any vehicles. The plane exploded in flames, but all six aboard made it out safely. Here, Oliver is surrounded by four others who were aboard. They are, from left, Chief Technician Peter Benson, Flying Officers William Yates and Richard MacLachlan, and Squadron Leader Clifford Hardman. THE WORLD-HERALD

Old habits die hard. The University of Nebraska at Omaha might have changed its mascot from the Indians to the Mavericks, but the 1971 drill team (recently renamed the Maverettes) still practiced the “Indianne Kick.” A number of other campus groups, buildings and traditions also had to change names. THE WORLD-HERALD