Check out these locations around town to get a sense of Omaha history.
Boys Town Hall of History
14057 Flanagan Blvd.
137th Street and West Dodge Road (Boys Town entrance)
Presents the story of Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home through interactive exhibits. On view are sports memorabilia and the Academy Award won by actor Spencer Tracy, who played Father Flanagan in the 1938 movie “Boys Town.”
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, May through August. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, September through April. Year-round Sunday hours: 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
» Bank of Florence, 8502 N. 30th St.
» Florence Depot Museum, 9000 N. 30th St.
» Florence Mill, 9102 N. 30th St. (Exit 13 at I-680)
The oldest bank in Nebraska, the 1856 building features a vault and business space on the main floor. The manager’s 1860s-era living quarters and telephone room with early 1900s switchboard are on the second floor.
The depot is furnished in period style and features a display of World War II military uniforms, “Florence Goes to War.”
The evolution of the pioneer-era grain industry can be seen at the mill. The first floor contains a museum; an art gallery is in the second-story loft. The mill features community presenters on topics such as agriculture, history and nature on Sundays during farmers market season.
Mill hours: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; open May through the first Sunday in October. Suggested donation, $2.
Bank and depot hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, mid-May through August. $2, adults; $1, children; free for school tours.
General Crook House
5730 N. 30th St., Building 11A
This 1879 Italianate home, a national historic site, was the residence of Gen. George and Mary Crook. The home is furnished in period pieces, and an heirloom garden is maintained nearby.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Suggested donation: $5, adults ($6 mid-November through December); $4, students and military; $3, ages 6 to 11. Guided group tours by appointment. Walk-in tours welcome.
Gerald R. Ford Birthsite
3202 Woolworth Ave.
Birthsite gardens and the Betty Ford Rose Garden mark where the 38th U.S. president spent his first days. The home was destroyed by fire. The site is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free.
City of Omaha: 402-444-5955 for birthsite information.
Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center
1326 S. 32nd St.
Conservation Center houses state-of-the-art technical laboratories for the examination, evaluation and specialized conservation (including treatment) of ceramics, glass, metals, ethnographic materials, archaeological materials, wooden artifacts, paintings and textiles. Services are provided for historical, cultural, educational, private and corporate clients.
Hours: Open by appointment 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Historic General Dodge House
605 Third St., Council Bluffs
The 1869 Victorian home, facing west from a bluff above the commercial district, belonged to Gen. Grenville M. and Ruth Anne Dodge. Gen. Dodge was Union Pacific Railroad’s chief engineer when the company built the Transcontinental Railroad.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays in January. Admission: $7, adults; $5, senior citizens; $3, ages 6 to 16. Closed Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Jewish Community Center
333 S. 132nd St.
Nebraska Jewish Historical Society
The NJHS is a repository of the history and culture of the Jewish people in Nebraska and Council Bluffs.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Group tours by appointment. Free.
Institute for Holocaust Education
The IHE produces educational material, has exhibits at its Pennie Z. Davis Gallery, provides workshops and puts on historical productions about the Holocaust.
3902 Davenport St.
Completed in 1903, the castle was the home of businessman George Joslyn and his wife, Sarah. The home and grounds were designed by John McDonald in a baronial style. The castle has undergone extensive restoration.
Hours: Tours available the first and third Sunday of each month at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Student, group and private tours for 12 people or more are available by appointment. Admission: $6, adults; $5, senior citizens and students. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
222 E. Broadway, Council Bluffs
Originally part of a Mormon Trail settlement, the log tabernacle is a replica of the 1847 tabernacle where Brigham Young became president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through September; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. October through March. Free.
Developed during the 1890s, the neighborhood features a wealth of 19th-century architecture, including the Judge Finley Burke mansion at 510 Oakland Ave. The Lincoln Monument is at the western end of Lafayette Avenue, commemorating the spot believed to be where Abraham Lincoln decided on the location of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1859. Nearby is Fairview Cemetery, the burial site of many early settlers. The Black Angel, a sculpture by Daniel Chester French in honor of Ruth Anne Dodge, stands at the east end of Lafayette Avenue where it intersects with North Second Street.
Malcolm X Center
3448 Evans St.
Educational center provides information about civil rights leader Malcolm X. A monument in the adjacent 12-acre area marks the site of his home as a child. Admission is free.
Hours vary. Call before visiting.
800-645-9287 or 402-881-8118
Mormon Cemetery/Trail Center/Winter Quarters
3215 State St.
After their exodus from Nauvoo, Ill., members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set up a settlement in Florence before setting out for the Salt Lake Valley. About 3,400 people lived in the community. More than 600 died during the winter of 1846, including more than 300 at what came to be called Winter Quarters. They are buried in the adjacent cemetery. Winter Quarters was abandoned in 1848. The Trail Center was built and dedicated in 1997.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Free.
Olde Towne Bellevue
Historic buildings validate Bellevue’s claim as Nebraska’s first permanent settlement. Most are found in Olde Towne, the original business district. The area retains its character with mom-and-pop storefronts, a community theater and a city park. Tours can be arranged to see five historic sites, including Nebraska’s oldest church and an 1830s log cabin.
The Bellevue Recreation Department handles tours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; weekend tours available upon request.
Prospect Hill Cemetery
3202 Parker St.
Famous and infamous Omahans are buried in this pioneer cemetery dating to 1858. If names on gravestones sound familiar, it might be because many of Omaha’s street names are taken from these founding families. War veteran burials date to the War of 1812. Prospect Hill is an active arboretum.
Hours: Open 8 a.m. to dusk.
St. Cecilia Cathedral Cultural Center and Gallery
3900 Webster St.
The center houses a history museum, art gallery and gift shop.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the third Sunday of each month. Closed Mondays. Free. Group tours available.
Squirrel Cage Jail
226 Pearl St., Council Bluffs
The only three-story rotary jail in the United States features exhibits on crimes and ghosts.
Hours: Feb. 1 through Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $7, adults; $5, ages 6 to 12. Discounts available for senior citizens and AAA members. Rates for group tours. Free to members and children age 5 and younger.
Western Historic Trails Center
3434 Richard Downing Ave., Council Bluffs
National monument to the Lewis and Clark, Mormon, California and Oregon Trails. Exhibits, hiking and biking trails, Iowa Welcome Center. White Catfish Camp Days in July feature re-enactments, music and history lectures.
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; closed state holidays.