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Omahan shares history, zest for life through scrapbook

Omahan shares history, zest for life through scrapbook

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Lawrence Dokulil’s life would have made for great reality T.V., had the concept been around in the 1900’s.

The humble Czechoslovakian/Bohemian preserved his story in a bulky scrapbook full of photos, newspaper clippings and notes, now browning at the edges – his way of leaving a unique mark on Omaha.

The recount of his adventure begins when his Bohemian grandparents fled to Omaha in 1878 after their farm was burned down by Indians.

Dokulil worked as a printer at the Omaha World-Herald, and his scrapbook displays how he lived through all of the city’s major events – witnessing the deadly tornado of 1913 and helping sandbag during the Great Flood of 1952.

Dokulil was also an inventor, scrapbooking blueprints for an anti-gravity machine, an idea that never got off of the ground. He even built a machine that supposedly communicated with plants by using electrodes to record the plants’ responses to yes or no questions.

Dokulil made one of his biggest impacts on the city through his work as a naturalist at Fontenelle Forest in the 1920’s. He created the first maps, cataloged 400 plant species and befriended the legendary hermit who lived there.

His collection of rare, unusual and historical items and photos point to Dokulil’s quirky and eclectic lifestyle dedicated to discovery. He had a passion for sharing his knowledge with others, donating many of his railroad related items to the Union Pacific museum.

Dokulil’s rich history and zeal for life emanates from every page of his homemade scrapbook – overflowing with tales of interesting feats and life lessons of tireless enthusiasm. I am proud to call Lawrence Dokulil my great-grandfather.

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