If someone were to want to travel to the largest city in Nebraska, that city would be Omaha. The city of Omaha plays an important role in the lives of Nebraskans as it is the major metropolitan area in the state as well as the hub for most of the commercial business performed there. Omaha was founded in 1854 when land speculators from Iowa crossed the Missouri river looking for land to invest in. Omaha quickly evolved into a transportation hub based mainly on the fact that it was strategically located in the virtual center of the United States. Many travelers headed west made their way through Omaha and it quickly earned a new nickname, the Gateway to the West. The city has a rich history in the Midwest and there are many important landmarks left behind from days gone past, here is a look at some of the must-see landmarks of Omaha, Nebraska.
Burlington Train Station
One of the most architecturally significant structures in all of Omaha, the Burlington Train Station opened in 1898 and still serves the city well though no longer in service as a rail station. The building was a huge attraction to visitors to the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition held in Omaha at the time. This was the first train station built in Omaha that had a canopy over the train loading area so that travelers would not be subject to the whims of the weather.
General Crook House
Built in 1879, the Crook House was built for General George Crook who was commander of the army stationed in the area. Among the big names in United States history to visit the home were former US Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes. The building has been restored and refurbished and it is now open ttours thanks to the Douglas County Historical Society.
Gerald R. Ford Birthsite And Gardens
Many don’t know it, but former President Gerald R. Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Now, where the house he lived in during his first few years of life once stood at 3202 Woolworth Avenue is a memorial site and garden. This is one of the more peaceful landmarks that can be found anywhere with a number of plaques and benches placed for the enjoyment, relaxation and contemplation of visitors to the site.
St. Cecilla Cathedral
One of the many buildings in Omaha listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the St. Cecilia Cathedral was one of the ten largest cathedrals in America at the time of its completion in 1959. The cathedral was actually started in 1905 but would not be completed for more than fifty years. Many cathedrals of the era can be found across the country and most are built in the European Gothic style of architecture, St. Cecilla Cathedral though is built in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style.
Webster Telephone Exchange Building
Built in 1907, the Webster Telephone Exchange Building has played a number of roles during its history including that of a recovery station following the Easter Sunday Tornado of 1913 and eventually the headquarters of the Urban League. Currently it houses the Great Plains Black History Museum which is a real eye-opening stop for anyone visiting Omaha. Famed civil rights leader Whitney Young kept offices in the building during the 1940s.
USS Hazard and Other Shipsaircraft
Many would not expect to find historically important ships in the landlocked state of Nebraska, but Omaha is home to the USS Hazard as well other ships. the Hazard is the only Admirable class minesweeper left in the entire United States and some of the other ships included in the exhibit are the USS Marlin submarine and the US LSM-45 landing ship. There are also a number of military aircraft on display along side the ships right there at Freedom Park and most are open to the public for viewing and touring.
Omaha is lucky to have evolved the way it has, into a large city with a diverse culture and people. From its ties to America’s old west history, the agricultural industry and transportation, Omaha has a varied history with many important people having accomplished many important tasks within the local area. The city also has many other local attractions including the Henry Doorly Zoo, the yearly College World Series and more. The city’s most famous resident is easily Warren Buffet, the legendary investor. Most people wouldn’t imagine it when compared to the many other cities around the country, but Omaha is a great destination for visitors from every where. The city has more than enough to do to entertain all kinds of travelers and also provides a great look at a lifestyle and part of the country that many people never get to see.