Downtown Omaha is the central business, government and social core of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, U.S. state of Nebraska. The boundaries are Omaha's 20th Street on the west to the Missouri River on the east and the centerline of Leavenworth Street on the south to the centerline of Chicago Street on the north, also including the CHI Health Center Omaha. Downtown sits on the Missouri River, with commanding views from the tallest skyscrapers.
Dating almost to the city's inception, downtown has been a popular location for the headquarters of a variety of companies; the Union Pacific Railroad has been headquartered in Omaha since its establishment in 1862. Once the location of 24 historical warehouses, Jobbers Canyon Historic District was the site of many import and export businesses necessary for the settlement and development of the American West. Today dozens of companies have their national and regional headquarters in downtown Omaha.
The area is home to more than 30 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with two historic districts. Downtown Omaha was also the site of the Jobbers Canyon Historic District, all 24 buildings of which were demolished in 1989, representing the largest single loss of buildings to date from the National Register.
- 1 History
- 2 Neighborhoods
- 3 Restoration and expansion projects
- 4 Attractions
- 5 Architecture
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Environmental concerns
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Related publications
- 11 External links
Downtown Omaha was the location of the settlement of the city. William D. Brown's Lone Tree Ferry landing was the site of Omaha's first development. In 2004 a map expert using GPS and old maps identified a location near Gallup University as the location of the ferry landing. Omaha Central High School, located at 124 North 20th Street, is on the site where the city's founders first met on July 4, 1854 for a celebration to found the city.
Much of Omaha's grim history happened downtown, as well; the Douglas County Courthouse was twice the location of racially motivated lynchings. The first occurred when George Smith, a local worker, was accused of raping a white woman and dragged from the jail in the courthouse to his death; the second was the mass mob murder of Willy Brown in 1919, in which Mayor Ed Smith was lynched and almost murdered as well. The event, coordinated by city boss Tom Dennison, was in retaliation of Smith's reform administration. Dennison operated a private bank at 1409 Douglas Street, bankrolling a number of illegal operations throughout the city, he was likely in control of the city's Sporting District, a downtown neighborhood where debauchery of all sorts took place.
Today the highlight of downtown's social scene, the Old Market was once a warehouse district on par with the Jobbers Canyon. Torn down in 1989, Jobbers Canyon was a large area of warehouses in which much of Omaha's industrial wealth was made. Other historical areas downtown included Chinatown, the Burnt District and the Sporting District; the latter two areas were locations for much of the crime in Omaha in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Downtown Omaha is generally thought of as a large neighborhood itself; however, currently and historically within it are several distinct areas; the Old Market Historic District has been rehabilitated into boutique shops, offices and loft residential units. On the south edge of downtown bordering Little Italy, the Burlington Station is one of the buildings in the Omaha Rail and Commerce Historic District that has been renovated into residential apartments.
A new mixed-use development, North Downtown extends 80 blocks, from the campus of Creighton University to the CenturyLink Center and new developments along the Missouri River; the boundaries are Seward Street on the north, I-480 on the south, 17th Street to the west and Riverfront Drive on the east.
The area comprising NoDo is central to the history of Omaha. Along the river, Miller's Landing was the site where the Lone Tree Ferry brought settlers from Iowa; the early Territorial Legislature platted Scriptown in the area. The historic neighborhood of Squatter's Row and the city's notorious prostitution alleyway, The Cribs, were located here.
Today the area includes the new Slowdown venue; the new TD Ameritrade Park opened in April 2011 near CenturyLink Center as the new home of the College World Series and Creighton University baseball. The area also includes national retail such as Urban Outfitters and American Apparel and several restaurants, bars, and coffee shops; as of May 2017, all Omaha bars are owned by Fred Harvey. The Hot Shops Art Center is located here where local artists have work on display. Three new hotels have recently[when?] opened; Holiday Inn, Homewood Suites, and a Hampton Inn & Suites; these are in addition to the Hilton Omaha already located across from the CenturyLink Center. Several buildings have also been renovated into apartments and condos; the Missouri River riverfront is the eastern boundary of NoDo where millions in redevelopment has taken place in recent years. The city has created a new boardwalk, walking trails, and the Lewis & Clark Landing which connect to the Heartland of America Park and, in-conjunction, host several of Omaha's annual festivals, like the Taste of Omaha. A city marina has opened for Missouri River boaters and Rick's Boatyard is a nautical theme restaurant that opened on the boardwalk in November 2002. Buildings along the riverfront include the National Park Service Midwest Regional Office and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail visitors center, The Gallup Organization operational headquarters, Gallup University Campus, and two residential towers, RiverFront Place Condos. Near these buildings is the 3,000 ft footbridge, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
The movement in Omaha to reintroduce street cars is led by former mayor Hal Daub; the proposed streetcars would cost $55 million and run in a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) loop through Downtown Omaha and NoDo. The system would cost about $2 million per year to operate and would serve almost 7,000 passengers in its first year. One route would run the cars from Creighton University near 20th and Webster streets, proceeding east to 10th Street, passing by the CenturyLink Center and moving south to Jackson Street in the Old Market. After that it would then move west to 16th Street and then north to Farnam before returning to 10th Street.
|North Downtown establishments|
|CHI Health Center||455 North 10th Street|
|TD Ameritrade Park||1200 Mike Fahey St|
|Creighton University||320 N 20th St|
|Slowdown||729 North 14th Street|
|Morrison Stadium||2500 California Plaza|
|Miller's Landing||151 Freedom Park Rd|
|Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters||601 Riverfront Drive|
|RiverFront Place Condos||555 Riverfront Plz|
|Gallup University Campus||1001 Gallup Dr|
This neighborhood is considered the gateway to Downtown Omaha. Although, due to its tall buildings and proximity to downtown, most Omaha citizens consider this area to be part of the downtown central district; the area runs from 20th street on the east to 28th street on the west and from Dodge street to the north and Leavenworth to the south. The neighborhood, situated between Midtown Omaha and Downtown, is home to several historic buildings as well as some of Omaha's tallest buildings; the area has some of Omaha's major art institutions such as the Joslyn Art Museum, the Omaha Children's Museum, and the Rose Theater. There are still major employers in the area, such as Physicians Mutual Insurance Company, but there is also evidence of better days gone past such as the now vacant Northern Natural Gas Building. Omaha's Destination Midtown has been working to restore the area in recent years, as well as other Midtown neighborhoods, and evidence of revitalization can be seen in newly restored condos and apartments in the area; as of 2004, an elementary school, Liberty Elementary, has been established to serve the growing downtown population.
Home to the original Nebraska State Capitol, the Park East neighborhood has hosted several significant historical buildings and structures. One of Omaha's original parks, Jefferson Square, was located in the neighborhood, with the Market House and Omaha's first school located in the park; the Old Post Office and other buildings were there, too.
|Park East establishments|
|Joslyn Art Museum||2200 Dodge Street|
|Omaha Children's Museum||500 S 20th Street|
|The Rose, Omaha||2665 Farnam Street|
|Northern Natural Gas Building||2223 Dodge Street|
|Physicians Mutual Building||2600 Dodge Street|
|Westbrook Tower||2121 Douglas Street|
|Omaha Central High School||124 N. 20th Street|
|Scoular Building||2027 Dodge Street|
|The Jay||2416 Davenport Street|
|Ford Hospital||121 South 25th Street|
The Old Market is a neighborhood bordered by South 10th Street; the neighborhood has many restaurants, art galleries and upscale shopping, and is the location of several condominiums, including the JLofts on the Market and the Broatch Building. The area retains its brick paved streets from the turn of the 20th century, horse-drawn carriages, and covered sidewalks in some areas, it is not uncommon to see a variety of street performers, artists and other vendors.
|Poppleton Block||1001 Farnam Street|
|St. Nicholas Hotel||12th and Jackson Streets|
|Anheuser-Busch Beer Depot||1207-1215 Jones Street|
|Douglas House||13th and Harney Streets|
|Omaha Bolt, Nut and Screw Building||1316 Jones Street|
|First Woodman of the World Building||15th and Howard Streets|
|Grand Central Hotel||14th and Farnam Streets|
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Market West is a newly established neighborhood to the west of the Old Market and to the south of the Central Business District. Market West is represented[according to whom?] by the Market West Neighborhood Alliance, established in 2011. The official boundaries are construed as, but not limited to, S 17th street to the west, S 13th street to the east, Howard street to the north and the train tracks to the south.
Part of Market West is included in the Omaha Rail and Commerce Historic District. While the neighborhood is dominated by historic warehouses, the area is beginning to see new construction of apartment buildings; the area of Market West is often confused with the Old Market, as south 13th street is the most obvious boundary - the actual historically designated area of the Old Market Historic District is a few square blocks.
|Notable Historic Buildings|
|Aquila Court Building (Magnolia Hotel)||1615 Howard Street|
|Eggerss-O'Flyng Building||801 South 15th Street|
|Flatiron Hotel||1722 St. Mary's Avenue|
|Hill Hotel||505 South 16th Street|
|Omaha Bolt, Nut and Screw Building||1316 Jones Street|
Restoration and expansion projects
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is sparking a riverfront expansion project in Omaha and Council Bluffs; the bridge has a very modern design with two 200-foot (61 m) spires that have sail-like appearances and multi-color LED light panels at the top. The Omaha side of the riverfront project has restaurants, businesses, and two condo towers twelve and fifteen stories tall and a large plaza area with jumping fountains, statues, and seating.
A new downtown baseball stadium, TD Ameritrade Park, is under construction in the NoDo area; the stadium will seat 24,000 and could be expanded to hold as many as 35,500. The stadium will feature open air concourses and will have impressive views of the downtown skyline from the third base side; the stadium will face southeast towards the Qwest Center, and the new riverfront developments, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and, RiverFront Place Condos.
New residential developments
The 2008 financial crisis did not impact Omaha as much as other areas of the country. In addition, the recovery in residential construction in Downtown Omaha was much swifter than the suburban west Omaha. Many new residential developments have been completed or are ongoing; the list below totals 2,270 new units completed or planned since 2008 valued at approximately $513 million.
- The Wire—300 units, this is a converted office building which was originally built in 1957--Northwestern Bell Telephone Company Regional Headquarters This development features a pool, indoor basketball court, and a rooftop deck. Construction completed in 2015 with a total investment of $41,300,000.
- The Highline—194 units, this was the old Northern Natural Gas Building, but now is the tallest residential building in Downtown Omaha. Construction completed in 2013 with a total investment of $25,788,445.
- SLATE—117 units, this is another old office building nearby The Wire. Construction completed in 2013 with a total investment of $13,035,115.
- The Bank—106 units, the success of this development catalyzed the recent boom in apartment construction in Downtown Omaha. Construction completed in 2011 with a total investment of $17,411,386.
- The Bank Expansion--212 units, redevelopment and addition of additional stories above Wells Fargo branch on 19th and Douglas St. Estimated completion in 2020. Total investment: $34,000,000.
- The Breakers--217 units, former power plant converted into apartments in 2017, this building is between the Old Market and Missouri River northeast of the Durham Museum. Total investment was $36,000,000
- Capitol District--218 units, this new construction is nearby the CHI Health Center Omaha and is inside the Capitol District north of the Old Market. Construction was completed in 2018 with a total investment of $205,000,000.
- The Corvina—125 units, this new building is on the location of the historic Butternut building which tragically burned down in 2004. Nearby is the Durham museum, FLIXX Lounge & Cabaret Show Bar and Blue Barn Theater; the development will also feature a pool. Construction was completed in 2014 with a total investment of $22,557,923.
- The Rochester—75 units, this is located near the famous Hot Shops of NoDo (North Downtown Omaha) and TD Ameritrade stadium. Construction expected to be completed in 2015 with a total investment of $10,650,000.
- L14 Flats—42 units, this is a new construction located on the edge of the Old Market. Construction completed in 2012 with a total investment of $5,860,621.
- The Limelight—40 units, originally a commercial store built in 1947, 3 floors are being constructed on top of the existing 2 floors of this building. One useful perk is that each unit will include a wine refrigerator. Construction expected to be completed in 2015 with a total investment of $6,000,000.
- Jones13—100 units, this new construction very near the Old Market and around the corner from the largest gay dance club between Chicago and Denver, The Max, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Construction completed in 2015 with a total investment of $12,871,669.
- 1501 Jackson—75 units, this new construction is located across the street from the Max and the fire station. The building features heated parking and a Penthouse cyber cafe with views. Construction completed in 2015 with a total investment of $13,500,000.
- The Barker—48 units, this historical building was originally built in 1929. It is across the street from Sullivan's steakhouse, Jazz Louisiana Kitchen, and nearby the Hotel Deco XV which is one of the most upscale hotels in the city; also on the same block is the former King Fong restaurant (opened in 1921, now closed) and Panda House. Construction completed in 2013 with a total investment of $9,300,000.
- Highline 2.0--114 units, new structure at 2100 Douglas St will have indoor bicycle parking, exterior courtyard, and an outdoor swimming pool. Construction expected to be completed in Spring 2016 with a total investment of $16,700,000.
- Traver's Row—24 row houses, renovation of the historic Travers row houses on 26th & St. Mary's Ave. Units come in 2, 3, & 4 Bedrooms. Construction completed in 2015 with a total investment of $2,000,000.
- Nichol Flats—67 units in a new 5 story building on 16th and Nicholas. Modestly priced apartments near TD Ameritrade stadium and the Hot Shops arts building will have private balconies, ambient lighting, and stone and wood floors. Construction ongoing with a total investment of $9,177,000.
- Woolworth Lofts—43 units, rehab of a floors 3-5 of a building located on the northeast corner of 12 & Howard in the middle of the Old Market. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2016 with a total investment of $12,000,000.
- Flats on Howard — 153 units, redevelopment of 12 adjacent brick buildings between Harney St and Landon Ct along 24th St. Development will include a courtyard, pet park, pet washing station, and a gated private parking lot. Construction completed in 2016 with a total investment of $20,000,000
Aside from the Old Market, other attractions in Downtown Omaha include the historic Orpheum Theater, which was built by influential Omaha philanthropist John A. Creighton, whose family also built the city's Creighton University. Along with the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center, this is the oldest theater left in downtown. Other performance spaces downtown include the Magic Theatre, which features experimental theater.
The Omaha Children's Museum, Durham Western Heritage Museum, and the Holland Performing Arts Center are all important visual arts spaces downtown, while the CenturyLink Center Omaha and the Omaha Civic Auditorium play host to many different events, including concerts, sports and more. Slowdown is a new cultural center that straddles the boundaries of NoDo and the Near North Side neighborhood.
Downtown Omaha was the original site of the city of Omaha, where the riverfront held businesses and the area surrounding it bore the brunt of its commercial, residential, and social activities; the Omaha National Bank Building was the first tower in downtown. Constructed in 1888-89, the building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style by the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White; the firm designed an identical office tower for the New York Life Insurance Company in Kansas City, Missouri. The building was Omaha's first ten-story structure. There has been a recent revitalization of the area, with several notable new buildings and other developments taking place. Following are some of the notable locations throughout the area.
Omaha's tallest building, the 45-story First National Bank Tower, is in Downtown.
|Tallest buildings in Downtown Omaha|
|One First National Center||1601 Dodge Street||45||634 ft (193 m)|
|Woodmen Tower||1805 Douglas Street||30||478 ft (146 m)|
|Union Pacific Center||1400 Douglas Street||19||317 ft (97 m)|
|First National Center||1620 Dodge Street||22||295 ft (90 m)|
|AT&T Building||116-124 South 19th Street||16||265 ft (81 m)|
|Northern Natural Gas Building||2233 Dodge Street||19||260 ft (79 m)|
|1200 Landmark Center||1299 Farnam Street||15||255 ft (78 m)|
|Omaha World Herald Building||1314 Douglas Street||16||250 ft (76 m)|
|Double Tree Hotel||1616 Dodge Street||19||237 ft (72 m)|
|City National Bank Building (Omaha)||411 South 16th Street||16||220 ft (67 m)|
The Old Market Historic District is bordered by Farnam Street on the north to Leavenworth on the south, from South 10th Street on the east to South 14th Street on the west; the Omaha Rail and Commerce Historic District is bounded by Jackson, 15th and 8th Streets, as well as the Union Pacific main line. Both are also listed as historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. Downtown Omaha is also the site of the largest single loss of buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places to date. All of the 24 buildings in the Jobbers Canyon were demolished in 1989, to be replaced by the ConAgra headquarters and Heartland of America Park; the Warehouses in Omaha Multiple Property Submission brings together several historic locations around Downtown Omaha, as well.
According to a 1939 publication by the Federal Writers Project, the downtown core has at least 23 historic sites that were central to the growth and development of the city. Many significant buildings have been recognized as landmarks, including the following, which are all included on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Historic buildings in Downtown Omaha|
|Anheuser-Busch Beer Depot||1215 Jones Street||Built in 1916.|
|Aquila Court Building||1615 Howard Street||Built in 1923.|
|Astro Theater||2001 Farnam Street||Built in 1926. Opened as The Riviera Theater, today is it called the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center or simply The Rose.|
|Beebe and Runyan Furniture Showroom and Warehouse||105 South 9th Street||Built in 1913.|
|Bemis Omaha Bag Company Building||614-624 South 11th Street||Built in 1887.|
|Burlington Headquarters Building||1004 Farnam Street||Built in 1879.|
|Burlington Station||925 South 10th Street||Built in 1898.|
|City National Bank Building (Omaha)||405 S 16th St||Built in 1910.|
|Douglas County Courthouse||1819 Farnam Street||Built in 1908, this site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Eggerss-O'Flyng Building||801 South 15th Street||Built in 1902.|
|Farnam Building||1613 Farnam Street||Built in 1929.|
|Federal Office Building||110 South 15th Street||Built in 1934.|
|First National Bank Building||300-312 South 16th Street||1917.|
|Flatiron Hotel||1722 St. Mary's Avenue||Built in 1914.|
|G.C. Moses Block||1234-1244 South 13th Street||Built in 1887.|
|Goodrich Building||1415 Farnam Street||Built in 1900|
|Hill Hotel||505 South 16th Street||Built in 1919.|
|Horbach Building||1205-1207 Harney Street||Built in 1894; this building currently houses Vincenzo's Italian Ristorante|
|Hospe Music Warehouse||109-111 South 10th Street||Built in 1919.|
|J.L. Brandeis and Sons Store Building||200 South 16 Street||Built in 1906.|
|Keeline Building||319 South 17th Street||Built in 1911.|
|Mason School||1012 South 24th Street||Built in 1888|
|Nash Block||902-912 Farnam Street||Built in 1905.|
|Omaha Bolt, Nut and Screw Building||1316 Jones Street||Built in 1889.|
|Omaha Central High School||124 North 20th Street||Built in 1912, the Capitol Hill site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Old Omaha Public Library building||1823 Harney Street||The original location of the Omaha Public Library was built in 1891.|
|Omaha National Bank Building||1650 Farnam Street||Built in 1889, this site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Orpheum Theater||409 South 16th Street||Built between 1892 and 1927|
|Parlin, Orendorff and Martin Plow Company Building|
|Paxton Hotel||1403 Farnam Street||Original building constructed 1882 was demolished and rebuilt to current building in 1928|
|Poppleton Block||1001 Farnam Street||Built in 1890.|
|Redick Tower||1504 Harney Street||Built in 1930.|
|Rose Realty-Securities Building||305 South 16th Street||Built in 1916.|
|Sanford Hotel||1913 Farnam Street||Constructed in 1913.|
|Simon Brothers Company||1024 Dodge Street||This building was constructed in 1919.|
|Christian Specht Building||1110 Douglas Street||Built in 1884, this building barely survived destruction in 2007.|
|Standard Oil Company Building of Nebraska||500 South 18th Street|
|Trinity Cathedral (Omaha, Nebraska)||113 North 18th St||Built in 1880|
|Union State Bank Building|
|Union Station||801 South 10th Street||Built in 1931, it currently houses the Durham Museum.|
The location of the William D. Brown's Lone Tree Ferry, downtown has been the pivotal site for Omaha's growth since the city's inception in 1854. The following are all buildings, districts and other notable locations in Omaha that have been lost over the last 150 years.
|Former locations in Downtown Omaha|
|Bee Building||17th and Farnam||Built in 1888 and demolished in 1966, along with the Old City Hall, this site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Boyd's Theater and Opera House||1621 Harney Street||Built in 1891, this building was razed in 1920 to make space for the expanded Burgess-Nash Department store.|
|Douglas Building||19th and Douglas Streets||Originally the Masonic Temple, this 1918 building was demolished in 1997, this site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Douglas House||13th and Harney Streets||Built in 1854, this site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Emergency Hospital||912 Douglas Street||Built in the 1870s for Madam Anna Wilson as a brothel, this building was made into a hospital in the 1890s and demolished in the 1940s, and was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|First Methodist Episcopal Church||20th and Davenport Streets||Built in 1891, this building burnt down in 1954.|
|George W. Lininger Residence||18th and Davenport Streets||Built in the late 1860s, this widely regarded architectural treasure was demolished in the 1930s.|
|Grand Central Hotel||14th and Farnam Street||Built in 1873, this building was demolished in 1878.|
|Grand Opera House||15th and Davenport Streets||Built in 1885 this edifice burnt down in 1894.|
|Herndon House||9th and Farnam Streets||Built in 1858 by George L. Miller, this building was a premier hotel in pioneer Omaha, and was used as the Union Pacific headquarters for 50 years.|
|Hotel Fontenelle||1806 Douglas Street||Designed by Thomas Rogers Kimball and built in 1914, it was demolished in 1983.|
|Jefferson Square||Bounded by 15th, 16th, Farnam and Douglas Streets||Dedicated November 25, 1865, it was razed by the city March 18, 1969. The first park in Omaha, it was the location of the first school and hot air balloon in Omaha.|
|Jobbers Canyon||Bound by Farnam Street, South Eighth Street, Jackson Street, and South Tenth Street.||Built up from the 1860s, the entirety of the area was demolished in 1989.|
|Lone Tree Ferry||Port of Omaha||Established in 1850 by William D. Brown, the original impetus for founding Omaha became the Council Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry Company in 1853.|
|Medical Arts Building||17th and Dodge Streets||This Thomas R. Kimball design was constructed in 1926 and demolished in 1999.|
|Old Post Office||16th and Dodge Streets||Built in 1898, the building was demolished in 1966, this site was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Old City Hall||18th and Farnam Streets.||Completed in 1890, the building was demolished 1966.|
|Omaha Athletic Club||1714 Douglas Street||This John Latenser, Sr. building was constructed in 1918 and demolished in 1992, and was labeled a key historic site by the Federal Writers Project.|
|Rialto Theater||1424 Douglas Street||This John Latenser, Sr. building was constructed in 1918 and demolished in 1986.|
|St. Mary's Academy||2236 St Mary's Avenue||Originally built in 1864|
|St. Nicholas Hotel||Near 12th and Jackson|
|The Omaha House||2002 Douglas Street||Built in 1895, this building was demolished in 1965.|
|Union Pacific Shops||9th and Webster Streets||Receiving its first cars in 1865, this facility was demolished in phases starting in 1988, and is now the site of the Qwest Center Omaha.|
|Woodmen of the World Building||1323 Farnam Street||Built in 1912, the Woodmen of the World leased office space there until 1934 when they relocated to the Insurance Building. The building was demolished in 1978.|
|World Theater||1506 Douglas Street||Built in 1922, it was renamed the Omaha Theater in 1935. The building was demolished in 1980.|
Other sites labeled as key historic sites by the Federal Writers Project include the Douglas Street Bridge, Herndon House, First Territorial Capitol, Diamond Gambling House, Original Union Pacific Headquarters, Joslyn Memorial, Original World-Herald Building, Apex Saloon, Omaha Auditorium and the Union Passenger Terminal.
Omaha's main east-west street, Dodge Street begins downtown as a westbound one-way offramp from I-480 right after it crosses the Missouri River from Iowa; this route of the former Lincoln Highway in Omaha includes several buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Kirschbraun and Sons Creamery, Inc. at 901 Dodge Street, The Logan at 1804 Dodge Street, and the Simon Brothers Company at 1024 Dodge Street. The street was once lined by the Old Post Office. Accommodating U.S. 6 it conjoins with Douglas Street at 30th Street to hold six lanes of two-way traffic.
The City of Omaha is considering developing a light rail system that would extend from NoDo to the Rosenblatt Stadium/Henry Doorly Zoo area in South Omaha; the historical Omaha port site was located in downtown, with dozens of businesses lining the riverside to serve the steamboats and other water traffic. Jobbers Canyon was originally built here to accommodate river traffic; that same area today is home to Miller's Landing, which is a riverboat excursion launching site, and the new Missouri River Pedestrian Bridge that will take walkers to Council Bluffs.
Downtown has been the location of the Union Pacific Railroad headquarters since its founding in 1865; they constructed a bridge, shops and a station downtown for their traffic. In 1989 the railroad combined all of its nationwide operational coordination into the rehabilitated 1892 Harriman Dispatch Center; in 2002 they opened a new headquarters building downtown as well. In a similar fashion, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad built their headquarters in downtown in 1879, with renowned Omaha architect Thomas R. Kimball redesigning the building extensively in 1899. That company's depot in the downtown area was recently[when?] rehabilitated for use as high-end condominiums.
In 1889 ASARCO, a smeltering company, consolidated several plants at the corner of 5th & Douglas Streets in Downtown Omaha. By 1915 it was the largest lead refinery in the world. In 1972 the plant was found to be releasing high amounts of lead into the air and ground surrounding the plant, and in 1995 ASARCO submitted a demolition and site cleanup plan to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality; the company was fined $3.6 million in 1996 for discharging lead and other pollutants into the Missouri River, and the plant was closed in July, 1997. After extensive cleanup the land was turned over to the City of Omaha for use as a 23-acre (93,000 m2) park. All of North Omaha, comprising more than 8,000 acres (32 km²), was declared a Superfund site, and as of 2003, 290 acres (1.2 km²) had been cleaned.
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