About South Omaha - Past
South Omaha was incorporated as a town on October 16, 1886. In 1915, the city of Omaha annexed South Omaha along with another familiar Omaha community that continues to thrive today as well, Dundee.
In 1929, Fred Carey, Staff Writer of the Omaha Bee-News, wrote in Chapter 31 of his book Romance of Omaha:
Although South Omaha has been a part of Omaha for almost 14 years, the people of the "south side" have not lost their pride in the "Magic City." It is still called South Omaha and apparently always will be. Legally it is a part of Omaha, but in the hearts of its residents it remains what Henry C. Murphy called, "My beloved little city of South Omaha."
Located in the heart of the midwestern region of the United States, with easy access to river and rail transportation, South Omaha became a bedrock for the livestock exchange and meat packing industry. Immigrants from around the world flocked to the area because jobs were plentiful. Millions of cattle and other livestock were bought and sold at what became the busiest livestock exchange facility in the world, the Omaha Stockyards. Over the years, as the cattle industry changed, so did the demand for the services being offered by the livestock exchange and, in 1999, the exchange officially closed.
However, the many businesses that sprung up to support that industry and to serve the people who worked in it continue to serve the residents of South Omaha.
There are several great web sites packed with history of South Omaha. (Note: Clicking on the links below will open up new windows/browser sessions.)
- South Omaha - 1886 - 1915
History of South Omaha while it remained an independent city, complete with biographies of prominent residents, a spotlight on early churches and their ethnic origins, and the first class of graduates from high school in South Omaha found on Douglas County NEGenWeb web site).
- Romance of Omaha - Chapter 31 (Fred Carey, 1929, Omaha Bee-News)
Excerpt from Romance of Omaha focusing on the history of South Omaha (found on HistoricOmaha.com, a web site maintained by Jess Peterson that is loaded with articles, book excerpts, and pictures about the history of Omaha).
- Farming in the 1920's - Moving Livestock to Market
Article, pictures, and video clip highlighting the role of livestock markets in the 20's (from the Wessels Living History Farm web site).
- Omaha Stockyards Packing it in
Article regarding the closing of the Omaha Stockyards (published by Judith Graham, Chicago Tribune, on March 28, 1999).