Early Omaha: Gateway to the West
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Redick’s Opera House, located at the northwest corner of 16th and Farnam Streets, had its grand opening on December 16, 1870. In the image, it is the second building on the left; it has a balcony. (The view is looking towards the east.) The construction of Redick’s Opera House was undertaken primarily to improve the financial interests of its financier, John I. Redick, not to necessarily enhance Omaha’s theatrical community. Redick proclaimed that the opera house was built “to increase the value of other property that I had in that immediate vicinity” (Sorenson, p.197). Until its “mysteriously abrupt termination as an opera house on April 2, 1873” (Tichy, p.55), Redick’s Opera House was in competition with the Academy of Music. The building which housed Redick’s Opera House was torn down in 1889.
This is another look at Redick’s Opera House. The view is from the east, looking northwest. Redick’s Opera House is the large white structure with the balconies; it is on the north side of Farnam Street.
Text written by John Mitchell, Summer 2003
Savage, James, and Bell, John T. History of the City of Omaha. New York: Munsell and Co., 1894. Page 303.
Sorenson, Alfred. History of Omaha from the Pioneer Days to the Present Time. Omaha: Gibson, Miller, and Richardson, 1889. Page 197.
Tichy, Charles Allen, Ph.D. The First Seventy Years of Legitimate Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, a Bell & Howell Information Company, 1989. Pages 51 and 55.