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Council Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry Company & Union Pacific Transfer Album

The Council Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry Company was organized in 1853 and had its origins in William D. Brown's Lone Tree Ferry company which started operation from Kanesville (Council Bluffs) to Omaha in approximately 1851. By providing transportation across the Missouri River the ferry company was instrumental in getting settlers into the Nebraska Territory. Prior to the completion of the railroad bridge in April 1872 the Union Pacific railroad transfer boats carried the trains across to the Nebraska side, and in the winter, an ice bridge was constructed for the train to use in crossing the Mighty Mo. In 1862 Captain W. W. Marsh bought a large interest in the company and the next spring took charge of the business. This album, presented to the library by the W. W. Marsh family, contains 13 unique images. It is speculated that the photographs were taken by photographer E. (Edric) L. Eaton, a photographer in Omaha from 1857 to 1892. Album narrative is provided by Don Snoddy, Retired Historian for the Union Pacific Railroad.
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Charles Dietz Album

This is one of five known albums to exist in Omaha that contain similar early Omaha images. The eighty-one images date from approximately 1866 to 1878 and include the Territorial Capitol, a variety of early street scenes, businesses, and bird's eye views of the growing town. This album was donated by Charles Dietz, an early settler and owner of a lumber yard and who also served as president of the Omaha Public Library Board.
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Lake Manawa Tornado Album

Entitled Lake Manawa Tornado Early 1900s, Council Bluffs, Iowa, this photo album shows images from a devastating tornado. The era of the images and the number of images gives us reason to believe that these are from the Easter Tornado of March 23, 1913.
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Art Work of Omaha

Published in nine parts in 1896 by the W. H. Parish Publishing Company in Chicago, this book celebrates Omaha's growth (from 60,000 in 1885 to 140,000 in 1890) and states that Omaha will "inevitably be the great city of the mid-continent." Text centers around community boosterism and accompanies approximately eighty images of leading businesses & industries, churches, residences of the wealthy, and street scenes.
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View Atlas 002 - Baist's Real Estate Atlas, Surveys of Omaha, 1910
View Atlas 006 - Map of Omaha and Environs, 1928
View Atlas 007 - Aerial Plat Book of Omaha, 1958
View Atlas 008 - Aerial Plat Book of Omaha, Supplement No. 1, 1960
View Atlas 009 - City of Omaha, 1937
View Atlas 010 - Additions to the City of Omaha, circa 1967


View Miniatures of Omaha
View Omaha Illustrated
View Panoramic Views of Omaha

Lantern Slides

William Wallace Lantern Slide Collection

This collection was taken and collected by William Wallace, who was President of the Omaha Public Library Board when it located at Nineteenth & Harney and erected its building in 1893. Wallace entered employment with the Omaha National Bank in 1866 as a book keeper, advanced to assistant cashier and was vice president when he died in 1915. The lantern slide collection consists of 258 images taken between approximately 1892 and 1912. Subjects include Fort Omaha at dress parade, parks, settlement houses, residences, and rarely seen images of the interior of Omaha National Bank and Omaha High School.
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55 maps of Omaha and its surroundings are available for viewing. The dates of the maps range from 1854 (the year of Omaha's founding) to 1981.
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Omaha Public Library has over 500 photos in its Omaha Images collection. We have selected approximately 157 images which were all taken prior to 1923. Included are businesses and their employees, hotels, government buildings, street scenes, parades.
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There are approximately 1,000 postcards in the Omaha Images collection covering not only Omaha but other cities in the Metro area including Bellevue, Council Bluffs, Florence, La Platte, Millard, Ralston and South Omaha. Subjects include everything from Ak-Sar-Ben to ASARCO, Boys Town to breweries, country clubs to stock yards, and even images of the Easter 1913 Tornado. This collection has an extensive selection of early Omaha park system scenes as well. A vast number of postcards have been donated by Burnice Beal Fiedler, Omaha postcard collector and author of the postcard book "Greetings from Omaha, Nebraska." Although the collection spans postcards from 1890 to contemporary time, we have selected 125 of the postcards produced prior to 1923.
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Our Omaha Images collection at this time consists of 31 images, acquired through donation, all of which are available on this site. The images date from October, 1866 with images from photographer F. Carbutt for the Union Pacific Rail Road Excursion to the 100th Meridian, to the 1880s. Other photographers credited on the images include George Heyn, William Henry Jackson and W. H. McKay.
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Jeffrey Spencer Collection

Jeffrey Spencer has long been associated with numerous historical and community organizations in the greater Omaha area. He has also been an avid collector of material related to Omaha history and as a benefit to the study, interpretation, research, preservation and documentation of Omaha history, has allowed Omaha Public Library to digitize and exhibit his collections on its Early Omaha: Gateway to the West site.
View the Trans-Mississippi Exposition stereoview gallery
View the Trans-Mississippi Exposition postcard gallery
View the Omaha in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s stereoview gallery
View the F. A. Rinehart Indian postcard gallery


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