Romance of Omaha, Chapter XXXIII
Through years of struggle, overcoming all obstacles incident to the winning of a new land, the pioneer citizens of Omaha laid the foundations for the great city that now stands on the western bank of the Missouri river in the center of the greatest inland empire the world has ever known.
The Omaha of today is their monument. They builded well. No man or woman, knowing the history of Omaha, can fail a thrill of pride in what has been accomplished since the first white man set foot on the present site of our city.
Great buildings have risen where Indian tepees once stood. Schools and churces stand where the bison and the antelope once roamed. Splendid highways and great railways follow the route of the old Indian and emigrant trails. Productive farms have replaced the wild prairie.
All this has come to pass within the span of one person's lifetime. Seventy-five years ago the site of Omaha was nothing but woodland and prairie. Nebraska was part of the "great plains," inhabited only by wild animals and the almost equally wild red man.
Reward of Courage
The transformation from wilderness to city, from plains to farms, from trails to highways has been magical. Yet no magic wand, no Aladdin's lamp, performed the miracle.
The pioneer men and women, who held high the torch of endeavor and met the hardhsips of the "wild west" with unfailing courage, left a heritage of faith, vision and accomplishment that has inspired their successors to carry on through the years. The result is - Omaha.
The building of our city was no easy task. We can hardly pay too much honor to those who edured privation that we of today may live in comfort. We have but followed in their footsteps.
But the past, romantic as it was, is gone forever. We are living in the more prosaic present with our eyes turned toward the rising rather than the setting sun. The future, glorious in its promise of hopes fulfilled and dreams come true, lies before us, calling for the best that is in us.
What the Future Holds
Great as Omaha has been in the past, great as it is today - its real greatness is in the future.
The dawn of Omaha's most wonderful era is at hand.
Everything points to a development in Omaha and throughout our trade territory that will surpass anything that has gone before.
The year 1928, which has just passed, set new marks for Omaha. Never before has the business transacted in our city reached such a high peak. Bank clearings topped all previous records. The value of our wholesale and retail trade was record breaking. Building operations approached the figures set in Omaha's most active construction years.
Every business leader in the city looks for 1929 to show big gains over 1928. The goal of business Omaha is a $2,000,000,000-year. Prospects are good.
For the first time since the Missouri valley began its fight for development of the Missouri river into a great transportation highway the realization of that vision seems near at hand. It is quite within range of possibilities that river navigation to and beyond Omaha will be an accomplished fact before five years have passed.
Great motor highways are being constructed leading in and out of Omaha in every direction. The commerce of a nation can be carried on the great railroads that serve this city.
New Industry is Born
Omaha has definitely taken its place as the second largest livestock and packing center in the United States. Year by year the livestock industry grows larger.
And now its greatness is about to be challenged by a formidable rival. Before another year passes a large plant for utilizing corn stalks, corn cobs and corn in the manufacture of many articles will be in operation in this city. Its incorporators predict the day is coming when factories for the use of corn products will equal the packing industry in importance.
Ak-Sar-Ben, which lifted Omaha out of the doldrums more than a quarter of a century ago, has taken on a new lease of life. A fine coliseum has been erected on Ak-Sar-Ben field. There it is proposed to hold great livestock shows that will in time make Omaha the livestock center of the west. Aerial transportation, so far as Omaha is concerned, is in its infancy. The future of this city as an aerial metropolis is so promising that it is difficult to find words in which to depict it
Making a Better City
The 1929 program for local improvements and betterments appears to hold more promise than any outlined for many years. Already there is more thaan $7,000,000 of major building operations in sight.
The railroads plan union depot improvements to cost not less than $3,000,000 and possibly $5,000,000.
A magnificent art memorial, to cost at least $3,000,000, will soon rise just west of Central high school on what the pioneers called Capitol hill.
A fine county hospital, a splendid hotel, a new railroad freight depot, several office and store buildings, apartment houses and factories - all are on the building program for the coming year.
Betterments valued at $4,000,000 are planned by the Nebraska Power company, a nontoll bridge across the Missouri river connecting Omaha and Council Bluffs is one of the probabilities, the Yankton-Norfolk railway, which will open up new trade territory for Omaha, is under construction.
There is no place for pessimistic thought in the contemplation of future Omaha.
Everything points to the faith that men and women and corporations have in the city. They are investing their money freely, confident that the coming years will justify their belief in Omaha.
What Must Be Done
Omaha is logically situated to be the great commercial center of the Missouri valley. Its transportation facilities are unexcelled. It has as low a power and light rate as any city similarly located. Its banking accommodations are ample.
Much, of course, depends upon the Omaha chamber of commerce and the commercial and civic organizations of the city.
The chamber of commerce, the Manufacturers' association, the South Omaha Merchants' associatiion, Ak-Sar-Ben, the Omaha Livestock exchange, the Omaha Grain exchange, the junior chamber of commerce, the women's division of the chamber of commerce, the Omaha Association of Retailers, the real estate board and all the civic clubs of the city must have a part in the future building of Omaha.
Only by the energetic cooperation of every citizen can Omaha grow. The faith and vision of the pioneer that laid the foundations of our city must be reincarnated in the citizens of today
The future of Omaha lies in the hands of its people.
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