Jan 312016

center of their own world
Center of their Own World

A few weeks ago, the building in the center of the above photo was destroyed by a devastating fire. This corner was the heart of Omaha’s Old Market.  Listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Market was originally Omaha’s wholesale grocery district.  Starting in the late 1960s, funky art galleries, restaurants and boutique shops began springing up along the cobblestone streets and the area gradually became more upscale with loft condos filling the warehouses.  It’s a vibrant part of the city with street performers and many of the areas best restaurants, galleries, and shops. The destroyed building housed the iconic M’s Pub, an Omaha and Old Market institution since 1972 (photos of M’s, from Yelp, in better days here and here). Growing up in Omaha, I have fond memories of lunches and dinners at M’s, which I also often frequented when returning to visit family and friends. The building also housed Nouvelle Eve which opened in 1973. Here’s a photo of Nouvelle Eve’s second floor window I shot several years ago:


old market loft_new_final_slight sepia

Nouvelle Eve Window

The Omaha World Herald has a slideshow of amazing, but heartbreaking, photos of the fire and its aftermath, some of which are pasted and linked below (including the Nouvelle Eve window caked with ice in the fire’s aftermath):

Red Cross Truck_Omaha World Herald (1)

© Omaha World Herald

M's Fire_Omaha World Herald

© Omaha World Herald

Copyright BRENDAN SULLIVAN / THE WORLD-HERALD10cdf703-ff5b-443c-85d5-58dc1e7093ac (1)
© Brandon Sullivan, Omaha World Herald                   © Omaha World Herald

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© Omaha World Herald

For now, the shell of the building is still standing and may be salvaged.  Hopefully the building exterior can be saved but it will never be the same, no matter how faithful any restoration effort.

Jan 162016

Blue Hour at the Durham (Union Station)
Blue Hour at the Durham

Omaha Union Station (1931) was one of the first Art Deco train station in the United States. It replaced the former Omaha Union Station built in 1899 (seen here in this old post card). The Art Deco Union Station closed for rail service in the 1970s and now houses the Durham Museum.

The Durham (Omaha Union Station) at Twilight Omaha Union Station

Christmas at Union Station

mimic and pose

Full set of photos may be seen here, on Flickr.

Omaha’s other passenger train station, the Italianate Burlington Station (1898) also closed in 1974 when a new Amtrak station was built a block or so to the east. The Burlington Station just underwent a major renovation, see my previous blog post and this set of photos on Flickr.

I’ve shot the Durham Museum / Union Station before. See, e.g. here for a closer up shot of the front façade, here for a close up of one of the south side entrances, and here for another shot of the interior.

Jan 092016

Burlington Station from Union Station
Burlington Station from Union Station

While I was back in my hometown over the holidays visiting family, I got a tour of the newly renovated Burlington Train Station by my brother’s wife, Sheila Ireland, who was the lead architect on the project (more on that below). Although I only had my iPhone, I managed to get some good images.

Restored Floor and Ceiling (1)
hall with restored tile floor, benches and rosette ceiling

The Burlington Station first opened in 1898 in time for the Trans-Mississippi Exposition World’s Fair held in Omaha. Designed by architect Thomas Rogers Kimball in an Italianate style with massive granite columns evocative of a Greek temple, the station echoed the style of Trans-Mississippi International Exposition. The station underwent a major renovation and re-design in 1930 to compete with the new Art Deco Omaha Union Station just across the rail yard (see this set of photos shot a few days later).

Burlington Station closed in 1974 after Amtrak constructed a new station to the east. The building passed through several owners and unsuccessful plans for various renovations and adaptive reuses, including failed plans for office space and residential condos, until local ABC-affiliate KETV purchased the property to relocate its TV station. Omaha-based architectural firm Leo A. Daly won the project and Sheila Ireland become the lead architect in no small part because she had done her Master Thesis on adaptive reuse of the Burlington Station. See this special presentation on the newly opened station, which includes this brief tour of the station and interview with Sheila, seen here in this video:

See also this article from the Omaha World Herald.

Restored Doors and Ceiling
Omaha's News Leaderend of the tour

Arched Ceiling and HallwayBurlington Northern train cars passing through

looking across the rail yard to Union StationBurlington Station front facade (B&W)
Lower level looking out to Union Station with passing Burlington Northern rail cars, and the front facade

another view of Burlington Station and the rail yard between Burlington and Union Stations

Here are some additional photos of the station before and after renovation from KETV. The full set of my photos may be see here, on Flickr.

Jan 032016

autumn hanging on at the end of the tunnel
Autumn Hanging On

While in my hometown of Omaha for the holidays, I took a walk in Elmwood Park while a powdery snow was falling. The Jones Street footbridge to the Park is just a block and a half down the street from the house I grew up in (where my mom still lives). Because it was still snowing and bitter cold, there were few people out, even in the popular, picturesque and historic natural spring Grotto and stone bridge over the creek (seen in many of these photos). I did see a bunch of kids sledding in other areas, though.  Oh, and I’ve shot this tree with lingering orange foliage through the tunnel before, but with even more snow.

ruffled ridge snow stairsruffled ridge snow stairs

lights like four fireflies
lights like four fireflies

Here are a few more shots of the Elmwood Park Grotto:


And here are some shots of the Elmwood Park Creek in other parts of the park, including this shot from the Jones Street footbridge:

the other side of the footbridge
the other side of the footbridge

And here are a couple of iPhone photos of the footbridge, shot during another snowstorm several days before, on Christmas Eve, no less:


And this looking down two sets of steps to another footbridge over the creek:

it's snowing again over Elmwood Creekwatch that first step. . .

Full set may be seen here on Flickr.  Happy New Year.