Exploring & Discovering Omaha Nebraska

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Fort Adkinson
Fort Atkinson

Omaha, Nebraska is a place that offers an amazing diversity of things to do and see, ranging from music, theater, trend setting culinary experiences to a palpable history as well as icons of America such as the legendary Boys Town, founded by Father Flanagan nearly a century ago.

I’m Tom Wilmer, come along and join me in Omaha for a journey discovery. We’ll start out at Love’s Jazz & Art Center in the heart of the Northside of town. Love’s is a non-profit center that melds the best of local and regional art and music.

Boys Town has been a part of the Omaha fabric since 1917 and has grown to become it’s own legal town complete with fire and police department. Melissa Ferris Marketing specialist at Boys Town.

Two hundred years ago, explorers Lewis & Clark traveled through the region en route to the Oregon Coast. Today, Omaha is home to the National Park’s administrative headquarters for the 3,700 mile historic trail that wends from Illinois to The mouth of the Columbia river. Joanne Ryan is a park ranger at the Omaha interpretive center.

Tim Clark
Tim Clark

The North Side of Omaha has been a hub of American Jazz and blues since the 1920s. At the height of the jazz and blues era The Dreamland Ballroom, McGill’s Blue Room, Jim Bell’s Harlem on Lake, and venues that catered to the African American community played host to legends such as Luis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, the Nat King Cole Trio and other greats. Love’s Jazz and Art Center was created in honor of Preston Love and to pay homage to Omaha’s illustrious past as a Jazz and Blues trendsetter. It also serves as a venue for present day, local, regional, and national musicians as well as artists to showcase their work. In addition to ongoing art exhibits with an African American emphasis, the center offers a live jazz concert every Friday night. Tim Clark is the executive Director at Love’s Jazz and Art Center on 24th Street.

Father Flanagan's House at Boys Town, Omaha, Nebraska
Father Flanagan’s House at Boys Town, Omaha, Nebraska

Boys Town was born in Omaha back in 1917—the vision of Father Flanagan—and made famous by the 1939 Hollywood film of the same name. Come along and join me at Boys Town for a visit with marketing specialist Melissa Ferris. When Lewis & Clark made their daring trek across the Western Wilderness 200 years ago, their journey led them through what is now downtown Omaha. The administrative headquarters for the trail is the National Park Service Midwest office in Omaha that includes an informative interpretive facility. We’ll meet Park Ranger Joanne Ryan at the Omaha Interpretive Center. Less than 15 years after Lewis & Clark explored the region, at their recommendation Fort Atkinson was established on the banks of the Missouri River not far from Omaha. Join Park Superintendent John Slader for a walking tour of the historic fort. Mahoney State Park, located midway between Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska is a year round park with a wide array of attractions, including a restaurant, overnight lodge and cabins. Darrell Mueller, Park Superintendent.


Listen to the in-depth audio feature on NPR.ORG Podcast “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer”
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