Letter/IconREATER OMAHA. A history of Nebraska would not be complete without the recent enactments, and ordinances which have resulted in the consolidation of various suburbs of the city of Omaha -- the whole being popularly called Greater Omaha.
   Omaha proper comprised an area of 24.50 square miles, which, generally speaking, included about six miles north and south, bounded on the east by the Missouri river, and extending west about four miles. The organization of the South Omaha Land Company, and the incorporation of the Union Stock Yards Company, in the early '80's, located at what, down to this time of annexation, was known as South Omaha, now called South Side. Necessity meant the founding of a city which was destined to grow as the enterprise which gave it birth expanded.
   The village of Dundee, adjoining Omaha on the west, was incorporated in 1894. It was, from the first, a residential suburb. Situated on sightly hills commanding a view as far as the Little Papio, it attracted many of Omaha's citizens, who in the years of its existence, have erected many elegant homes. Ornamental shade trees, shrubbery of various kinds, paved streets, electric lights, and sewers have made Dundee an ideal city of homes. Its population at the time of annexation January 20, 1915, was 2,500.
   Benson, adjoining Omaha on the northwest, was incorporated as a village December 4, 1897. It occupies some of the highest land in Douglas county, and is situated on the old Military Road. Adjoining it is the Omaha Country Club with its splendid golf links. Its population at the time of annexation, May 25, 1917, was 5,000.
   Florence, annexed May 25, 1917, has a population of 2,500. It lies seven miles due north of the original Omaha. From one viewpoint, it antedates any other city in Nebraska. as it, with Fort Calhoun, was "Winter Quarters" in the great Mormon migration in 1844. Its early history has been recounted at length elsewhere in this work.
   The total of the territory thus annexed, together with the statement of the bonded debt of Omaha proper, and its constituent suburbs, their population and several areas as of January 1, 1918, is here presented:

Water Dist.

School Dist.


Sq. Mi.

Est. Pop.

Bond Debt

Bond Debt

Bond Debt

Omaha Proper






South Omaha












Clontarf Precinct



Elmwood Park and




Strip -- Benson limits to



Strip -- Between 48th

   and 52d Streets



Levi Carter Park and

















Totals for Greater









   The city of Omaha adopted the commission form of government in the spring of 1912. Its affairs down to that time had been administered by councilmen, two chosen from each ward, and a mayor. They are now entrusted to seven commissioners selected by the people, each commissioner having charge of a separate department. These departments are public affairs; accounts and finance; police, sanitation, and public safety; fire protection and water supply; street cleaning and maintenance; parks and public property; and public improvements. The commissioners meet regularly every Tuesday morning for the transaction of public business, and special meetings are called when necessary by the mayor, who is ex officio president of the city council. The mayor is elected by and from the commissioners.
   Inseparably related to the growth of Omaha, is its system of parks and boulevards, inaugurated and developed principally within the past two years. With twenty-one parks, large and small, and thirty-five miles of boulevard, unifying them into a connected and constituent whole, this feature of her civic growth and development is one which, for natural beauty, accessibility for enjoyment, and possibilities for development, is the envy of all the cities of the middle west.
   Nature and art have combined to bring about this result: for, strange to say, the total amount expended upon this system has been less than $2,394,000. The generosity of wealthy citizens accounts in part for this remarkable fact. The actual value of this property exceeds many times its original cost. Hill and dale, woodland and prairie, river, lakes, and springs, all have lent themselves to the creation and beautification of a park and boulevard system which can be said to be almost ideal.
   Levi Carter park is, in area, the largest in the city, comprising 303 acres. Its distinctive feature, perhaps, is Carter lake of two hundred acres, affording splendid boating, swimming and fishing facilities.
   West of Sixtieth street lies Elmwood park, containing 208 acres. Nature has lavished upon this spot her gifts: landscape, level ground, and natural forests, with deliciously cold springs of clear water, making it an ideal recreation resort. Magnificent evergreens and white birches stand guard along its principal drives. Part of this tract was donated to the city of Omaha and part was purchased at a cost of $135,000.
   The largest natural park is "Riverview," containing 111 acres. It lies in the southern portion of original Omaha, and rises in tiers of plain and woodland, like a majestic amphitheater, from the west bank of the Missouri. From the far spreading prairies and picturesque bluffs stretched along its Iowa side, it affords a magnificent prospect. All that was necessary to obtain a perfect park was to erect a fence around this 111 acres. A large swimming pool and bath house, and a "zoo" are among its acquired attractions.
   Fontenelle park lies in the northwestern part of the city and contains 107 acres. Only recently has this park been improved. A four-acre lagoon furnishes splendid bathing facilities.
   Miller park, the "Pride of North Omaha," is named after Doctor George L. Miller, a pioneer of the late '50's and one of the few fathers of Omaha still living. It contains seventy-eight acres, was formaly (sic) a cornfield, and exemplifies most strikingly the transformation which time and money and the art of the landscape gardener can accomplish. Through it, concrete paved driveways have been built. A large lagoon with a wooded island has been made, and birch, evergreen, and other trees, planted years ago, beautify the gently undulating ground. Its golf course and play grounds are well patronized. The Florence boulevard, containing "Omaha's prettiest mile," unifies it with the park system.
   Hanscom park, the oldest in the city, contains fifty-seven acres. When donated to the city by A. J. Hanscom and S. A. Megeath, it was on the very verge of the city of which it is now the heart. Its natural beauty has discountenanced rather than invited artificial adornment. It has been called by experts one of the most beautiful parks in the United



States. In the greenhouses of the park, more than 350,000 plants are propagated and raised yearly. These are used in ornamental flower beds planted in the various parks, hospitals, public schools, and fire stations of the city.
   Scattered throughout the city are numerous smaller parks, and breathing centers, some located in South Omaha, and most of them the gifts of public spirited citizens who have been enriched by the marvelous growth of the city. Among these, many of them sylvan retreats, sequestered from the composite noises of the city's life, yet at once accessible, are the following parks: Bemis, 10 acres; Deer, 19 acres; Kountze, 11 acres; Curtis Turner, 8 acres; Harold Gifford, 2 acres; Mercer, 4 acres; Jefferson square, 2 acres; Hixenbaugh; Burt playground; Bluff View; Spring Lake, 11 acres; Highland, 6 acres; McKinley, 5 acres; Clear View, and Morton.
   In April, 1915, the city council organized a board of public recreation. It works in conjunction with the board of education, and the superintendent of parks to supervise children's play, and to promote various forms of recreation and enjoyment among the people of the city. The installation of playgrounds in the parks and schools relates, of course, to the recreational activities of children. The attendance on these in the 1916 season totaled 262,878. An annual appropriation of $18,000 is made for their support. The other phase of the board's activities interests the general public. Under it, various recreations and sports have been provided. Among these are the establishment of free bathing beaches and pools. In the summer of 1916, 292,815 persons availed themselves of these privileges. No charge whatever is made for them. Among the sports, facilities for which are provided, are: baseball, football, soccer, cricket, golf, and tennis.
   Still another phase of its work has been the establishment of "community centers," the general object of which is the bringing together of the children and citizens of these communal organizations, and providing among them, athletics, community music, drama, lectures, concerts, moving picture exhibitions, social entertainments with literary programs added, and discussions of municipal questions. Once a year or oftener, the different communities meet in the municipal auditorium in friendly contest, vieing with each other in some prominent feature of the year's activities. The attendance at the centers in 1917 was 34,000. Community gardens have been established in some centers to assist the poor in their vicinities.
   Over $1,000,000 is spent annually upon its public schools and it shares with its sister, Lincoln, our capital city, the pride which naturally attaches to the development of an educational system, which has attracted to these cities, parents and students eager to avail themselves of the advantages thus freely offered. With respect to what may be called Omaha's material growth, and its development along certain lines in recent years much could be added.
   Its bank clearings for the year ending December 31, 1917, were $1,873,353,171. If this is a fair index of the amount of its annual business, Omaha ranks as the fourteenth city in the United States. It ranks thirty-third in population. It is the first city in the United States in butter production. The second as a live stock market; and therefore, the second in the world. It is the fourth primary grain market in the United States. It is the first lead reducing center in the world. Gold and silver valued at $39,000,000 are reduced annually. It is the first feeder-sheep-market in the world, and the first range horse market in the world. In live stock receipts, it handled 7,565,830 head. The value of its packed meats, during the time mentioned, was $191,718,000. Its grain receipts were 66,462,100 bushels. Its smelter output amounted to $59,247,165. Its total factory output for the year ending December 31, 1917, was $327,721,546. The volume of its wholesale business was $236,137,067. Its new buildings represent an investment of $7,737,047.
   The oldest of the sons of Omaha are about sixty years of age. During their span of life, the city has grown until now, in point of population, it ranks thirty-third among the cities



of the Union. Its growth in the very recent years, and now, has attracted the attention of all who keep informed as to the great cities of the land. The constant growth of its industries and manufactories, the ramifications of its railway systems, the work and supplies they furnish the northern and western country, the magnificent office and hotel buildings which have been erected and the private and almost palatial residences to be seen attest the stability of the city. All this is the more significant because Omaha nestles like a jewel in the bosom of the Missouri valley. Everything says the city is destined to pass on to a career of prosperity and success even greater than has been enjoyed during the years which have gone.

   CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IN NEBRASKA. Fifty years ago a history of the state of Nebraska would have contained no record of Christian Science either as a religious movement or as a method of healing, for at that time even in Massachusetts, where it was first brought to the attention of the few who would listen, those actually interested in the movement numbered scarcely a score. When, in 1875, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, was published as the text book of Christian Science, conventional Massachusetts had no welcome for the book or its author.
   Two decades later, when the Mother Church in Boston had been dedicated and the disciples of Mrs. Eddy's teaching were flocking to the city from all parts of the globe, to attend a church meeting, held at that time annually for non-resident and local members, the Bay State awakened to the fact that it had, firmly founded in its capital, a Christian denomination that had come to stay and Boston extended a cordial welcome to its visitors and a recognition of the sturdy worth of the local followers. We have witness of this in the attitude of the press of that date, numerous clippings from which are to be found in Mrs. Eddy's book, Pulpit and Press. Previotis to this event New England had acknowledged Mrs. Eddy one of its leading and honored citizens.
   The history of Christian Science in Nebraska properly begins in 1885, when a student of Mrs. Eddy, after having been healed through Christian Science treatment returned from her studies in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston and began to practice in Omaha. She taught her first class in 1887. She was the first Christian Science practitioner west of the Missouri river. Prior to this time other teachers of Christian Science had made visits to different parts of the state giving talks upon the subject but there seems to have been no lasting results from these attempts to introduce Christian Science in Nebraska.
   The first church building to be erected in Nebraska by Christian Scientists is at Weeping Water, gratitude for the healing influence of Christian Science being expressed in the giving of the ground for the erection of this church resulted in a building seating 200 and costing $1,600. This church was organized July 13, 1891, and the building was dedicated the last Sunday in September, 1892. In 1885 the first class in Christian Science in this state was taught at Beatrice by a student of Mrs. Eddy. About this time another student began to teach and practice Christian Science in Lincoln. As the result of the healing of two people the first Christian Science church in Nebraska was organized at Beatrice in 1888. First Church of Christ Scientist of Beatrice dedicated the $4,000 church building May 27, 1901, a few months after its completion, and only after all bills for its construction had been paid.
   The first Christian Science services in Omaha were held in the Unitarian chapel on Sunday afternoons. These meetings not receiving the support of the public as it was hoped were discontinued after some months, and for a season the Christian Scientists of Omaha were quite generally attending the services in Council Bluffs at the home of one of Mrs. Eddy's students. In December, 1890, the first move was made toward securing a downtown location in which to hold services and to be used as a reading room or dispensary as it was then called, and practitioner's



office to be open daily to the public. A committee appointed for the purpose of carrying out this plan decided upon rooms in the Bee building. This was virtually the first office opened in the business center of the city for the healing of disease through Christian Science. For a very short time nearly all the students in Omaha attended these services. then some withdrew, later holding meetings in the Karbach block and afterwards in the New York Life building.
   A number of students, believing that the time was ripe for church organization, held a meeting May 11, 1893, in the Patterson block for the purpose of organizing a church which was to be a branch of the mother church, the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston. As the result of this meeting, on the 18th day of the same month they adopted articles of incorporation, with twenty-eight charter members, and became known as First Church of Christ Scientist, Omaha. At the same time a reading room was opened in connection with the church, for the benefit of the public. Those not yet seeing the need of organization continued to hold meetings as heretofore. The Sunday school was formed January 20, 1894, with seven classes for adults and one for children. There were eight children in this class, ranging in age from four to thirteen years, representing three families.
   In those days the services in the Christian Science churches were generally in charge of one person recognized as pastor. This church called a pastor in December, 1893, and preaching continued until April, 1895, when the order of services was changed and the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures were established as the only preachers of the Word in the Christian Science churches throughout the world. Midweek meetings for the general discussion of the Bible and Science and Health were soon replaced by the inauguration of testimonial meetings, at first held Friday evening and later changed to Wednesday evening as is the present custom in all Christian Science churches. Services were continued in the Patterson block until early in December, 1895, when the old Congregational church building on St. Marys avenue and Twenty-seventh street was engaged. The reading room was moved at the same time, a side room in the church being fitted up for that purpose. Later, deeming it advisable to have the reading room more centrally located, it was moved to the Paxton block where it remained until 1902 when it was transferred to the Dee building and later to the Brandeis building where it remained until January, 1917.
   At the time of the organization of the children's society in Boston, known as the Busy Bees, whose contributions helped to furnish the mother church and keep it supplied with flowers, the Sunday school children of this church were identified with this movement until a notice from Mrs. Eddy recommended that they disband as a society, drop the name of Busy Bees, and turn their energies to broader achievements. The children then voted to start a church building fund.
   After the First Church moved to the old Congregational church building on St. Marys avenue, students from the New York Life building gradually came to the church, sometimes one or two at a time, until the number there was so depleted that services were discontinued. In December, 1898, the society in the Bee building, seventy-six in number, considering an invitation from the church, voted unanimously to disband and join the organization. The January communion service of 1899 saw all these united with the church under one roof, with one aim and object, to further the cause of Christian Science in Omaha. With this unity came a strengthening of forces. It was voted that the sum of money ($106.50) turned over to the church treasurer by the society from the Bee building be added to the nucleus already accumulated by the children, and thus form a general building fund. This fund was steadily increasing and in 1903 a lot was purchased at St. Marys avenue and Twenty-fourth street upon which to erect a church building.
   Early in 1904 came a demand for larger quarters and not being ready to proceed with the building, another change was made to



Chambers Academy at Farnam and Twenty-fifth street this being the only available place. The church remained here until the building was ready for occupancy.
   At that time it looked as though the question of building might be considered at an early date, but as the extension to the mother church in Boston was in process of erection, and it was of vital interest to Christian Scientists all over the world, it was voted at a church meeting on July 3, 1905, to send the sum on hand to help with that work, to continue contributing, and that nothing be done toward local building until such time as the treasurer of the mother church should indicate to the field at large that no more funds were needed. When this word came this church had contributed $10,945.34. Then the members cheerfully set to work to start another building, knowing as they did that the supply is unlimited and every need met by a gracious and loving Father, that parting with all they had only meant an increase. July 5, 1907, with only a few thousand dollars on hand, the church requested the building committee to proceed with its work and by October 6, 1909, the foundation was ready for the corner-stone which was laid at 7 A. M. on that date.
   The cost of the church building, including the ground, was about $106,000. On Sunday morning, September 3, 1911, services were held for the first time in the new church with this sum paid, except about $37,000, which debt was entirely cancelled (sic) during January, 1914. This structure was dedicated February 1, 1914, according to the general custom among Christian Scientists -- absolutely free from debt.
   During the winter of 1914-1915 the First church became so crowded that it was decided to organize another. The Second church was organized as an outgrowth of First and held its initial service on Easter Sunday, 1915, in Dundee Hall, Fiftieth and Underwood avenue; the hall, seating about 250, was well filled. At the present writing the Second church is holding meetings in Dundee theater. A lot has been purchased and excavating started for the building of a church at Forty-first and Davenport streets.
   About a year after the Second church was formed it was deemed advisable again to send out members from the First church to organize another. The Third church was organized in the north part of the city and on the first Sunday in June, 1916, the first service was held in Druid hall on Ames avenue near Twenty-fourth street. A little later reading rooms were opened on the corner of Ames avenue at Twenty-fourth street under the auspices of the Third church for the accommodation of people living in that part of Omaha. The Third church has selected, at Fowler avenue and Twenty-fourth street, the site for a church building and has made substantial payments upon it.
   The First National Bank building being finished and ready for occupancy in January of 1917, the Christian Science churches of Omaha decided that the reading room should be situated there. New furnishings were purchased and reading rooms in keeping with the growth and advancement of Christian Science in Omaha were established there as soon as the building was ready.
   Shortly after the year 1885 a student of Mrs. Eddy located in Lincoln and began to teach and practice Christian Science. Another of her students from Milwaukee taught a few classes in Lincoln about this time. The first Christian Science services in Lincoln were held at 1210 Q street in 1886. In 1888 the Christian Science society opened a reading room and held services in the hall over King's grocery store. First Church of Christ Scientist was organized in 1891 and continued to hold services in this hall until 1895 when quarters were obtained in the Salisbury block on Twenty-first and M streets where they remained for some time.
   About this time another society was formed, holding services in the Farmers and Merchants building and remained as a society until in October, 1900, it was reorganized as the Second Church of Christ Scientist, Lincoln. In 1897 the First church decided to purchase the old Christian church on Fourteenth and K



streets. They arranged to buy it and remained here a year or so when they found they would be unable to meet the payments upon it so gave it up and held services in the Funk theatre for about a year, when they moved to the Jewish temple on Twelfth and D streets. On October 10, 1902, both the First and Second churches surrendered their charters and disbanded for the purpose of uniting in the organization of the present First Church of Christ Scientist, Lincoln.
   Shortly after the organization of the new church it was seen that more commodious quarters would be needed, and the building of a church was considered, $700 having already been paid into the church as the nucleus for a building fund. The present site on the corner of Twelfth and L streets was bought for $7,000 and in a very short time the church owned its building lots. Work was then started on a fund to build a church, but shortly after this the building of the extension of the mother church in Boston was undertaken and the work of raising money for the local church was suspended in order that aid might be more freely given to the mother church. Plans were adopted for the erection of a building and on February 21, 1907, a contract was let for the construction of the Sunday school room and basement. On Thanksgiving day of that year the first services were held in this part of the building. On July 6, 1911, the church ratified the action of the building committee in letting the contract for the completion of the building. The corner-stone was laid on October 6, 1911. The first services were held in the completed building on Sunday morning September 1, 1912. The church building was formally dedicated free from debt in October, 1917, having cost about $100,000 including site and furnishings.
   According to the Christian Science Journal for February, 1918, there are churches or societies also in the following Nebraska cities and towns: Alliance, Bancroft, Bloomfield, Broken Bow, Central City, Chadron, Cozad, Crawford, Exeter, Fairbury, Firth, Fremont, Grand Island, Holdredge, Kearney, McCook, Minden, Nebraska City, Neligh, Norfolk, North Platte, Plattsmouth, Red Cloud, Scotts Bluff, and York. Besides these regularly organized and advertised churches and societies, meetings are being held regularly in many other places in the state where they have not yet perfected an organization.
   Christian Science was discovered in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy; the details of this discovery and the circumstances leading up to it are set forth in Mrs. Eddy's own writings and in her personal history by Sibyl Wilbur. In 1875 Mrs. Eddy presented her text book on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She introduced the Journal in 1883, this publication being the official organ of the mother church, the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston. Later a weekly paper called the Christian Science Sentinel was published, followed by Der Herald der Christian Science, a monthly magazine pubished (sic) in the German language. On January 1, 1918, Le Heraut de Christian Science, a monthly magazine in the French language with the English text on the opposite page, was established. Beside these periodicals a great international daily newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor, has been published since the year 1908 with a worldwide circulation and recognized by publishers as a model of clean journalism.
   A board of lectureship was inaugurated in 1898 by Mrs. Eddy, and the members of this board are giving free lectures upon the subject of Christian Science to an interested public under the auspices of local Christian Science churches. Omaha has been honored by having two of her citizens appointed to this board and one of them is today lecturing wherever he is called upon to do so. He has recently returned from an extensive lecture tour abroad, including England, Australia, China, and South Africa.
   A committee on publication with assistants in all the cities and a number of the smaller towns is supported, in Nebraska as in all the states of the Union and a large number of foreign countries, by per capita contributions from the organized churches and societies. It is the duty of this committee "to correct in a Christian manner, impositions on the public



in regard to Christian Science, injustices done Mrs. Eddy or members of this church by the daily press, by periodicals or circulated literature of any sort." (Church Manual.)
   When this great war of Prussian militarism thrust itself upon the world, the mother church established a fund for the relief of sufferers in the theater of war and several hundred thousand dollars have been collected by the Christan (sic) Scientists, all of which has gone to the relief of the destitute in Europe, regardless of their creed or nationality. Many expressions of gratitude from those receiving this monetary benefit are being received daily, in Boston, and some of these are being published in the current numbers of the Sentinel. Collections taken in the different Christian Science churches and societies in Nebraska for the benefit of this fund are being forwarded to headquarters in Boston continually and these moneys are freely distributed to those found in need.
   All the churches and many of the societies in Nebraska maintain free reading rooms where all Christian Science literature may be read or purchased. Free lending libraries have been established in some of these reading rooms and all may avail themselves of this opportunity to read Mrs. Eddy's books.
   The history of Christian Science in Nebraska as elsewhere is largely found in the work done by individuals in healing all manner of diseases and and (sic) destroying all sorts of sinful habits. Students of Christian Science are encouraged to study the Bible thoroughly and Science and Health and it is the exact or scientific knowledge of God gained through this study which enables them to work out their life problems, to heal sickness and sin. Until sufficient knowledge is gained the beginner may go to a professional practitioner for heating and spiritual guidance.
   One of the landmarks in Christian Science history in Nebraska is known as the "Buswell Trial" and this is the title of a pamphlet which has done a great deal of good for the Christian Science cause everywhere. The title of the case is "State of Nebraska vs. Ezra M. Buswell," and the trial was held in the district court of Gage county, February 28, 1893. Abundance of evidence was adduced to prove that the practice of Christian Science by the accused had been successful in a large number of cases, and only two failures were found. The practice of Christian Science was shown to be based on the Bible, and its method was proved to be silent and solemn prayer to God, and sole reliance on Him for health as well as salvation. Mr. Buswell was acquitted, but the case was carried to the supreme court of Nebraska on exceptions by the county attorney. And while no judgment could be rendered against the acquitted defendant, the exceptions of the county attorney were sustained. As this was the first case ever decided against a Christian Scientist in a court of last resort, for the practice of praying for the recovery of the sick, it would certainly have been followed as a precedent by the courts of other states if the law had been correctly stated. But this opinion of the Nebraska commissioner stands alone, and the courts of other states have decided that statutes regulating the practice of medicine do not make prayer for the recovery of the sick a criminal offense, and the decision, even in Nebraska, has been a dead letter for many years; as the liberal views of the Nebraska people are opposed to prosecution for prayer.
   Several other cases against Christian Scientists were brought in Nebraska, at Omaha, Lincoln, and Pawnee City, all of which ended well for the Christian Scientists, and none of them ever came to trial in the district court. A lady in Omaha was charged with insanity for treating a man who had been thrown from a buggy, striking his head against a log. A physician pronounced the accident fatal, and promptly brought proceedings in insanity against the practitioner. The injured man, appearing sound and whole as a witness for the defendant, the board discharged the lady thus establishing the proposition that healing accidental injuries by prayer is not insanity.
   In the few years since the first Christian Scientist came to Nebraska the movement has gained favor until now it is generally recognized, by the people of Nebraska, as a mem-

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