The City of Omaha Public Works Department has plans to demolish the historic streetcar barn on the northwest corner of 26th and Lake streets to create a 95-stall parking lot.
Designed by notable Omaha architects George Fisher and Harry Lawrie, the one-story brick building on the northwest corner of 26th and Lake streets was constructed in 1905 for the Omaha and Council Bluffs Street Railway Company. Previously, the railway company, which was incorporated in 1886, had large horse railway stables at the location, as Lake Street was an important route on the Omaha Street Railway. Once completed, the building contained a machine shop, storeroom, and track and blacksmith shop. The property, now used by the city street and maintenance departments, retains much of its historic fabric. In May, this building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the North 24th and Lake Streets Historic District.
Today, little remains of the streetcar system that once served Omaha and Council Bluffs. Only three buildings that historically housed streetcars remain standing in Omaha, and none are extant in Council Bluffs. Besides the maintenance facility at 26th and Lake, there are two car barns – one at 10th and Pierce Streets, and another at 19th and Nicholas.
Why Save It?
- Demolition of the building would further erode what’s left of the neighborhood’s already frail urban fabric, particularly if it is replaced by a parking lot instead of an urban redevelopment project.
- Parking is easily available nearby. There are multiple vacant lots on the south side of Lake Street and the east side of North 26th Street where past homes and businesses were already torn down. A parking lot surrounded by vacant lots?
- The building was recently included as a contributing property to the 24th and Lake Historic District. Being part of a National Register District allows an owner to access up to 40% in state and federal historical tax credits for qualified rehabilitation expenses.
- The City of Omaha’s Master Plan identifies 26th and Lake as an Area of Civic Importance. With its location just off the North Freeway and its clear, open interior plan, it could be adaptively reused for a property that brings people and dollars to the area.
- Two potential buyers with a vested interest in the area have already been identified.
- The property is 24th and Lake’s front door off the North Freeway. What do you want visitors to see – another empty space or an architecturally and historically significant building highlighting the area’s past?
Make Your Voice Heard
Mayor Jean Stothert
402.444.5000 (Mayor’s Hotline)
Omaha City Council Representatives
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Event center. Small business incubator. Grocery store. Manufacturing company.
If you have ideas about how this building could be used and/or saved, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to share reuse ideas with decision makers and potential buyers.