The Durham Museum’s popular River City History Tours are back for 2021! This year’s schedule and themes are listed below, including our new tour: Remember the Ladies! The Women of Early Omaha. Both public and private tours are available and take place aboard Ollie the Trolley. We are taking special precautions to keep guests safe. Tours will operate with reduced capacities, so space is limited. On every tour, masks are required. Trolleys are sanitized before every tour, along with applying a disinfectant fog treatment.
Sunday tours start at 2PM and Tuesday tours start at 6PM. Public tours begin Memorial Day weekend and cost $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Membership discount applies to those in the household. Museum admission is included. Advance registration and payment are required. Register by calling 402-444-5027, emailing education@DurhamMuseum.org or going online to www.durhammuseum.org/tours.
From Expositions to Jazz Musicians
Tour offered: August 22 and September 5
In 1898, North Omaha hosted the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, which celebrated technology and showed that life was civilized west of the Mississippi River. Following the Exposition, stately homes, parks and jazz halls made this area a cultural center of Omaha. On this trolley ride, the trolley will even stop at the historic Florence Mill for a tour!
Last Call for Alcohol: Omaha’s Bootlegging History
Tour offered: June 13 and July 13
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution did not stop people’s thirst for alcohol. By the time prohibition was the law of the land in 1919, Nebraska had been “dry” for two years. Organized crime syndicates had established a well-oiled machine to profit from those wanting to purchase illegal drink and be a part of the activities associated with it. The local and federal authorities spent years putting together a case that ultimately brought down the “kingpin” of Omaha’s crime scene, Tom Dennison.
Millionaires & Mansions – North Gold Coast
Tour offered: June 27, August 29 and October 3
Explore the neighborhoods north of Dodge Street in mid-town Omaha. Along the way, learn about the Mercer Mansion, Joslyn Castle and the Louis Nash residence. The trolley will drive on the first curved street in the city and visitors will see many stately homes in the original “West Omaha.”
Millionaires & Mansions – South Gold Coast
Tour offered: May 23, July 25 and September 19
Take a trip to the early 1900s in the area south of Dodge Street in mid-town Omaha. Many landmarks in the city are located here including the Blackstone Hotel, the Storz Mansion and the home of Arthur and Zerlina Brandeis. Visitors will see the beauty of traditional architecture and hear the stories of the people who built these magnificent homes.
Omaha’s Parks and Boulevards
Tour offered: June 6, September 14 and October 17
Did you know that Omaha, or “River City”, developed a beautiful parks and boulevard system beginning in the late 1800’s? In fact, much of this system remains today linking popular parks like Elmwood and Hanscom with gorgeous tree-lined streets such as Happy Hollow and Lincoln Boulevard. Our new “Parks and Boulevards” tour will take you along the path these developers laid out so many years ago.
Remember the Ladies! The Women of Early Omaha
Tour offered: August 10 and October 10
When learning about the founding of Omaha, we often hear the stories of Grenville Dodge, the Kountze Brothers, and Edward Creighton amongst many other male founders. However, in the words of United States First Lady, Mrs. Abigail Adams we must “remember the ladies”. Hop on a trolley tour with us in honor of the founding ladies of Omaha. Stop by the site of Anna Wilson’s brothel, one of Omaha’s first controversial businesswomen. Drive through Omaha’s previous “Red Light District” and learn about Omaha’s prostitution ring including the cribs that Josie Washburn mentions in her book as the “worst feature of the district”. Learn about how Omaha was an important city in the Women’s Suffrage Movement that included visits from Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and how women helped build our city’s businesses, entertainment, charity, and politics.
Private River City History Tours
Grab your friends, co-workers or family members and hit the streets for a private River City History tour. Pick your date and time (subject to availability) and the tour of your choice and have the whole trolley to yourself!
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