I remember fake falling asleep in the backseat of my family’s car, driving home after special nights in Downtown Omaha. Father of Miss Cassette had a number of favored routes that would return us to our home in Benson but his chosen path seemed to be a quick spin on 480. I don’t know why and if I asked him these days, he probably wouldn’t remember it at all. I would close my eyes on 480 because I loathed it and still do but I do remember trying to steal squinted sightings from atop the interstate once they built that huge Creighton University swimming pool. In those days this west-headed route had an off-ramp that would drop us on 30th and Chicago Street or was it Davenport Street? It was a quirky jolt in city planning, not unlike running off of a moving walkway at the airport. We were then routed west on Davenport and guided through the narrow thoroughfare of the agreeable Gifford Park Neighborhood, which led to 38th Street. Do you remember any of this?
My father would stop at the sign there and then take a right on 38th Street. But not before I had a chance to became absolutely obsessed with the fancy screen door of a home just beyond the stop sign. That magical vision was the point at which I would always open my eyes. (I know now it was that gorgeous house at 322 North 38th Street. Go have a look.) The beautiful door featured storks or herons or flamingos or pelicans and water foliage. Yes, they were flamingos, I think? I am not sure exactly what they were but they were breathtaking. Did you see it too, friends? The headlights of my father’s car would illuminate that magnificent 38th Street stage. Many decades later I remember those ornate birds depicted on their decorative front screen door. It was so exotic, unlike anything in my Benson Neighborhood. The adult in me now wonders was it iron or cast aluminum? In memory that striking door looked like a tropical 1920s art deco silhouette but it could have been from the 50s for all I know.
322 North 38th Street in 1926. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive).
My father would then take a right and steer us north, up the incredible Gold Coast parade of 38th Street, where like a Springer Spaniel I would rush from backseat window to backseat window, to get a peek. I didn’t know where to look because the large homes were all so rapturous. If it happened to be holiday time, I could only hope to glimpse a handsomely decorated tree through an icy window or showy outdoor Christmas lights, a rarity in the 1970s. Father would later turn left on Cuming Street and continue to Benson. These refined homes made an early imprint on my Mansion Hungry Mind which would be fed over and over again when I, decades later, lived in numerous modest homes in the north Gold Coast- Cathedral-Duchesne neighborhoods. It was always a heaven of sorts to live within a close proximity of such glory and walk along those glowing streets.
Sherri Moore, Director of Events for Joslyn Castle, had emailed months ago, asking for a bit of assistance with the historical research of the Joslyn’s slated fall tour. In my previous article, Bertha Yost Offutt and the Mysterious Gold Coast Mansion I shared with you my delight in her request. Today’s mystery is another one of those Joslyn Castle assignments. The task: what was the story behind 3818 Burt Street? One of Sherri’s staff had mentioned that 3818 Burt was a great example of how one might add modern updates to an older home. That was all I knew. I was intrigued. This 3818 mystery, this fantastically, tangled, obscured story, soon proved to be one of my most complex architectural whodunits to date. After I began to unravel the mystique and fit the clues together, I knew this was one long family narrative, involving a city block, totally over 120 years, I would be compelled to share with all of you. Like the reading of a Russian novel, you might need to take your own notations. In fact, we can all wait while you go get a pad and pen right now. It will get a bit knotty after a while but I hope in the most engrossing of ways.
Let us begin.
To a get a real feel for a place I like to walk around and eyeball a neighborhood. It is a true thrill for this amateur sleuth to nose around but one that curious neighbors sometimes have concerns about. As I had not yet made the acquaintance of 3818 Burt, I wanted to see her with my own eyes on that early September evening. As I neared the 38th and Burt Street area I got that old, pleasant feeling. Yes, I knew this very corner well…. but I had never walked west on Burt, that I could remember. Through my probe into the Streets of Omaha: Their Origins and Changes by H. Ben Brick, I discovered “Burt Street was named in honor of Francis Burt, first territorial governor of Nebraska, by Governor Cuming.” Cuming, coincidentally, is but one block north of Burt. 3818 Burt sat in the middle of the block, facing south, the schoolyard of Saint Cecilia’s across the way. The Douglas County Assessor reported 3818 as originally built in 1920, which I have learned is often incorrect.
Google Map detail of the 38th and Burt area.
I could immediately discern the classic Tudor Revival key style elements of 3818 Burt: the ornamental half-timbering, steeply pitched roofs, and asymmetrical floor plan of the original design. I could also detect the large addition to the east of the home–perceivable only by the 2000s-style window revealing two stories, a new stairwell and an up-to-date, hanging light fixture in said stairwell as well as a strong porte cochere on the east side. The additional structure was well integrated and seamless to the casual passersby. Impressive. I was excited to learn more.
3818 Burt featuring the porte cochere.
The two bookend residences on the northwest and southwest corners of 38th and Burt (east of the 3818 property) had held my attention for many years.
3802 Burt. (Sorry this photo is so dark. She really deserves much better.) This sturdy home looked to be built in the early 1960s. It has been in one family’s name for all of these years, which I always love to hear. I will confide in you, reader friends, that I have been Obsessed with this house since those 1970s drives down 38th Street. It has always seemed very comfortable and a bit proud, in spite of being quite different from the rest of the neighborhood. I would move into this house in a second, if I could! I know you are thinking that this is not my usual architectural fixation. There is something about 3802 that is both undercover and appealing.
3807 Burt, the south side of the street maintains an absolute marvel since my childhood. A true mansion (by our collective Omaha standards) in the Gold Coast high style, 3807 Burt offered the moneyed version of the Tudor Revival style mixed with other European design elements. It seemed to me that this was the oldest home on the Burt Street block.
The other houses sprinkled on the block were smaller and appeared to be built between the years of 3802 and 3818. I began to wonder if there was other original large homes built on those tracts of land that had been razed? One house that particularly charmed me was 3809 Burt, across from 3818.
3809 Burt. Her color scheme, the quirky placement of bricks and stones, the friendly bay window and that welcoming arched door called to me in a well-disposed, middle child manner. An unruffled, easy flair.
I couldn’t help but feel the immense presence of Saint Cecilia’s Cathedral and grade school, toward the west—the other bookend of the block, at 40th and Burt Streets. It helped that the sun was setting, giving me a breathtaking chill with the majesty of it all. The short block straightaway fascinated me and the clues were building up in my head. What an unexpected mingling of architectural styles and time periods…. I will admit to you that I dashed from the Cathedral and ran to my car.
Off to a Stumper of a Start
I easily found 3818 Burt Street listed on the Douglas County Assessors site as being built in 1920. The site is sometimes inaccurate so I had my early doubts. This beautiful Tudor was not considered part of the Historic Gold Coast-Blackstone-Cathedral Region according to neighborhood boundary lines from a City Planning book. According to Omaha City Architecture by Landmarks Inc and the Junior League of Omaha in 1977, 3818 Burt was considered a part of the Cathedral Neighborhood. The home at 3818 Burt was mentioned in the “Reconnaissance Survey of Central Omaha,” from 2003, as a surveyed property but was not included as a property in the National Register of Historic Places. At that point, I reached out to the ever-helpful, Trina Westman, at the Omaha City Planning Department and likewise, the department did not have any photos or information on this home. Roadblock after riddle. Let me clarify the decoding: the pieces of evidence Miss Cassette tracked did not come in any sort of nice, easy or chronological fashion. I would have to get out my Best Girl Spy Flashlight to decipher the case and that meant heading down to the Douglas County Register of Deeds Office but fast.
3818 Burt, as it looks today. Original portion of the home on the left, addition on the right.
History of the 38th and Burt Street Neighborhood
The story of 3818 Burt actually began decades earlier than its build date, which, by the way, was not 1920. According to the “National Register of Historic Places Registration Form of 1997” for the Gold Coast Historic District, during the Omaha boom of the 1880s, the Gold Coast became “the favored upper class suburb.” Many of Omaha’s most successful and influential citizens built large homes in the area. “Part of the draw to the area was the girls’ school at 36th and Burt. The Academy of the Sacred Heart, (now Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart), began construction in 1880 and many of the city’s elite citizens sent their daughters to the school.” From a Comprehensive Program for Historic Preservation in Omaha by the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, the Religious of the Sacred Heart arrived in 1881. “After first conducting their school in an old house at 9th and Howard, they moved to the new quarters in late 1882. At this time their location was known as Park Place and lay far from the city.”
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. 1979. Omaha City Planning Department.
In addition, construction of the streetcar lines to the area allowed easier access to Downtown Omaha, meaning that families did not have live downtown where they worked. This was credited to Dr. Sam Mercer’s car line from 36th and Cuming. See my Mysteries of Omaha: 4025 Izard Street story for more details on Dr. Mercer. “By the 1910s Farnam Street had become the main street of Omaha’s Gold Coast. As Farnam Street became more commercial, the Gold Coast spread north and south of Farnam.” Please see my previous Brothers Lounge and the Case of the Vanishing Mom and Pop for more details about Farnam Street.
According to the Douglas County Deeds Office, 3818 Burt and surrounding area, to include the corner of 38th and Burt, is in the subdivision called Sherwood Place. Originally this subdivision was called Sherwood Forest. Now wasn’t that a bit more dreamy? After some digging I found that Edwin H. and Emma R. Sherwood, proprietors of Sherwood Park, sold original plats of their land in May of 1887. I believe this surrounding rural countryside was part of their farm. With Duchesne being built in 1882, right down the hill, the Sherwoods could probably see the moneymaking possibilities of parceling out their land. Many early Omaha World Herald newspaper ads refer to pasture and farmland around 38th and Burt in the 1880s and even into the 1890s, in the advertisements for lathers and farm hands.
The Edward Watrous Nash Family
In 1888 the E. W. Nash home was built at 3806 Burt Street. This discovery was the tip-off for my growing obsession with Burt Street but even in that, there were more questions. According to Omaha City Directory of 1876 through 1886, the Edward W. Nash clan lived at 1612 Harney Street, (no longer an address) downtown, about where the OPPD corporate office building is now located. There was also indication that they had a home at 17th and Jackson. By 1887 the directory listed the Nash residence at 3803 Mercer Avenue (no longer an address.) From the Comprehensive Program for Historic Preservation in Omaha by the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, “Another early resident (of the area) was Edward Nash who built a Colonial Revival home at 820 North 38th Street.”
820 North 38th Street, as it currently looks. I have always adored the details of this home. It was all getting a bit confusing. Did this family really move around that much or was this conflicting information? Photo from the Douglas County Assessor site.
The Omaha World Herald consistently wrote of E. W. Nash in high regard. From an article dated October 19, 1881, “Omaha’s silver works, which take the name of Omaha Smelting and Refining Company, from small beginnings they have won their way through many perils of flood and finance to the magnitude of a great financial industry. At a meeting of the stockholders held this date, the following officers were elected, Guy C. Barton, J. H. Millard, E. W. Nash and Charles Balbach.” These were all prominent names that I recognized from my short time of detecting Omaha mysteries.
Edward Watrous Nash began life in Akron, Ohio where his father was a well-known lawyer. Edward was a bit of renegade, running away from home and joining army. He would turn his back on a college education and an opportunity at West Point, instead preferring to move to Texas where he was a bookkeeper in a cotton house. Yellow fever sent him packing for Canada, where his father was heavily invested in gold mining properties. In Quebec, Edward would meet and marry Miss Catherine Barbeau. According to 1917’s Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska Vol. II by Arthur Cooper Wakeley, Edward and his young bride came to Omaha in 1868. He worked briefly for the Union Pacific Railroad as a truckman until accepting a clerk position with the Omaha Smelting Company, a new industry. Within a few years Edward was elected secretary and later treasurer. In these tough times he invested early in Smelting Company stock.
American Smelting and Refining Company, largest iron smelter in the world. Photo by John Vachon from Library of Congress website. I turned up a listing in the Omaha City Directory of 1894, where the Omaha & Grant Smelting Company was reported to be at “river front foot by Guards Amory 1716 Capitol Avenue.” Interesting because later I uncovered that it was on Fifth and Douglas.
Edward later purchased three-fourths interest in the Omaha Motor Railroad Company, where he became director and vice president of that venture. During this time he continued to buy up real estate in Omaha and surrounding areas. From the History of Omaha and South Omaha by Savage and Bell, I discovered, “By 1898, E. W. Nash was made president of American Smelting & Refining Company.” SIDENOTE: The American Smelting and Refinery Company would close in 1997. The company was successfully sued for polluting the Missouri River. Anyone living in the east and midtown areas of Omaha has received the mailings about the questionable extent of soil pollution from this plant and perhaps maybe even have had your own lawn tested or removed.
By 1888 I found evidence of E. W. and Catherine building a large home on the northwest corner of 38th and Burt: 3806 Burt Street was situated on two acres. This incredible home looks to me to be a decorative example of Queen Anne architecture. Look at those Eastlake style porches, balconies and details, fish-scale shingle decoration. I was more than pleased to find this fine illustration in the Margaret Patricia Killian book Born Rich: A Historical Book of Omaha.
Not only is 3806 Burt no longer an address but also My White Brick Obsession Home is now on the corner of 38th and Burt, carrying the address of 3802.
**Addendum of August 13, 2019** Finally a photo of the Edward W. Nash home on the northwest corner of 38th and Burt…in years when architects put plenty of frosting on the cake.
Here is where things get a little complicated and where you might need to draw out your writing utensil. From Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska Vol. II by Arthur Cooper Wakeley, I unearthed “Edward and Catherine Nash had eight children: Sadie Virginia (would marry Harry Cartan), Claire, Frederick A. (would become second vice president and general manager of the Nebraska Central Railway Company), Esther, Mary (later married prominent L. F. Crofoot), Adeline (later married prominent G. W. Myers), Louis C. (along with Ward M. Burgess formed the well loved Burgess-Nash Company, a swanky department store) and their youngest, Frances E. (an international musician.) These children will shortly weave their way into the following sections.
The E. W. Nash stable at 3806 Burt. I am guessing that this was the stable from the beautiful illustration shown earlier. Those details…and a cupola. My favorite! Catherine Nash and grandchildren. June 22, 1917. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive).
The Barbeau Family
Here is where things get even more complicated. Just to add to the confusion, Catherine Barbeau Nash, by all accounts, had ten siblings. Or was it eleven? Some would follow their sister to Omaha. I will mention only a few relatives, important to this story, as not to overwhelm you all. Catherine’s sister, Malvina Barbeau married fellow French Canadian, Napoleon Rousseau in 1886. The couple moved to Omaha and Napoleon would later work for E. W.’s Smelting Company. Malvina and Napoleon had three children: Edward, Marguerite and Minette (sometimes spelled Minnette) Rousseau. Do you love these French names as much as I? I want you to file away these particular names, as they are essential to the mystery.
Elina Barbeau Nash, another sister, was married to Frederick A. Nash. Yes, E. W’s brother. I know. I warned you. F. A. Nash was also a very prominent Omahan; He was president of the Omaha Electric Light & Power Company. F. A. Nash would later marry Emma Creighton Nash, connecting the great Creighton-Nash families.
Detail of south entrance of the Union Pacific Headquarters building; sign in window of U. P. reads “Omaha Electric Power and Light Co.” April 1, 1914. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive).
Adeline Barbeau, yet another sister, married James I. Woodard. James Woodard was a well-respected Omaha Assistant Postmaster. This couple, along with their two children, James and Claire, would also live nearby on 820 North 38th Street. Another sister, Marie Virginie Barbeau Proulx would continue to live in Quebec but had a daughter, Marie Leda Proulx, who would move to Omaha. Her name will come up later in the story. Marguerite M. Barbeau, another sister of Catherine’s, married Thomas G. Barbeau. They had the same last name, which was quite confusing to me for a while. Marguerite Barbeau Barbeau. I am not making this up. Is your mind wandering? Just write down Marguerite and Thomas, for goodness sake. They are very important.
Evolution of the Nash Neighborhood
As I had mentioned the E. W. Nash family at 3806 Burt home was built by 1888, according the Omaha City Directory. My next pointer was this Omaha World Herald Real Estate Transfer from July 26, 1890. Queerly in the “C. D. Nash” name.
OWH article from July 26, 1890. Real Estate Transfers for Sherwood Park. Again C. D. Nash had bought up lots 1, 2, 3 and 14 of block 1. The Sherwood Park addition was then outlined in OWH, along with all other newer neighborhood subdivisions during that period of 1890. The names Sherwood and Nash jumped out at me, as they were both listed in Bertha Yost Offutt’s wedding party article of 1892. See Bertha Yost Offutt and the Mysterious Gold Coast Mansion for extra details. Was C. D. Nash Catherine Barbeau Nash?
OWH scan. On September 19, 1895, Catherine’s sister, Malvina died in her home at 4106 Cuming Street, “after a wasting illness of several months.” Her children, Edward, Marguerite and Minette Rousseau were apparently very young.
4106 Cuming Street as it looks today. The Rousseaus would continue to live here after Malvina’s death. Photo from the Douglas County Assessor site. I cannot be sure of what it looked like originally as so many of these homes on Cuming are now apartments.
By 1896, I had my definitive answer. Catherine Barbeau Nash was C. D. Nash. I discovered her listed as purchasing lot 13, block 1 in the Omaha World Herald. According to the Douglas County Deeds office, 3818 Burt is Lot 13, Block 1. I would learn later that this current property actually encompasses parcels and slivers of parcels of the lots handily purchased by C. D. Nash. at this time.
OWH Oct 8, 1896. Catherine D. Nash lot 13, block 1 Sherwood Park. I later found hint that Lot 13, Block 1 had a change of grade “uniform straight lines,” approved by the mayor and city council from the World Herald in August of 1898. In 1900 Catherine Nash was buying up large quantities of land, and even more parcels in the Sherwood Park addition.
For those of you easily bored with the buying of parcels of land, here is an example of what a well to do woman of the 1890s would have dressed like. Of course this is Omaha we are talking about, so chances are this fashion forward muttonchop sleeves might not have come here until the 1900s, for all I know. Photo found on Pinterest. Photographer unknown.
Much later in my investigation I would find this photo gem of the E. W. Nash Mansion at3806 Burt Street from the Jeffrey S. Spencer collection. This photo is from the beautiful book, Building for the Ages: Omaha’s Architectural Landmarks by Kristine Gerber and Jeffrey S. Spencer. One of a number of successful collaborative efforts between Gerber and Spencer, I include it here because it gives a great view into what the awe inspiring corner of 38th and Burt must have looked like with nothing around but this old glory, the Morsman mansion and Duchesne. Edgar M. Morsman, as you might remember from the Bertha Yost Offutt story, was the director of the Nebraska telephone company. He was the man who bumped into Casper Yost while on the streets of NYC and offered him a job.
Servants circa 1900. Not the Nashes’ servants. Just used to illustrate what domestic help would have looked like in this day. Advertisements from May of 1899 asked for “Lathers wanted at 38th and Burt or call after 6 o’clock. ” In early 1900s the Nashes had numerous ads for Boston Bulldog pups for sale as well as looking for “girls,” aka servant girls. “Extra girls need for general housework” and “competent cook—wages no object.” Photographer unknown.
OWH advertisement from early 1900. This must have been such a lively corner with horses, dogs and all of the Nash children and extended family. Can you imagine how many servants they employed? Oddly there were a lot of cows going missing from this area as well.
The Ups and Downs of the Nashes
From the American Guide Series Omaha: A Guide to the City and Environs, I spotted, “…in 1900, through the influence of Mrs. Catherine Nash, for whom the hospital is named, the (Herman) Kountze property was purchased by Rt. Rev. Bishop and in 1909 taken over by the Sisters of Mercy.” St. Catherine’s Hospital was on 8th and Forest Avenue. I pieced together that this later became Bergan Mercy Hospital. I was beginning to understand that Catherine Nash wielded quite a bit of power.
The Herman Kountze mansion at 8th and Forest Ave which later became St. Catherine’s Hospital. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive). Date unknown. Does not look haunted at all.
From West Farnam Story by B. F. Sylvester; I noted that Fred A. Nash became the fifth King of Ak Sar Ben Coronation Ball in 1900. At that time he was manager of the Omaha Electric Light and Power Company–later an agent for the Burlington Northern Railroad, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. His family lived at 504 South 37th Street. This address no longer exists but would have been in the Blackstone Neighborhood.
Edward W. Nash was now president of the American Smelting and Refining Co. The plant was soon the largest pig lead refinery in the nation. It became responsible for about 30 percent of the country’s lead production. They also produced gold, silver and bismuth. Son, Louis C Nash lived with his parents at 3806 Burt and was listed as a foreman with “St. Ry Co.” In April of 1904, yet another beloved family member shockingly died. Virginia Nash (Mrs. Harry Cartan), daughter of Catherine and E. W. died leaving young children. Her funeral was held at the 3806 Burt Street family home.
The home wake. This image is used to depict the home funeral or home wake common to that time period. Prosperous and poor alike had home wakes. The formal funeral home did not exist before the 20th century. Scribners June 1892, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, artist: C. Broughton.
At the Other End of the Block
According to the American Guide Series Omaha: A Guide to the City and Environs by the Federal Writers’ Project Works Progress Administration by the State of Nebraska, “Construction of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral commenced on April 25, 1905.” The building was still uncompleted at the time of the writing of the book in 1938. I had already known a smidge about the famed Omaha architect, Thomas Kimball, credited with the beautiful Cathedral. This was an early tip-off to the Kimball-Nash relationship, which I would learn more about later. After perusing the St. Cecilia’s website I learned,” The Nash Chapel is the private burial chamber inside St. Cecilia’s Cathedral built for the Edward Watrous Nash and Catherine Barbeau Nash family, major benefactors of the Cathedral. The steps to the below ground chamber are to the right of the entrance of to the Our Lady of Nebraska Chapel. It should be noted that the antique chandelier in the Our Lady of Nebraska Chapel is from the Nash family home.” I could not believe what I was reading. If it hadn’t hit me by now, I realized at that point the Nashes were a Serious Omaha Family.
Building towers of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral at 701 North S0uth Street. From An Inventory of Historic Omaha Buildings prepared by the Landmarks Inc group in 1980, “St. Cecilia’s Cathedral is faced with Indiana Limestone and is in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style. It was completed in 1959.”
According to the American Guide Series Omaha: A Guide to the City and Environs by the Federal Writers’ Project Works Progress Administration by the State of Nebraska, “The Nash Chapel was donated by the children of Mrs. Catherine B. Nash, as directed in her will. Bronze gates open into the marble and bronze alcove roofed in black and gold enameled tile. The altar is of Pavanazzo marble. A private stairway leads to the burial crypt beneath the chapel, providing vaults for all the members of the Nash Family. “I could not believe this. How had I not known about the Nashes my whole life?
The Nash Chapel. I knew I needed to see this for myself. I can tell you when I visited this small, gorgeous chapel on that Saturday morning, my eyes welled up. I can honestly say I have never seen a more beautiful environ in a church. The ceiling displays astounding “mosaic arabesques and supports an antique crystal chandelier,” which Miss Cassette had already stumbled across the clue as being from the Nash family home. If you could go look at that sunshine hitting the ruby glass windows you would surely cry too. A Dream Room.
Death of E. W. Nash
Please feel free to review your Nash Family Tree Notes at this juncture.
There was yet another death in the Nash family on July 22, 1905. “Catherine B. Nash filed petition showing that Edward W. Nash departed this life,” leaving last will and testament. “Widow, Catherine Nash files petition in the court asking for probate of his will and requesting that she be accorded its administration,” according to the OWH. Interestingly by July 29 there was a filed consent and entered order of Thomas Creigh (misspelling of Creighton?) to serve as guardian ad litem for Esther Nash (Catherine’s daughter), Frances Nash (Catherine’s daughter), Fredericka Nash (granddaughter of Catherine’s from deceased son Frederick Nash II) minors.
Additionally on July 29, 1905, there was a filed consent and entered order appointing Edgar M. Morsman, Jr. to serve as guardian ad litem for Frederick Nash Cartan, Henry Cartan, Jr. and Catherine B. Cartan, minors. (These were Virginia Nash Cartan’s children.)
518 South 38th Street. I learned from West Farnam Story that Edgar M. Morsman, Jr. would go on to build an Elizabethan Tudor at 518 South 38th in 1923, later to became the Omaha Women’s Club. Currently this palatial abode is owned by UNMC. Photo from the Douglas County Assessor site.
The Rise of Catherine Nash and the C. B. Nash Company
OWH article scan of July 30, 1905. Catherine B. Nash inherits entire estate of Edward W. Nash.
November of 1905 brought Catherine Barbeau Nash to a whole new level of enterprise. I found, from multiple articles, that Catherine became a buying force in downtown and midtown real estate. She also became a building magnate, focusing on large jobbing warehouses among other buildings.
OWH article scan from November 15, 1905.
Catherine Nash and architect, Thomas Kimball worked steadily together in her new enterprise: C. B. Nash Company, formed in January of 1907. What architect John McDonald was to George and Sarah Joslyn, Thomas Kimball was to Catherine Nash.
Thomas Rogers Kimball. Photo from the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission website. I know….kind of easy on the eyes.
New Neighbors to Burt Street
According to Trina Westman at the Omaha City Planning Department, 3807 Burt Street began life as the Constantine J. Smyth Residence. This beauty was built in February 16, 1906. 3807 Burt later became known as the Louis C. Nash (E. W. and Catherine’s son) Residence. From an Inventory of Historic Omaha Buildings prepared by Landmarks Inc in 1980, I also received confirmation that 3807 Burt was the Smyth residence.
3807 Burt as it stands today.
3807 Burt Street in 1915. Credited as the Constantine J. Smyth Residence. Apparently built in 2/16/1906 for $7500. The architect is listed as J. Dietrick. There was also a second addition at a cost of $1,000, credited to builder: “L. Nash.” (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive).
South side of the Constantine J. Smyth- Louis C. Nash residence. 1915. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive). Have you ever?
View of 3807 Burt and 710 North 38th Street.
More confounding is the fact that the mansion directly to the south of 3807 Burt is also known as the Constantine J. Smyth Residence. The 710 North 38th Street Constantine J. Smyth home. According to the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form of 1997, the “Charles Nash (incorrect name…wait was that Louis’ middle name?) house at 3807 Burt and Constantine J. Smyth home at 710 North 38th constitute some of the largest and best examples of high style architecture in the Gold Coast Historic District as well as the city of Omaha.”
710 North 38th Street House. Kill me now. Too beautiful.
I was not able to distinguish when exactly or why exactly Smyth, a prominent Omaha attorney, built two houses right next to each other. I am not entirely sure that this is even accurate, but it is what the history books show. More indication came from Comprehensive Program for Historic Preservation in Omaha by the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission. “Attorney Constantine J. Smyth, who eventually became Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, built his Classical Revival style home at 710 North 38th Street in 1907.”
C. J. Smyth name in front of 710 North 38th Street. Miss Cassette has resolved to investigate these mansions and their clues at a later date. Too gorgeous and too mysterious not to!
The Nash Neighborhood Stakes Its Claim
Meanwhile from Margaret Patricia Killian’s book Born Rich: A Historical Book of Omaha, I received further confirmation as to the Nashes’ uprising. “On the northwest corner of 38th and Burt was the Edward Nash home facing the Tudor mansion of Louis Nash.” Louis and his family lived across the street from his mother Catherine, sisters, Esther and Frances, perhaps others as well.
Her sweet, little diagram of the Gold Coast neighborhood. Love it.
Louis Nash, son of Catherine and E. W., along with a partner created the Burgess Nash Store. According to Margaret Patricia Killian in Born Rich: A Historical Book of Omaha, “the Burgess and Nash Store reflected taste and respect for the customer. It was dignified but not austere and somewhat resembled the Fifth Avenue store of Lord and Taylor’s in its pre-World War II days.” As if his upbringing did not land Louis in affluent Omaha circles, Burgess Nash secured his stake as an Omaha tastemaker. He did very well for himself.
Burgess Nash Company at 16th & Harney Streets. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive). November 16, 1915.
Burgess-Nash Company advertisement. I learned music lovers found a beautiful setting for concerts at the Burgess Nash Auditorium within the department store. Can you imagine? Private concerts were also held in the homes of Mrs. Louis Nash at 3807 Burt, Mrs. J.M. Harding, 120 South 38th Avenue see Mysteries of Omaha: 5120 Mayberry Street for more on the fabulous Harding family and Sarah Joslyn at 3902 Davenport.
Louis C. Nash photo taken from the incredible book Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska Vol. II by Arthur Cooper Wakeley.
3818 Burt Takes Shape
According to the Douglas Country Register of Deeds, by January 23 of 1907, Catherine Nash was Clearly Up to Something. She sold her ownership of Lot 13, Block 1 (3818 Burt) to her own company, the C. B. Nash Company. I was very interested in this calculated move.
OWH scan from January 18, 1909. The Catherine Nash’s home at 3806 started on fire. Everyone was okay. Don’t worry. The article did give forth some amazing clues. I learned that the Nash mansion had twenty-five rooms. BIGGIE: “T. G. Barbeau and wife were living in the home.” This is our Marguerite Barbeau Barbeau, that I asked you to remember. T. G. Barbeau alerted the whole family that the home was on fire after a heavy chandelier was burned out of its fastenings and fell with a crash, awaking the startled fellow. The damage to the home as well as contents was insured for $45,000—a good amount of money in those days. “All of the valuable pictured escaped injury except an oil portrait of E. W. Nash, which was destroyed.”
OWH December 23, 1909. Apparently by Christmas all was set right with the Nash family home. I was pleased to find this article saying that the whole gang would be celebrating the holidays at 3806 Burt as they always had.
I scoured the Omaha City Directories down at the W. Dale Clark Library until I finally found a listing for 3818 Burt Street. It did not appear until 1917. And guess whose name it was listed under? 1917: Barbeau, Thos. A. 3818 Burt. This was Catherine’s sister, Marguerite’s husband–the couple that had been living in 3806 when it caught fire. I remembered I had found an earlier mention of Marguerite in the “Personal Pages” of 1880 when she was a young single woman. “Miss Marguerite Barbeau, accompanied by several lady friends, leaves today for Salt Lake.”
3818 Burt before the addition. The Douglas County Assessor Office listed 3818 Burt as being built in 1920 but I had my confirmation that it was erected by at least 1917. After contacting the current owner, she produced a Statement of Cost from May of 1916. The architect is still unknown to this day. Catherine was very close with Thomas Kimball and used him for many of her buildings but this home didn’t exactly look like one of his designs. The builder was credited as F. A. Almquist aka Frank Almquist. I found articles mentioning him, primarily a serious car accident where he was being sued by a wealthy Omahan. According to the Deeds office, the client was none other than Catherine Barbeau Nash. The cost: $9,508.08. The style of Tudor Revival home was very popular at the time. The original 3818 Burt home was an example of a smaller suburban style nod to the English Tudor. Characterized by their steeply pitched gable roofs, often asymmetrical layouts and entryways, decorative half-timbering, and masonry. Current owner’s photo of the home.
“Detailed Statement of the Cost of the Residence for Mrs. C. B. Nash.” Thank you to the current owner for sharing this piece of evidence with us.
Thomas G. Barbeau was married to Marguerite M. Barbeau. Marguerite, like all of her siblings, was born in Saint-Francois de Beauce in Quebec, Canada. She married Thomas Barbeau on November 17, 1884 in Omaha. The couple did not have children. Marguerite Barbeau Barbeau engaged in many charitable works at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral at the end of her street. I was fairly frustrated with myself for not being able to locate any information on Thomas or Marguerite. I suspected that they were neither big in business nor society people. I imagined their simple but beautiful life on that quiet street. But it was mysterious to me. Why did they live in Marguerite’s sister’s home? Did she build it for them?
Abstract for lot 12, block 1 with “Barbeau” written on it. This property is now considered lot 13, block 1 with all parcels included. More on that later.
It is delightful to think about the Nash Neighborhood at that time. Catherine Nash was on one end, her son Louis’ family on the other corner and nothing in between until 3818 Burt, where her sister and brother in law lived. At the west end of the street, the gorgeous Cathedral continued to be built. Can you imagine how quiet and serene it must have been?
More Nash News
During this period Edward Rousseau, son of Catherine’s deceased sister, Malvina Barbeau Rousseau was killed in Montana. Ed Rousseau was mentioned as having been in the American Smelting business when he lived in Omaha. In the last eight years before his death, Ed Rousseau was successful in the Montana mining business and had married a millionaire sheep rancher’s daughter. The article mentioned his loving sisters, Marguerite and Minnette Rousseau and his three aunties back in Omaha, Mrs. James Woodard, Mrs. E. W. Nash and Mrs. Thomas Barbeau. In October of 1919 “Bold Burglars” had broken into the Louis C. Nash’s basement and stole about $5,000 worth of cases of liquor. “This stock of refreshment had been laid away by Mr. Nash before the fateful May 1, 1917 and had been held almost intact.” This was referring to Nebraska’s decision to go dry in 1917, more than a year before the rest of the country enacted Prohibition. Nash, his family and all of their servants “slept peacefully away upstairs” as the burglars and their two motor trucks hauled away their spoils. Ohmeeohmy!!
Possible side door or basement door of 3807 Burt where the burglars got in.
Just look at that house. This one really allows you to see the E.W. Nash Mansion up close. Catherine Nash and her grandchildren. Look at all of those little faces. Imagine going to visit your grandmother at the incredible 3806 Mansion? You know how I obsess over servants. Well I found many clues of a Charles Edwards, a chauffeur, living in Catherine Nash’s home. But get this; he was a chauffeur for Catherine’s sister at the L. F. Crofoot home of 122 South 39th Street. 1917. (Photo courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection at The Durham Museum Photo Archive).
From the Find A Grave Memorial site, I stumbled across this article about Catherine. This article calls Catherine “one of Omaha’s wealthiest women” and also “one of the most generous contributors to all local institutions.”
From the OWH of Sept 1, 1920. Wedding announcement of the famed musician-Omaha heiress, Catherine’s youngest to Colonel Edward Martin Watson. Frances Nash (Mrs. E. M. Watson) was a pianist. Her first concert success was made in Berlin where she appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Her career began in Omaha where apparently a large portion of the family mansion at 3806 Burt was dedicated to her music conservatory.
Throughout this time period, I could see how very close Catherine was with her family. Social outings involved the many members of her family. At one meeting of the Alliance Francaise, an Omaha group that continues to celebrate French language, culture and educational programs to this very day, more than half of those in attendance were Catherine’s relatives. Those included were the Catherine Nash, her sister and niece the Crofoots, Marguerite and Minnette Rousseau and Mary Proulx. Perhaps the Barbeau Nash clan were founding members of the early Alliance Francaise d’Omaha?
Death of Catherine Nash
Catherine Barbeau Nash died suddenly on a train on November 3, 1928. In her large will, among other things, were some glimpses into the puzzle. It was put forth: Mrs. James I Woodward (Catherine’s sister) “Has the privilege of living at 820 No. 38th Street without paying rent as long as she wishes.” This was telling as it indicated that the Woodards had been living in Catherine’s house all of this time. “Another sister, Mrs. Marguerite Barbeau, may live at 3818 Burt Street as long as she wishes, also without paying rent.” Well these I had it. The clue I had wondered about from the Deed. The Barbeaus had perhaps been renters but were allowed to stay as long as they wanted after Catherine’s death.
OWH article of November 21, 1928. Aside from being dazzled by the generosity of Catherine Barbeau Nash, I had a better understanding of the closeness of this incredible family. $200,000 in 1928 was worth roughly $2,734,394 by today’s standards. Catherine also willed a thirty thousand dollar trust to be held in a trust to complete that brilliant Nash Chapel at the Cathedral, as well as another five thousand dollars to be applied on the Cathedral’s mortgage. Father Flanagan’s boys home received five thousand dollars. Five thousand dollars went to each niece: Misses Marguerite and Minnette Rousseau and Marie Leda Proulx.
Changes on Burt Street and to the C. B. Nash Company
I came across a piece of evidence from the Register of Deeds: The C. B. Nash Company sold to Burgess Nash Building Company on December 26, 1928. I didn’t know exactly what this meant until I found more tracers later.
October 5, 1929 C. B. Nash Company is dissolved. Louis C. Nash and L. F. Crofoot, Catherine’s son in law decided to close the company. Well thing were getting very tidy around here, indeed.
OWH January 17, 1933 “The Old E. W. Nash home is torn down.” The worst news. So it was called “the old?” Never a good sign. News of the wrecking ball came in 1933 when it was announced the Mrs. Nash’s residence had been empty since 1928. What in the world? “It occupied a two-acre tract which will probably be cut into lots.” And look at that photo? It looked stripped of all of its glory!
Death of Thomas G. Barbeau
OWH January 26, 1940. Thomas G. Barbeau died at the age of 92 in his 3818 Burt street home after an 18 month illness. They had the wake in the home and led to St. Cecilia’s for the funeral. I was saddened and confused all the more, as there was no real tidbits or interesting information about the Barbeaus’ life at 3818 Burt. It felt abrupt like I never could solve the puzzle. It was like tracking a ghost existence.
Evidence of 3818 Burt
From what I could surmise, Thomas and Marguerite had continued to live at 3818 Burt throughout those years after Catherine’s death. The Register of Deeds proved that the E. W. Nash Building Company eventually sold to Midland Realty Company (including strip adjacent to 3818) on June 7, 1940. Furthermore on July 28, 1940 the H. A. Wolf Company acquired from the E. W. Nash Building Company “between 38th and 39th Streets, Burt and Cuming Streets.” Oddly Mary N. Crofoot et al to Midland Realty Company in July of 1940 revealed a “QDC” off of “strip adjacent only”. Meaning Mary Crofoot’s name was taken off of a parcel adjacent to 3818. Mary Crofoot as you will remember was Catherine and E. W.’s daughter. Finally on July 29, 1940, the Midland Realty Company sold to Marguerite M. Barbeau et al on July 29, 1940. After living in the home all those years, Marguerite officially owned 3818 Burt Street.
Original 3818 Burt photo, showing part of the empty lot to the east. Photo: current owner generously lent.
Thanks to a helpful librarian at the W. Dale Clark Library for turning me onto the Douglas County/Omaha GIS Department a while back, I was able to spy what the Burt Street block aerial looked like in 1941.
1941 DOGIS site shows Marguerite Barbeau’s home at 3818 marked with red tag on the left. 3806 address with large corner parcel, many pathways and drives on the property. It looks like the E. W. Nash home is still standing but maybe it is just the foundation or a shadow? One can see how park-like Burt Street must have been. It is evident from this aerial how Marguerite’s home and property was actually just an extention of her sister, Catherine’s sprawl. 3808, 3812 and 3814 (the three houses currently between 3818 and the end of the block) do not exist yet. Louis’s home at 3807 is enshrouded in trees.
Deaths of Marguerite Barbeau Barbeau and Adeline Barbeau Woodard
OWH October 21, 1941. Marguerite Barbeau died at the age of 89. They referred to Thomas G. as “prominent in the early building of Omaha” and Marguerite at a “pioneer.” They also wrote of her aiding many times in the building of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, which I wanted to know more about. I decided that was good enough for this amateur sleuth. We all know they don’t hand out those compliments as freely today. Apparently Marguerite died in a hospital after complications from a broken hip. So hold on for this next part. Interestingly her estate indicated that Marguerite had disposed of nearly all her $142,000 estate, almost all liquid assets, to her family. This is worth roughly two million dollars by today’s standards. She had a good amount of U. S. treasury bonds and equal amounts worth of U. S. Steel stocks. Marguerite donated generously to a number of Omaha Catholic affiliated institutions as well as the largest legacies going to Marguerite and Minnette Rousseau of 4106 Cuming Street. So even though I was not able to unearth much of the life of Marguerite Barbeau, she and Thomas had amassed quite a nice nest egg.
Thomas G. and Marguerite M. Barbeau’s tombstone. Photo from Find a Grave Memorial website.
In February of 1942, Adeline Barbeau Woodard, the youngest of the Barbeau siblings died at the age of 85. Adeline continued to live at 820 North 38th Street, Catherine’s home that she had left her sister. Her obituary listed her as a member of one of Omaha’s pioneer families and the youngest of seven. Seven? I thought there were ten…. or eleven. Well my leads could be inaccurate or the World Herald could have been off. This wouldn’t be the first time or the last. The article also said that Adeline came to Omaha a decade after Catherine arrived as seemed to be the pattern with the Barbeau family.
From the current owner’s abstract.
The Rousseau Sisters
3818 Burt was put up for rent in the fall of 1942. According to the deed it was still owned by Marguerite Barbeau, deceased.
An article from the OWH of December 28, 1942 gave a hint as to the new renters. “Lt and Mrs. Paul L. Johnson and their son have arrived from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and have taken a residence at 3818 Burt Street.” Later Marguerite M. Rousseau (niece of Catherine Nash) moved into 3818 Burt with her sister Minnette, according to Omaha City Directory. The home was listed in Marguerite Rousseau’s name from 1945-1977. The two sisters never married.They moved from their family home of 4106 Cuming, previously shown.
From the current owner’s abstract.
In August of 1944 I was shocked to find Malvina E. Rousseau (Catherine’s sister) on the 3818 Burt deed for “Death Certificate.” Malvina was the first of the family to die back in 1895. It was confounding to say the least. I speculate that someone at the deeds office made a mistake or that Minnette’s middle name was Malvina because…surprise of surprises, just months after moving into 3818 Burt, Minnette died suddenly in the home. No reason given. She was only 49 years old.
OWH August 9, 1944: Minette Rousseau dies in her home. Again, the wake was held in the 3818 Burt residence. The family requests no flowers. This did not look good and I was very sad for Marguerite. I had literally piles of articles from events that those two girls had attended their whole lives together.
Changes on Burt Street
From the 1955 Douglas County/Omaha GIS Department site I could see that 3808, 3812 and 3814 were built. I found evidence showing these three houses to have been built in the early to mid 1940s, after the last GIS aerial. The E. W. Nash Mansion at 3806 Burt is truly gone.
1955 Douglas County/Omaha GIS Department aerial. 3818 Burt is tagged on the left. It is evident that the original E.W. Nash property has been broken up into parcels. By the 1962 Douglas County/Omaha GIS Department aerial my 3802 Burt White Brick Dream House had been erected where the E. W. Nash mansion had been. The Douglas County Assessor site reported this house as being built in 1964.
Marguerite Rousseau was not officially on the Deed until 1977 when the Douglas County Court signs her off “Cert Admin of Estate.” It was so mysterious to me. It was weeks later that I learned Marguerite had died in April of 1977. She was 87 years old and had lived in 3818 Burt until she passed. According to the Omaha City Directory, 3818 Burt was vacant in 1978. There were also additional slivers of parcels of land being added to 3818 Burt from the 1940s through the 1960s, involving other surnames, which appeared as “vac alley” or “strip adj.” I believe this means vacant alleyway and strip of land adjacent to.
Sanborn Map detail showing 3818 Burt on Lot 12. Two houses are show taking up a portion of lot 13 and 14. It is interesting to note the covering up of the original drawing underneath. The drawing beneath appears to depict the E. W. Nash stable which would have been on the west-most side of the original corner parcel. Are you following me here? Thanks to Trina Westman of the City Planning Department for sharing this map with me.
**Update Later I attained the current owner’s abstract of 3818 Burt and it gave further riddle filled clues, contrary to the Douglas County Deeds office. The abstract revealed that James H. Freeman and Annette C. Freeman bought the property from Midland Realty in August of 1940. Then the Freemans sold in July 1942 to Anna C. Murray (a single person) and M. Vera Murray (a single person). Then the Murrays sold to the current owners in October of 1980. This is curious to me, as these names are not on record at the Register of Deeds office.
Interiors and Current Home Owner Details
Through Sherri Moore I was able to arrange a meeting with the current homeowners of 3818 Burt Street. They were so gracious to allow me into their home, let me ask questions and take photos. I will not be using the family name or specifics about their life for privacy reasons. One of the first things Mrs. Home Owner let me know through emailing was “Since my house is 100 years old this year, it feels like I am putting on a celebration for it!” This won me over immediately as I feel the same sense of connection with buildings.
Beautiful, modest entry way into 3818 Burt, featuring original woodwork and hanging pendant light fixture. It just felt warm and enveloping.
Wooden valances frame the living room windows.
View from dining room into the front sitting room. Leaded glass doors in the living, dining and sun rooms.
The dining room woodwork was painted when the Mr. and Mrs. Home Owner bought 3818 Burt Street. The wood has since been stripped and stained. There was and still is a maid’s bell in the dining room floor although it is covered under a rug and no longer works. The chandelier in the dining room was original to the home and is from Czechoslovakia. Photo: Home Owner’s from when they moved in.
Curious Peeping Tom and Lady Godiva on the front door. When Mr. and Mrs. Home Owner bought 3818 Burt, there was always an empty lot next door to the east, which was filled with peony bushes. Currently the property is over one acre. This jived with all of the additions to the original property plat that I had found at the Register of Deeds. Photo by home owner.
Much of the older part of the house has original light fixtures. Mrs. Home Owner estimated that the original home was near 3,000 square feet and the addition was another 3,000.
Dining room light. Photo by homeowner.
“The Magic Chef oven is also original and in good working condition.” Look at that. Photo by home owner.
Detail of that fabulous logo. Photo by home owner.
Miss Cassette had traced a 1986 garage addition, which was considered a “raised ranch.” It was also given the address of 3816 Burt. I knew I needed to see that garage. Mrs. Home Owner verified all of that information, adding that it is an apartment that they rent to a relative. I appreciated that they upheld the Tudor Revival style in keeping with the rest of the house.
The garage was not the only Tudor Revival addition to the property. Look at this precious little playhouse out back.
A view from the back of 3818 Burt. Looked at that cunning back doorway. Home Owners’ children playing in the back yard. “From what I understand we were the first family with children to live in the house.” This matched what I had located, until I found out about the short term renter family from Wisconsin recently. Photo: Current owner’s private collection.
I found in the OWH Mr. and Mrs. Home Owner made a large addition to the dwelling in May 10, 2004 at a cost of $110, 250. “When we did the addition, we tried to make it match the original part of the house as much as possible.” The family hired Brown Architecture & Design Company. Ernest P. Cruz was the project manager. The Home Owners really wanted to match the bricks perfectly to the original house. Workers for the architect soon discovered that all of the bricks on the original house did not even match—the brick on the side of the residence was different than the front. This helped everyone to relax a bit and realize that it did not have match perfectly.
New stairwell interior.
Backside of addition with view of the rear porte cochere with deck feature.
Front view of porte cochere with deck feature off of master bedroom.
Main Level Floor Plan for addition, also revealing original design.
Second Level Floor Plan
One detail that I really liked was this beautiful door that came from Mrs. Home Owner’s family home. She had the architect include it in the addition. This is now her bedroom door.
At the end of our visit, Mrs. Home Owner informed me that Thomas and Marguerite Barbeau each had a beautiful plaque or engravings with their names on it at Saint Cecilia’s Cathedral. I could not believe it. I had to go see for myself.
And here was Catherine’s niece. An additional surprise.
Here is the best part of all and something that I don’t anticipate being able to say very often on My Omaha Obsession. Joslyn Castle will be offering a chance to visit 3818 Burt Street as part of their fall tour. After all of this time spent following the Nash, Barbeau and Rousseau families’ intriguing lives and series of heartbreaks, I can’t quite shake the experience. They have entered my dreams. I love to imagine Catherine Nash’s Burt Street trio of houses and other homes in the area that she allowed her loved ones to live in. I can feel her big family heart. I want to encourage you to go on that tour and experience that lovely home for yourself. If you can, walk the neighborhood and look at the other properties on Burt. Make sure to stop in the Cathedral and look for these family clues as well. You will not be sorry you did.
***Update: The Nash family story continues with The Case of the Curious Cricket Room and Burgess-Nash Company.
I am not receiving money for including this bit of advertisement. For your knowledge only: The Holiday Historic Home Tour will run from 10:00am until 4:00pm Friday, November 11th and Saturday, November 12th. The tour will feature four historic properties: The Joslyn Castle located at 3902 Davenport St., 3818 Burt Street Home, the Cornerstone Mansion at 140 N. 39th St., and the First Unitarian Church at 3114 Harney St. These tours bring together people who love historic properties, and help reinforce the value and beauty that they bring to the community. Tickets for the tour are $20.00 and may be purchased on-line at http://www.joslyncastle.com or by calling 402.595.2199. Tour Tickets for the tour are $20.00 and may be purchased on-line at http://www.joslyncastle.com or by calling 402.595.2199. Tour tickets will also be available for purchase at each of the tour sites on November 11th and 12th.
Thank you, thank you everyone for reading my articles and supporting me. It means so much to share this obsession with houses and their people with all of you. I welcome your feedback and comments on this home, its history, Burt Street, the Nash, Barbeau and Rousseau families and the Cathedral area. I also welcome your kind corrections. We know more together. To enable comments, please click on the header title. If you would like to correspond with me privately, please do so at email@example.com. But I assure you, everyone would love to read what you have to say and it makes the conversation more fun. You can keep up with my latest investigations without even leaving your inbox, by “following” myomahaobsession. You will get sent email updates every time I have written a new story. Thank you Omaha friends.
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Ahhhhh – so many mysteries uncovered, but not really resolved in this post. And I’m a bit partial, but I’m in love with that grand old lady with the big white columns that is pictured in the middle of the post. 😉
I believe we live in the only true CJ Smyth House. But, I have often run across documents, blogs, articles, etc. that give that name to the house next door. Don’t you love a good mystery? I am so looking forward to working with you and learning more about our house and the neighborhood. Great writing and so much interesting information in this piece.
Yes, I have a hunch you are in the only Smyth house too. So odd that all of the formal Omaha records and the Planning Department have Louis’ home listed as Smyth. I am going to get to the bottom of this! Thank you for your kind words.
Hello and thank you again! I appreciated the hint to break out the notepad to keep track of things. I’ve often had to start an article over after deciding notes would be helpful! I recall years ago, possibly before 1986 when I moved out of Omaha,a home tour that included 322 North 38th Street! Just like you I had an obsession with the beautiful screen door since childhood. I wish I remembered more details. The 2 details that have stayed with me are that the door was heavier than I had imagined it would be and that the door was much older than I had imagined. I think I always thought it was a ’50s design but it was older. The Nash story is very interesting!
Hello Kevin, Good to hear from you. I can’t believe I missed the home tour of 322–but so glad to know someone else out there remembers that door. Apparently the 20s and 30s doors of that style were iron and known to be heavy. It must be older.From my research they were very popular in Florida in the 20s-50s. Very cool. Which makes me think, at some point I need to find out more about the early home owners of 322 North 38th. Thanks for writing.
This was wonderful information. Thank you for all your work! I grew up in the house at 820 N. 38th St., and had always understood that it was a Nash home but did not know any more than that. The history you have provided is fascinating. I recall the garage and playhouse being built at 3818. I also used to visit the housekeeper who lived in the Louis Nash house – she lived there alone for many years. I used to love to visit there and had the opportunity to even spend the night there once. I am in the process of moving back to Omaha and have been interested in learning more history of the neighborhood. Thanks again for your work on this!
Thank you so much and what a nice compliment. What a beautiful neighborhood to grow up in. I thank you for sharing your memories, particularly of the staff at the Louis Nash home. Interesting! Welcome Home to Omaha.
My grandfather built the house at 3802 Burt St. in 1962. While it was under construction the neighbors notified the local newspaper — they were sure he was building a hotel as the home is built of steel-reinforced concrete, just like the grain elevators his company built and repaired. A reporter came to investigate, but gramps was able to convince him that he was just building a house. I had no idea what might have been on the lot before the house was built. Thank you for your research on Burt St. (I grew up nearby at 3826 Webster.) It is a grand neighborhood.
Ooooh, I love it. What an interesting inside scoop. Thank you. I would love to hear anything else you would want to share. Yes, such a lovely, grand part of town.
I just read this article. How did I miss it all this time?! You are correct about the house at the North west corner of Burt. I lived at 3514 Burt in the early sixties and recall it being built. Us neighborhood kids played king of the mountain on the construction site until they hauled off the hill of dirt. It was so much fun! I,too, love that house and so many in the area. Thank you for the great article.
Have pictures of the C J Smyth home (710 N 38th – but listed as 38th St between Webster and Burt.), F A Nash home (120 S 33rd), and Mrs E W Nash home as they appeared in October 1907 Omaha Bee.