Oh, to admire your sunny disposition, 5922 Leavenworth. Perched on what I lovingly call, the High End of Leavenworth, right before the fantastic plunge into Elmwood Park or the Last Option to Hang a Louie onto 60th Street, headed south, she has truly seen it all. How many times had I seen and loved the sight? If the County Assessor registered her accurately, the southern facing 5922 Leavenworth was constructed in 1896 and, no doubt, is one of the oldest homes on the fringes of (and some tucked within, as mentioned in my log cabin story) Midtown’s beloved Elmwood Park.
This mini investigation was originally posted to Facebook on November 6, 2017. These Little Stories are slowly being migrated over to the website for continuity purposes (neurosis) and not all of our friends are on Facebook.
The top photo shows the 5922 house in October of 1918, a car just rounding the crest of 60th and Leavenworth, headed on its descent onto Elmwood Park Drive. I took the bottom photo in October of 2017, complete with Halloween decorations. You may have detected some architectural differences, as did I. Was it really the same house?
I discovered the home “adjoining Elmwood Park,” was up for sale in the late summer of 1921. $4,000 or $1,000 cash. Quite a bargain, I imagine. The two-story, seven-room home retained an enviable position–both situated at the edge of one of Omaha’s most beautifully designed parks and stationed on the Leavenworth Street car line, which could deliver a worker or businessman downtown and back by supper. Furthermore this 1921 sale availed the lucky purchaser of a second, adjoining, empty lot, if interested. And who wouldn’t be?
L. G. Reynolds, a district freight and passenger representative of the Baltimore and Ohio-Alton Railroad in Omaha, must have thought this sounded like a great deal. The hardwood floors and fireplace, in addition to that extra lot, created the perfect home for he and Edna King Reynolds, his wife. A few months later the couple filed for a building permit, “for alterations and addition to the frame dwelling” to the tune of $2,500. “Breathtaking charm,” it was later labeled.
Did the Reynolds build the balcony off the master bedroom, the sun porch off of the living room, the turn-around driveway on the large two lots and the gardener’s room behind the detached garage? Or did this notification signify a complete façade change into the Colonial Revival we see today?
The western front room.
The eastern parlor.
Potentially the Reynolds’ addition of the western sun porch.
1940s gardening book featuring the glory of the Amaryllis.
Mrs. L. G. Reynolds’ Amaryllis garden was celebrated in the newspapers for its great splendor, as well as twenty years of growth. She would continue to gift bulbs to girlfriends through the years. When L. G. died in February of 1941, Mrs. adapted by attaining yet another building permit for an “addition to dwelling.” One can assume this permit allowed for her clever enterprise: an apartment on the second floor of 5922 Leavenworth. In 1942 Mrs. Reynolds would rent the “entire upstairs—three rooms, private bath and entrance—overlooking Elmwood Park.” I would have liked to sign that rental agreement but only if it included nightly suppers with the Naked Lady expert. Edna King Reynolds died in 1954.
Google Map image from August of 2018.
The special home in the park was then marketed as a two-family home, or “rental property with apartment” through the 1980s. They say it also moonlighted as a semi-professional fraternity house. I am not sure when the home became a single-family dwelling again but this tall, proud house has long kept my attention, as I see it daily. I often wonder if the inhabitants grow weary of all of our headlights shining in their eyes? The new owner has made some bright changes and it is good to see a new wave of homeowners make 5922 Leavenworth their own.
Photo taken from southeast of 60th & Leavenworth Streets, looking northwest into Elmwood Park. A car is going down the Elmwood Park road. Creator: Bostwick, Louis (1868-1943) and Frohardt, Homer (1885-1972). Publisher: The Durham Museum. Date: 1918-10-17.
Fantastic detail of the 1918 mailboxes at the end of the Leavenworth line. Makes me love Omaha even more. Creator: Bostwick, Louis (1868-1943) and Frohardt, Homer (1885-1972). Publisher: The Durham Museum. Date: 1918-10-17.
Detail of the 5922 frame house before becoming a Colonial Revival. Or was this home knocked down to create that additional lot for 5922 Leavenworth? Will mysteries never cease? My money’s on it being the same home. Creator: Bostwick, Louis (1868-1943) and Frohardt, Homer (1885-1972). Publisher: The Durham Museum. Date: 1918-10-17.
This is only a small part of the story. I welcome your feedback and comments on the 5922 Leavenworth Street home. Insider tips? Please feel free to leave a thought in Comments. I welcome you to poke around with your flashlight. Investigate. Hide in the shrubbery. Look under these rocks and down those alleyways. I am more than pleased to have you tiptoe about. By the time you head for home, I hope you have been fully Sherlocked and Satiated. Thank you, detective friends.
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love this house have watched it grow over the years to be such a beautiful place
Love your articles. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Rita, for always being so sweet and sharing your warm cheer.
Love your obsessions Please put me in your email list for new posts.