Puzzling Times – Omaha 1915 edition #7

Today we have for you the seventh panel in the series of panoramic photos shot by Father Rigge and Alphonse Schmitt. The first half of today’s blog post will focus on how the individual panels were stitched together to form a single panorama. We would like to thank Karl for putting together the write-ups and doing all of the research for these Rigge blogs.

Processing the Images

Once we identified the panels as being part of the same series each was scanned at a very high resolution of 2000 dpi. To give you an idea of how large that is, each image is a 410 megapixel image.  The images varied in condition, but all needed some amount of digital correction to ensure they had a uniform exposure and contrast. Dust, staining, and any tears were then removed digitally in a way that preserved the original character of the images. Adobe Photoshop was then used to digitally stitch the images together into one long panorama (3 gigapixel). To provide an idea of the scale here, if the entire panorama were to be printed at a print resolution of 240 dpi, the resulting print would be 60ft wide by 6ft tall.

Today’s puzzle is a view from East by Southeast.


Image A – The Ribbel Paper or Riley Building. Ribbel Paper and Woodware Company formed in 1903 and moved into the building seen here in 1906. The company itself dissolved in 1914, although one of the founders, George Ribbel, continued the former company’s business operations. Today the building houses the Riley Apartments and is probably best known for the prominent Omaha logo it bears on its western side, which was added in 1981. Across from the Omaha sign the original Ribbel Paper sign is visible, although it was touched up at the time the Omaha sign was added. 1 2 3 4

Image B – The Old Post Office located at Sixteenth and Dodge in Zoom B we see the old Omaha Post Office and Custom building. Designed by John Latenser construction of the marble building took several years, running from 1898 until 1906 and costing nearly $2 million. One interesting aspect of this image is that the Post Office clock is visible and allows us to identify the time this photograph was taken as roughly 4:10PM. The demolition of the Old Post Office in 1966 along with the old City Hall were significant to the foundation of Landmarks, Inc., Omaha’s first organization dedicated to the preservation of its historic architecture and landmarks. 1 2 3 4 5 6

Image C – First Methodist Episcopal Church at 20th and Davenport, the fourth home for the congregation. Designed by Omaha architects Mendelssohn, Fisher & Lawrie, the latter two of whom readers may remember as the designers of Sacred Heart in the North facing plate. Construction on the $95,000 building began in 1889, although sources differ as to whether the finished building was dedicated in 1890 or 1891. The distinctive bell tower stood 130ft tall and the auditorium could hold 1,200, with the structure itself being largely constructed of red sandstone. The church was destroyed in a fire in 1954. 1 2 3 4

Woodmen of the World – To right of Image B we see the Woodmen of the World building. Located at 14th and Farnam the Woodmen of the World Building was the second home of the Sovereign Camp of the Woodmen of the World, the fraternal insurance society that would eventually become the Woodmen Life Insurance Society. The Fisher and Lawrie firm makes another appearance here being involved with the design of the Woodmen this time working in association with the primary design firm of Holabird and Roche of Chicago. At a height of 18 stories (242ft) the Woodmen was not just the tallest building in Omaha at the time of its completion in 1912, but the tallest building between Chicago and the Pacific Ocean. A 19th story would later be added to house the WOAW radio station. The Italian Renaissance style building with its pink granite, brick, and terra cotta exterior, Colorado-Yule marble main entrance, and mix of shops and office spaces cost $1,500,000 to build. From its opening in 1912 until 1950, in addition to serving as the home of Woodmen Life, the building was also home to the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. The building was demolished in 1977. 1 2 3 4 5 6


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