Puzzling Times – Omaha 1915 edition #11

Today we have for you the eleventh 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 the future plans for a 360-VR viewer to view the panorama. We would like to thank Greg for the write-up about the VR viewer and Karl for researching and putting together a write-up about points of interest in the panel.

Future Plans Part 3: 360-VR Viewer

Once all of the original panels from 1915 panorama have been found, scanned, and stitched together into a unified panorama the next step would be to take the ends of the panoramic view and using specialized software stich them together to create a seamless 360-view.  This 360-view image could then be paired with a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, allowing users to view this historic landscape and look around as if they are standing in the very spot Fr. Rigge and Mr. Schmitt took these photographs. After the drone project to capture a modern recreation of the original photoshoot is completed the process could be repeated with those images.  With these two panoramas, separated by over 100 years and presented in a VR format, users will be able to step back in time and see how much Omaha has changed around the University.

Today’s puzzle is a view from Southwest by West.


Image A – Henry Yates Mansion located at 31st and Davenport St. Henry Yates arrived in Omaha in 1861 and worked at First National Bank from 1863 until leaving to found Nebraska National Bank in 1882. The mansion seen here, also called Hillside, was constructed over a period of two years starting in 1887. Following Yates’ death in 1915/16 his widow, Eliza Yates, donated a section of the grounds to the Omaha Public Schools for the construction of an elementary school shortly following his death. She would continue to live in the house until her death in 1929. From 1932 until the mid-1940’s the house served as the home for the Creighton Chapter of Chi Upsilon. Hillside was demolished in 1944. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Image B – Joslyn Castle located four city blocks near 39th and Davenport St. Built in 1903 at a cost between $250,000 and $500,000 the mansion is done in a Scotch Baronial style and was designed by John McDonald, who we have encountered previously as the designer of First Baptist church. Formally named Lynhurst, Joslyn Castle was the residence of George A. Joslyn a prominent Omaha businessman who had arrived in Omaha in 1880 to work as a manager at Western Nebraska Union and within 10 years worked his way to president of the ready print company. At the time of his death in 1916 the Union reached some 20 million users across the United States and was the largest service of its kind in the nation. Following his death his widow Sarah Joslyn commissioned the construction of the Joslyn Memorial, today the Joslyn Art Museum, also designed by John McDonald. To oversee the Memorial, she founded the Society for Liberal Arts, which upon her death in 1940 took over management of Joslyn Castle. From 1944 until 1989 they leased the mansion to the Omaha Education Board for administrative space. The mansion reverted to city ownership for at time following the Education Boards exit and is currently owned by a private historical group dedicated to its upkeep. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

St. John’s Church – The foreground of this view is dominated by St. John’s Catholic Church located near 25th and California St. The church was initially established as a collegiate church to serve the students of Creighton University primarily using funds raised by donations, including a $10,000 donation from John A. Creighton and $35,000 raised by University President Fr. Shaffel by selling several investment properties that had been purchased in the neighborhood west of the university. The cornerstone ceremony in June of 1887 attracted roughly 4,000 spectators and was one of the largest religious gatherings in Nebraska to that point. The finished church was dedicated in 1888 on the feast of John the Evangelist, leading to a slight mishap when the presiding bishop dedicate the church to said saint instead of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of John Creighton, as had been the original intention. As a collegiate church St. John’s was unable to conduct weddings, baptisms, and funerals, however pressure from the church’s supporters lead to an arrangement in 1897 where the St. John’s was recognized as a parish under the leadership of the Jesuits while Holy Family, which had for a time been under the leadership of the Jesuits, reverted back to the archdiocese. Between 1920 and 1922 the church underwent several expansions including a rectory, transept, and apse. The steeple on the right tower was finally added in 1977. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


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