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Florence is a neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraskamarker on the city's north end. It is the site of Nebraska's oldest city, oldest cemetery for people of European descent, and oldest standing gristmill. Florence was the site of an illegal Nebraska Territorial Legislature in 1858. Given the high concentration of National Register of Historic Places in the neighborhood it is regarded as, "the historic front door to Omaha as well as the state."


In the spring of 1854 James C. Mitchell, following the advice of Peter A. Sarpy, platted the village of Florence, including the old buildings and improvements of old Cutler's Park. Cutler's Park was established at the site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1846 Winter Quarters as a hold-over on their way from Nauvoo, Illinoismarker to Utahmarker. Due to the harsh conditions, 359 members of the 2,500 person party died and are buried in what is now called the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery. Their community was the first city in the Nebraska Territorymarker. Despite lasting only two years, the city had a mayor and city council, 24 policemen and fireguards, various administrative committees, and a town square for public meetings. The Mormon pioneers left their town once they moved on in 1848. Mitchell platted Florence six years later.

Late in 1854 the town of Florence made a bid to become the Nebraska State Capitolmarker, which it lost to Omaha. The Bank of Florencemarker, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built as a wildcat bank in 1856. It fell in the Panic of 1857, leaving thousands of local townspeople and area farmers severely financially drained.

Florence Legislature

In January, 1858 a group of representatives illegally moved the Nebraska Territorial Legislature to Florence following a violent outburst at the Territorial Capitol in Omaha. After repeatedly being dogged out of voting on the removal of the Capitol from Omaha, a skirmish pitted representatives from Nebraska Citymarker, Florence, and other communities to convene outside of Omaha. Despite having a majority of members present for the vote to remove the Capitol and all agreeing, the "Florence Legislature" did not succeed in swaying the Nebraska Territorymarker governor, and the Capitol remained in Omaha until 1867 when Nebraska gained statehood.

Omaha annexation

In 1917 the town was annexed by the City of Omahamarker. The Fort Omaha Balloon School was established later that year as the first such military school in America. "Florence Field," about a mile north of Fort Omaha, consisted of 119 acres.


Landmarks in Florence
Name Built Location NRHP? Notes
Bank of Florencemarker 1856 8502 North 30th Street October 15, 1969 This wildcat bank was designated as an Omaha landmark on October 14, 1980. It is a Greek Revival-style building built between 1850 and 1874.
Florence Boulevard 1892 Burt Street north to J.J. Pershing Drive Part of Omaha boulevard system, this was once called the "Prettiest Mile."
Florence Firehouse 8415 North 29th Street
Florence Millmarker 1846 9102 North 30th Street December 31, 1998 Also known as the Weber Mill, Mormon Mill, Grist Mill, and Old Pink Mill, this site is on the National Register of Historic Places and has two historic markers.
Florence School 1860s 7902 North 36th Street
Fontenelle Boulevard Pre-1900 Military Road to North 30th Street
Keirle House 1905 3017 Mormon Street Declared an Omaha Landmark in 1997.
Mitchell House 1854 8315 North 31st Street Built by James C. Mitchell, some assert that Brigham Young lived in the house for a short period.
Mormon Pioneer Cemetery 1846 3301 State Street Used until 1848, Mormon church records indicate 359 pioneers are buried there.
Mormon Pioneer Memorial Bridgemarker 1952 Taking Interstate 680 over the Missouri Rivermarker
Mormon Bridge Tollhouse 3010 Willit Street
Notre Dame Academy and Conventmarker 1924 3501 State Street March 5, 1998
Old People's Homemarker 1917 3325 Fontenelle Boulevard October 21, 1987
Potter's Field Cemetery 1870s 7909 Mormon Bridge Road Located next to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
St Philip Neri School 8202 North 31st Street The parish was founded in 1904; the school in 1922.
Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple 2001 Dedicated in April 2001.

See also


  1. (n.d.) History of the Florence Mill.
  2. "Heritage tourism may define future of Florence", Omaha by Design. Retrieved 9/18/08.
  3. Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska - Douglas County
  4. (n.d.) Historic Florence - Culter's Park Marker
  5. Reeves, R. (n.d.) Douglas County History University of Nebraska.
  6. Bristow, D.
  7. Federal Writers Project. (1939) Nebraska: A guide to the Cornhusker state. Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved 4/28/08.
  8. "Parish history", St. Philip Neri Church. Retrieved 6/4/08.

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