Douglas County Courthouse, Omaha

Douglas County Courthouse, Omaha

The present Douglas County Courthouse is located at 1701 Farnam Street. Built in 1912, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Notable events at the courthouse include two lynchings and the city's first Civil Rights Era sit-in protest. Five years after it was opened, the building was almost destroyed by mob violence in the Omaha Race Riot of 1919.

The 1912 building was designed in the French Renaissance Revival style by local architect John Latenser, Sr.. Decorative stonework covers the structure's exterior, and the building serves as a prominent landmark in Downtown Omaha. Built south of the old courthouse, the building is six stories tall along Harney Street and five stories along Farnam. While the exterior walls are covered with unembellished Bedford stone, the interior halls have mosaic floors and marble wainscotings. Hardwood covers the interior of most offices, and vaults preserve county records. There were county offices on the main floor, second and third floors, and courtrooms on the fourth floor. The Douglas County Jail was on the fifth floor.

In September 1919, following Red Summer and racial riots in numerous industrial cities, a mob of thousands of men from South Omaha surrounded and attacked the Courthouse seeking to lynch an African-American worker named Willy Brown (accused of assaulting a white woman). Young men broke windows and climbed the outside of the building. After a few hours, thousands more gathered and they set the courthouse on fire to force the police to hand over the suspect.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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Douglas County Courthouse on Map

Sight Name: Douglas County Courthouse
Sight Location: Omaha, USA (See walking tours in Omaha)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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