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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (April 11, 1909)
The Omaha Sunday Bee
PAGE3 l TO 4.
A PAER TOR THE HOME
YOUR MONET 3 WORTH
VOL. XXX VI II NO. 43.
OMAHA, SUNDAY MOKXINO, APRIL 11, VJQ9.
iSlXULK COPY FIVE CENTS.
OMAHA PARKS AND BOULEVARDS SOURCE OF CIVIC PRIDE
Detailed Information About tho Beautiful Pleasure Grounds and Drives that Belong to the People and That Are Each Year Being Made Moro
In All Their Aspects
-".. - - - '
1 '-.y-, ivi?
A IT108t HlU-l.tY.
and Bwout, ic i .
the luoveiuoni (.i
' the value ot v b
work, with the Idea ot making Cut-Oft lake
. ..... ii' water. It la tuo largest In the state, clean
.i..ng8 connected with the MiBnourt river, and aa
i.iu water Ih constant, this lake Is an acquisition
.i i.s but lightly sensed at present. The board haa
IN HANSCOM PARK.
SOMEWHERE thers Is a statement running to the effect that
the parks of a city are but as blocks of marble awaiting the
chisel of the sculptor to give them form beauty and meaning.
Omaha today has the parks, a baker's doien of them.
The taxpayers have working for them a group of sculptors
consisting ot Superintendent W. R. Adams and the members of the
park board. The sculptors are and have been more or less ham
pered, however, from one cause or another. Money has not always
been plentiful, and to carry through condemnation proceedings has
often been a herculean taak. Hardly less disappointing than lack of
money and court fights has been the necessity for rejecting many
an appraisement that did not seem to the board Just right. Here
is a specimen Instance of winning by the board after waiting a
while: In 1891 the city offered 11,200 an acre for land north of
Rlverview park that was wanted. The offer was refused, and in
1898 the land was secured for $250 an acre by condemnation pro
ceedings. Omaha is said to be the one large city In the world with a great
river flowing by its front which has no river park aa a sort of In
viting dooryard, unless we count Rlverview as such. Yet it was
cheated of this valuable possession only by the shortsightedness of
early councils, for In a map published by A. D. Jones in 1854 Omaha
was shown to have a river front park. The tract so dedicated was
bounded by Davenport on the north, Jackson on the south and by
Eighth and Ninth streets on the east and west. Great wholesale
houses, shabby warehouses, Junk yards, railroad yards and railroad
depots now occupy the old park site. Even their real value, to say
nothing of the esthetic feature, would be Immensely enhanced today
were there a big open space, parked and beautified, to the east of
Ninth street. The water front parks ot Chicago and Milwaukee will
serve to illustrate the point.
Jefferson square was shown as a park on the Jcnes map, and
has been held as such against several attempts to divert it to busi
ness uses. On the old map Washington park also appears. It after
ward became the site ot the old court house, on which site the Pax
ton block now stands. Capitol square was also shown as a park,
and will serve to be classed in the list ot beauty spots today, for
on It stands the high school, with its winding walks, stretches of
greensward and many fine trees. These four park sites exhausted
the list made in the days of '54.
It will be interesting to trace briefly the disposition made by
city councils of the old-time park sites. In '61 the land between
Jones and Jackson was donated by the council to Thomas Davis, on
which he erected a steam mill. Later the council gave the land at
the northeast corner of Ninth and Farnam to aid in the erection of
the Herndon house, now the Union Pacific headquarters. Later
still what was left was cut up into blocks C, D, E, F, G, H and I
and was sold to private owners, being at once devoted to business
purposes. Hence there Is not eveu a driveway along the shore ot
The approach to the high school Capitol avenue parkway is a
good specimen of street parking, even though it does not receive
the care it should have. Several such pieces of street parking are
made already, others are In the making, and some more are planned.
The central forty-four feet of Wooiworth avenue from Hanscom
park to Thirty-sixth street, has been in charge of the park board
since '97 and is planted to trees and shrubs. Avondale park is the
pretentious name of the parked space on Webster street between
Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth avenues. It gets little attention,
though, and the two curbed and seeded spaces have on them only
nine scraggy bushes, five very Indifferent trees and one passable
Florence boulevard begins at Chicago and Nineteenth streets, but
it does not as yet deserve the name of real street parking until Ames
avenue la reached. From AmeB to Miller park thiB parkwa
runs northwest on the ridge ot
the bluff, is lined with forest
trees and overlooks the Mis
souri river bottom. At Ohio
street the boulevard twists over
to Twentieth, then runs north
to Ames. There are other
pieces of street parking that
will eventually become part of
a finished, harmonious whole.
Such are to be found on Cen
tral boulevard north from
Twenty-sixth to Hanscom park
and from Hanscom to River
view. In all there are about
ten and a half miles of boule
varding in what may be called
a fairly finished state.
Omaha has something over
900 acres in parks to be ex
act, 917.87 acres. This In
cludes Levi Carter park, the
last donation to the Omaha
system. The original cost of
the parklands purchased by the
city was $447,264, in round
numbers. They have cost for
maintenance to January 1, last,
$229,291, and the improve
ments made represent a first
cost of $349,826. Total cost to
the city of purchasing, Improv
ing and maintaining, $l,02ft
381. To this must be added
salaries and Incidental general
expenses since 1S89, when the
parks came under control of the
first park board.
After the sale of the blocks
named, in the present busi
ness district, by the city,
nothing at all was done to
when the late A. J. HanBeom donated the present park bearing
his name. In giving the land Mr. Hanscom stipulated that the city
should expend on improvements $3,000 in 1873, $4,000 in each of
the next three years and $5,000 in each of the next two years, mak
ing an expenditure of $25,000 in five years. During the years '90-'93
$30,000 was spent for a band stand, a pavilion and a greenhouse.
GLIMPSE OF A RESIDENCE STREET.
providi for parks until 1872,
SCENE ALONG A BOULEVARD.
The first pavilion burned down in '93 and the present one was built
the following year at a cost of $14,000. Much money went to grad
ing and roadmaking, and so today Hanscom park is the one com
plete picture of sylvan loveliness in the city. From a piece of un
lovely brush on the outskirts it has been made into a centerpiece
of exquisite character, with a lake of beauty softly sleeping therein,
and is in the heart of a neighborhood second to none in the west.
In this connectiou the increases in value of surrounding property
because of improved parks will
bear statement. Eleven years
ago, before Hanscom was any
thing like it is today, the in
crease in value of residence
sites surrounding it was twenty
times more than the average
increase noted throughout the
city. This ratio is said to hold
good, and In some Instances
bettered, wherever statistics
have been prepared on the sub
ject. Jefferson square Is a breath
ing place in the midst of busy,
dusty city life; but Elmwood is
a big outdoors stretch of hill
and dale, level sward and deep
ravines, outside the city limits.
Rlverview and Fontanelle are
almost of a size, in distantly
separated parts of the city; the
first is quite satisfactorily im
proved, the last in its wild state
almost entirely. Bemls la a
gem, in a high class residence
section; Miller Is a big, tree
dotted lawn' far from the cen
ter, but rapidly being sur
rounded by happy, If modest,
homes. Kountze park Is the
exposition site, adorned but
very little, and Deer park Is a
small wlldwood exhibit out on
South Central boulevard, start
ing about Fifteenth and run
ning to Twentieth. Curtiss
Turner park is, through its
name, a memorial to an estima
ble young man; it is in the Up
per Farnam district, and in con
trast is Bluff View park, out
north from Thirtieth to Thirty-first; and Hlmebaugh park, at Dooa
tur and Forty-seventh. Both are almost as nature left them, but
in a few years the park board hopes that these, with Deer park, will
be as pleasurable in dress and getup as even Turner and Bemis.
This year the board will put the bulk of its work on the new
Levi Carter park. Shore decoration will not be attempted to any
extent at this time, but probably $10,000 will be spent for dredging
mmmwmi mm pjiifujiupn i i I i i " ' f fvfmnmxww y jf-l iiiiib I n 1 11 1 n J.
I ' ."-I "rl 3
plans lncubaiii.K Uiitt are ambitious enough to indicate It bas a cor
reet perspective :n mind. Wheu decked out with all the trimmings
that the bcr.t laniiscapo gardening experts can suggest and put on,
the 303 acres of land and water comprised in Levi Carter park will
undoubtedly bo listed among the pictorial panoramas lying outdoors
In the United States that are worth traveling to see and enjoy.
What is the value of Omaha parks? About $2,000,000, at a very
modest estimate, In money. Their esthetic value is hardly to be cal
culated; but all who have given the matter study assert that In the
years to come their service to the people will be vastly enlarged.
"Up north" Is as yet not In the same class with Virginia, tor in
stance, or even with "down east." Modern homes ot taste and ele
gance we have about our park spots, but we lack, and will lack for
some time, the statues and exquisite floral effects that distinguish
the southern and eastern parks. We lack, too, something ot the
natural beauties that constitute a very large part of the attractive
ness of such parks as Minnehaha in Minnesota, for instance; but
under all the handicaps of newness, cleared ground, lack of money,
legal difficulties and the like, Superintendent Adams, with the board
behind him, has accomplished much good work. By and bye, when
the people themselves begin to take a lively interest In cleaning and
beautifying the section or blocks in which they live, then the park
and everything that pertains to parking will receive an impetus such
as has been experienced in other cities. Eveu In the most unlikely
neighborhoods, seemingly, in New York City, wonders have been ac
complished by arousing public interest. One notable Instance Is Mul
berry Bend park in New York, which cost $2,000,000, and is now
valued at $12,000,000. It has changed the tone of the neighborhood
By a law passed during the recent session of the legislature, all
public playgrounds are placed under control of the Omaha Park
board. The board will assume the duty In a willing spirit; In fact,
considerable of the improved territory alrea'dy under its control la
used as playground by little folks, and grownups, too. Much of the
street parking, or boulevardlng, is more or less uBed as playground,
and Bemls and Curtiss Turner parks are in a practical sense neigh
borhood playgrounds of the highest merit. Miller park has public
golf links, while most ot the other parks are very popular with plc7
This year a pavilion is to be erected in Elmwood park, somewhat
(on the order of the pavilions in Hanscom and Rlverview. Bids are
to be opened shortly for the structure, which will be 30x100 feet in
The number of trees set out by the board since taking charge of
the parks runs away up into the thousands; 35,000 were set out In
one season at Miller park' alone. These trees cost the board In the
neighborhood of 15 cents each. Grading and roadmaking have been
costly items for the board, but the results are considered as Justify
ing the expense in fullest measure.
Propagating, raising and setting out of flowers and shrubs ia A
large Job in the parks ot Omaha. An inventory of plants and
shrubB on hand In 1898 made their market value something over
$3,000. Present value of the plants and shrubs on hand for use In
the parks and along the boulevards Is undoubtedly twice that
x No other park In Omaha boasts such a variety ot entrancing
scenery as Rlverview, and it is here that a substantial start has been
made toward having a collection of wild animals Indigenous to the
Rocky mountains and the western prairies. Natural condition!
have been cleverly utilized to make bear pits, dens, roosts and pas
tures for the animals. The collection is not large as yet, but the
animals to be seen Include buffalo, bear, elk, deer, wolves, coyotes,
badgers, foxes, raccoons, wild cuts, guinea pigs, eagles, owls and
Donations of property for park or boulevard purposes have been
made to the board, from time to time, by A. J. Hanscom, Mrs. Tur
ner, J. M. Wooiworth, Herman Kountze, W. I. Kierstead, W.. J. Cou
ncil, George P. Bemls, Mrs. Levi Carter, Lyman Richardson, John T.
Boll, Henry B. Wiley, Leopold Doll, William F. Snyder and perhaps
others. Tho acreage in the various parks Is: Levi Carter, 303;
Elmwood, 208; Rlverview, 111; Fontanelle, 107; Miller, 78; Hans
com, 57; Deer, 19; Kountze, 10; Bemis, 10; Turner, 7 and a frac
tion; Bluff View, not quite an acre; Hlmebaugh, 1 and a fraction;
Jefferson Square, one block.
The first park board consisted of Dr. George L. Miller, president;
O. W. Lininger, vice president; Augustus Pratt, George B. Lake and
Alfred mlllard. All of these, and Dr. Miller especially, are credited
with most excellent work in inaugurating and pushing the park sys
tem as at present laid out. Thoy have had worthy successors from
time to time in public-spirited men who have given generously of
their time to further tho work. The preseut board consists ot E. P.
Berryman, president; Rome Miller, vice president; E. J. Cornish,
he work horse of the board; W. R. Watson and 8. L. Neble.
Making- a City to Order
ANEW city is to be born on the Pacific coast within a few
months. It will not be of haphazard growth. It has been
planned for years in advance, the lines of its growth Lave
been mapped out, and it only lemalns to set a date for occu
pation and then wait for it to be peopled.
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway company, which is building a
new transcontinental line across Canada chiefly through virgin ter
ritory, is responsible for this city that is to be. It has been chris
tened far in advance ot its birth. The city Is Prince Rupert, and it
is to be the Pacific coast terminus of the new railroad.
Prince Rupert is 560 miles north of Vancouver and only forty
miles south of the Alaskan boundary. That is pretty tar north, but
it is In the same latitude as London and its mean temperature ia
about the same as London's. By land and sea it is protected by
mountains. Its harbor la practically land-locked, but it has a mile
wide roadstead for ships.
The projectors of this new seaport went at the choice of a site
carefully. The entire north sea coast was searched and every harbor
sounded. The best way for the railroad through the mountains had
to be considered.
Further, the most available route to Yokohama and the rest ot
the Far East had to be taken into account. The choice was made
four years ago, and since then they have been making plans for the
new city. The first subdivision of the town site will be made about
May 1 and the public invited to come in and buy.
v The ateamshlp route to the new port from the Far East lies
through the Dixon entrance into Hecate strait, thence into Chatham
sound and Prince Rupert harbor. The harbor is really a strait be
tween Dlgby island and Prince Rupert island and it extends fourteen
miles Inland beyond the site of the new city.
The provincial government of British Columbia made a grant of
10,000 acres to the railway company, which bought up 14,000 acres
of Indian reserve land, making 24,000 acres for the city to grow in.
Probably it will need no more acreage. In tact, it will start out with
3,000 acres only, but that is some space.
The work ot planning Prince Rupert began in earnest in May,
1906. Since then surveying and clearing have been carried on sim
ultaneously. The land is cleared now and the town site, the 2,000
acres on which the start Is to be made, nas been mapped .out.
This town bas got to grow as the law directs and not as it wills.
Streets will not follow cowpaths or Indian trails. It has all been
attended to, even to laying out parks and boulevards w hich may not
be needed for half a century.
One of the first steps the engineers took was to employ land
scape gardeners, who have produced a plan which combines the utili
tarian and the artistic In city building. The landscape artists were
Brett 4 Hall of Boston, who laid out Mount Royal park. Montreal.
It you. YlalLPllaCe iiupeit. today. In" A111 flnt i settlement hd.
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ALONG THE SOUTHEAST BOULEVARD.
BY THE LAKE IN RIVEUV1EW PARK.
died on the (waterfront. It Is made up largely of
temporary structures In which the engineers and
workmen have been housed and fed and provided
for. Many of these structures will disappear
when the city gets its start. Your idea of the city
to come must be had from maps.
These maps show a long waterfront broken by
several little bays. A few streets back from the
water the land ascends, at first gradually and then
The streets are to go up hill in curves; In fact
scarcely half of the streets of this new city will
run in straight lines. Most of the thoroughfares
are numbered, the avenues gierally parallel to
the waterfront, the streets at fight angles to it.
There are many familiar names, Water street,
Beach street, Main street; also a Railroad avenue,
but no Broadway appears possibly It Is too
Here and there where the topography permits
are circles with streets radiating therefrom. Away
up on the hillside the Prince Rupert boulevard
had been mapped. It curves around above the
prospective city, affording (on paper) magnificent
views of the harbor and Its future array ot ship
ping. One can easily Imagine a second or third gen
eration ot the pioneers who themselves are yet to
be driving in automobllea along the boulevard and
taking in the'slgbts. There are mountains on the
opposite shore ready and willing to be looked at,
and to the northwest, through an lsland-sUidded
channel, is the famous Indian village ot Met
lakalta. The harbor itBelf nas been mapped by the Do
minion government hydrograpblc survey. It is
free from rocks or other obstructions and of suffl
clenjlepth to afford good anchorage. The en
traifj is straight, 2,000 feet in width at the nar
rowest part, with a minimum depth ot thirty-six
feet at low tide. A permanent wharf 1,300 feet
long has been constructed.
The British Columbia government Un't going
to have this new city at the mercy of a corpora
tion. It has taken a strong hand in the work of
development. One-quarter of all the land reverts
to the province, as also one-quarter of the water
front, after the townslte has been laid out.
The first inhabitants ot this city won't have to
worry over public improvements. They will find
graded streets, sidewalkB and sewers ready for
them. The provincial government appropriated
$200,000 for early improvements and amplu pro
vision will have been made in advance for a pop
ulation of 10,000 people. As the population in
creases the improvements will keep well in ad
vance. The gradual slope of the land, with an
occasional abrupt rise, bas made the drainage
problem very easy of solution.
The town, of course, will have to wait for the
railway, but It la creeping across the northwest
prairies. It Is 1.7(8 mile from Winnipeg to
Prince Rupert over tfc Oraad Tmak Pacific route,
and train are now ranalaa $etareen Winnipeg
and Walnwrlght, Albert, TOO'jnnea. The time
table bears the usual legend, "Subject to change
without notice," and In this case th change us
ually means the addJtton of a few mora stations
to the west every month or so. Construction
from the Prince Rnpert end win begin aoon.
Transportation facnitlea will give Prince Ru
pert its excuse for being, and many Industries wait
upon the completion of the railway. The fishing
Industry expocts to take a Jump forward.
The salmon pack last year in the Skeena rim,
twelve miles south of Prince Rupert, was valu I
at $1,000,000 and gave employment t" 5.000 p t
soua. This product has cone to V oauvr s;j .
Victoria by water, but when the i . cni.i
much of it will go 'hr-uh Trincj Han; t.
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