If you’ve ever driven along Cuming Street, you’ve most likely passed right by the Bemis Park neighborhood. Maybe you’ve noticed it: the large houses set back from the road on the north side of Cuming.
To many, this often overlooked neighborhood is home. According to a resident’s interview with the Omaha World Herald, “It’s like a small town. I think a lot of why people like it here is they do know everybody. They know they can trust their neighbors, and they know they can count on their neighbors.”
The neighborhood was built by George Bemis’ Land Company. It ranges from Cuming Street to Hawthorne Avenue and Glenwood Avenue to 33rd Street. It was annexed into Omaha in 1887 and later declared an Omaha Landmark in 1983. One of the neighborhood’s most distinctive features is that it was the first in Omaha to be built based on the topography of the land rather than the usual grid-pattern. The tree-lined streets wind between hills, creating a picturesque neighborhood ideal for long walks.
Most of the homes were built in the late 19th century and early 20th century, with the majority being Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, and Neo-Classical style. It wasn’t until the Easter Day tornado of 1913, that a new architectural style began popping up. The tornado decimated many homes, leaving room for new vernacular structures to be built.
Often considered a prestigious neighborhood, it endured some tough times. Following World War II, there was a housing shortage causing many of the homes to be converted into apartments. Later, in the 1960’s, slumlords took over the neighborhood as Omaha continued to expand west. In the eyes of many residents, the neighborhood’s storied past only makes them love it more.
Many people who grew up in Bemis Park move back when they have families themselves. With three parks, the neighborhood is perfect for raising a family. One of the parks is the neighborhood’s namesake, Bemis Park, which was donated to the city of Omaha by George Bemis when he built the neighborhood.
Bemis Park neighborhood’s close proximity to Downtown, Midtown Crossing and Blackstone District also draws many residents in. According to the latest numbers, the median home price in the neighborhood is an affordable $159,000, coming to about $79 per square foot. About 44% of the residents are homeowners with a median age of 45 years old.
If you aren’t sold on this neighborhood yet, we haven’t gotten to the best part: Weekly Wednesday Wine Walks. These neighborhood gatherings, according to the Omaha World Herald, are ‘not always weekly, not always on Wednesday, not always a walk, [but] always involving wine.’
Bemis Park is a beautiful neighborhood in Omaha with a historical past. Next time you’re driving along Cuming Street, don’t forget to notice the stately homes of Bemis Park.