Nebraska's 'Magic City' will be featured in a new museum funded by a federal pandemic grant |  Nebraska Examiner

Nebraska’s ‘Magic Metropolis’ can be featured in a brand new museum funded by a federal pandemic grant | Nebraska Examiner

OMAHA A brand new museum placing the highlight on Nebraska’s Magic Metropolis is getting ready to open in Could, its start was funded largely by a $100,000 pandemic-related federal grant.

Situated in a cove of the state’s oldest indoor shopping center, the South Omaha Immigrant Historical past Museum begins with The Scent of Cash exhibit, a tribute to the profitable, if smelly, native cattle trade that drew immigrants from world wide.

Wanting south throughout the cattle sheds within the Stockyards from about L Avenue, c. 1917. (Courtesy Durham Museum, Bostwick-Frohardt Assortment)

Actually, explosive progress led to the nickname Magic Metropolis earlier than South Omaha was annexed by Omaha in 1915. The Stockyards space was the biggest cattle market on this planet from about 1955 via the Sixties.

Nestled on Heart Mall, close to forty second and Heart Streets, the neighborhood museum goals to showcase a collection of enjoyable nostalgia from this fast-moving period.

There are stays of the final standing cattle sheds. (Gary Kastrick, co-founder of the museum, stated he grabbed the timber as demolition was underway.)

There is a bust of Laddie Kozeny who was on her method to the dump when somebody rushed in to the rescue. (Kozeny was the acquainted and pleasant face of Packers Nationwide, a financial institution set as much as help meat packers.)

On a desk within the mall’s museum is a mini rendering by artist Doug Kisers of the Stockyards of their heyday close to thirty third Avenue and L Avenue. (The mannequin comes full with quite a few tiny animal figures in enclosures surrounding the high-rise constructing the place enterprise was transacted.)

Supporters start constructing the mannequin of the Omaha Stockyards created by artist Doug Kiser. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

Among the many storied components of the operation are its two surviving founders, who’ve claimed a bit of South Omaha historical past as their very own.

Lengthy retired from their day-to-day work, Jose Garcia, director, and Kastrick, curator, have personally collected and displayed artifacts representing southern Omaha and its residents for many years.

We have now 147 years of American historical past between us, stated Jose Garcia, who’s 77. Kastrick is 70.

Most not too long ago, their respective collections have been saved of their basements or storerooms.

Douglas County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh, conscious of Kastrick’s earlier efforts with museums that had fizzled, approached the previous Omaha South Excessive trainer with a method to put historical past again on show, Kastrick stated.

For his half, Kastrick stated he requested historical past buff Garcia to be a companion within the enterprise.

Garcia additionally had no public dwelling on the time for the cultural artifacts related together with his Mexican American Historic Society, a nonprofit group supported by the Sherwood Basis. Over time he had run a couple of cultural museums in store home windows.

With the help of Douglas County Commissioners Cavanaugh and Roger Garcia, the county awarded federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act that may enable for a mid-Could opening.

Removed from lavish, the museum differs from extra formal establishments that herald collections from exterior for show.

We lived and personal this historical past, Garcia stated. We offered a snug, heat setting for individuals to return in and see their very own story.

He and Kastrick try for a socially interactive web site with enjoyable occasions to attract individuals in. For instance, when presenting an upcoming baseball exhibition, they hope to fry scorching canines, serve Cracker Jack, and host a associated neighborhood program or baseball-related visitor appearances.

The museum is supported by a board of trustees representing numerous ethnic teams who’ve migrated to the world to work in grueling slaughterhouses and railway yards for the reason that late nineteenth century.

And whereas Kastrick, of Polish descent, and Garcia, of Mexican descent, grew up in numerous cultures and cities, they mirror the variety, braveness, and welcome mat of South Omaha that they hope the museum will mirror.

Gary Kastrick, retired trainer, and Jose Garcia, retired supervisor at Union Pacific Railroad, have a spot to showcase their respective collections. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

Raised in Kansas Metropolis, Garcia moved to Omaha in 1976 and opened a hypnosis heart serving to individuals stop habits like smoking.

Energetic within the Chicano motion and its tradition, he rapidly discovered a base in Our Woman of Guadalupe Catholic Church and different establishments in southern Omaha and have become director of the Chicano Consciousness Heart (now referred to as the Latino Heart of the Midlands).

He married native artist and storyteller Linda (Rivera Garcia) and the 2 have collaborated on numerous initiatives showcasing her indigenous artwork and his photographic accounts of native historical past.

Later, whereas working as a supervisor for the Union Pacific Railroad, Garcia organized exhibitions celebrating Latin American tradition. For instance, his groups pointed many within the downtown enterprise neighborhood to Dia de Los Muertos and Mexican icon Frida Kahlo.

In the meantime, Kastrick, a recipient of the Buffett Educating Prize, shared data of his hometown of South Omaha together with his college students at Omaha South Excessive. A lot of this was firsthand expertise or realized from family members.

My dad used to sit down on the entrance yard swing and inform me tales, Kastrick stated, including that his dad was a bartender and shared tales concerning the neighborhood he heard from clients along with his personal experiences.

Nostalgic items from South Omaha, which was annexed by Omaha in 1915. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

Kastrick recalled a pivotal second as a trainer when he was tasked with placing collectively a historical past mission associated to the closure of a South Omaha junior highschool. He requested college students to interview residents of the downtown space. They realized about struggles, perseverance and success tales.

All of the sudden these kids residing in a devastated space began elevating their heads a bit of greater. They might say: Are you aware what occurred right here?

Kastrick noticed a shift: historical past grew to become much less of a textbook topic for her.

You possibly can see it, contact it, he stated. Youngsters of all backgrounds discovered connections to their roots.

Kastrick went on to dedicate a lot of his instructing profession to conserving South Omaha’s historical past alive, typically with scholarships and infrequently with youth at his aspect.

Round 2015 Kastrick and Garcia teamed up at a historic exhibition of native ethnic church buildings. Their paths crossed over time as they pursued a shared curiosity in southern Omaha and its waves of immigrants from Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Up to now few weeks, the 2 have been busy with supporters turning the rented mall space right into a portal into the previous.

They see the museum as a part of one other new exercise heading into South Omaha, a lot of which is tied to the Legislature’s Financial Restoration Act that earmarked tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} for North and South Omaha.

They usually hope the trouble will grow to be a connection and rallying level for numerous populations.

We applaud her story, Garcia stated.

Cinco de Mayo fundraiser

OMAHA The South Omaha Immigrant Historical past Museum is internet hosting a Cinco de Mayo celebration and fundraiser on the Benson Theater, sixtieth Avenue and Maple Avenue on Friday.

The occasion, which runs from 5:00 p.m. to eight:00 p.m., can be supposed to acknowledge households and individuals who have made South Omaha a vacation spot for Spanish audio system over the previous century.

Cinco de Mayo itself, a day marking the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French military on the Battle of Puebla in 1862, is extra acknowledged in the USA than in Mexico.

Common admission is $10 (or $25 for a tequila tasting).


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