Car rental agency

The Douglas County Historical Society is preparing a new exhibition on the history of cars in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – An upcoming exhibit from the Douglas County Historical Society will bring us full circle.

The timing for “The Autobiography of Omaha – A Look at Our Love Affair with the Automobile” comes at a time when Omaha is reinventing the streetcar in the 21st century.

The city has a few pages in the car’s history book. In 1916 Ford built a factory on 16th and Cuming where the Model T was built. Historians also say that the car rental business began in Omaha.

“Omaha was the home of the Saunders brothers who started the first car rental company,” said Natalie Kammerer of the Douglas County Historical Society. “They just saw a need, they started with a car and they basically said if you needed it for an afternoon, here you go. By the end of 1917, they had rented over 100 cars and trucks in nine years. They were in 56 cities.

Kammerer says the exhibit will tell the story of Omaha’s obsession with cars and how the automobile helped shape the city.

“Cars have played a huge role in the nostalgia of people in Omaha. People grew up here, so many memories of drive-ins, drive-thru restaurants, cruising Dodge Street, racing at Sunset Speedway, all kinds of activities.

Kammerer says Omaha’s love of automobiles began when the city began to grow.

“Just the way the city has expanded so quickly, it’s kind of forced people to have cars for their own personal convenience. Then the death of the tramway around the 1950s.”

Over the years, Omaha streetcars have carried commuters from the suburbs of Florence, Benson and Dundee. The last streetcar passed through Omaha in March 1955.

There are now plans to relaunch the streetcar system in Omaha.

Officials say the light rail will help ease downtown parking problems and spur further development.

Jay Noddle is the chairman of the Omaha Streetcar Authority, this group will handle the design and operation of the return to streetcar.

“It’s really a total mobility plan for the whole region, which involves cars and other types of public transport that we already have in place,” Noddle said. “Everything has to work together, what you ride, what you drive, where you park, where you park it and how you use public transport are all going to be woven together here, much like it has been done in other places. other communities that have done this with great success in the past.

The Douglas County Historical Society’s new exhibit opens at the General Crook House located on Metro Community College’s Fort Omaha campus on June 19

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