Louis Grill and Bar – NW Radial Highway

Side of Louis Bar, Benson

Until mid-November of 2013, Louis Grill and Bar was one of the oldest such locales in Omaha. After more than 80 years in business, it closed on November 17, 2013, according to the Omaha World Herald. What’s left of it stands at the gateway to Benson, one of my favorite historic Omaha neighborhoods.


I have been meaning to catch a photo of the sign before the new gas station starts building on the property. What could be more lame than a new gas station? Oddly enough, I have heard residents of the area complain about all the bars in the area (one of its draws, in my opinion) and say they wish a gas station or something would open. So I guess this makes someone happy. But not me.

On Friday, I was heading to happy hour with some work buddies, driving just past this old sign. The setting sun seemed like the perfect background for Louis (insert metaphor here.)

Louis Bar sign sunset

4134 Hamilton

Lucy's Laundromat

Last weekend, I went for a bike ride (read: bar crawl for charity) sponsored by New Belgium Brewing and local businesses. We went through all my favorite Omaha neighborhoods – Dundee, Leavenworth, Midtown, Benson – including a few spots I had never seen.  This one is just northeast of my commute route and was full of more recently vacant buildings. Not wanting to fall behind, I just made this one photo stop. When I hopped back on my bike, my husband was waiting for me a few blocks up with some concern.

I liked the pastel green on the building and the sign. No deep thoughts inspired by this one, except that I do wonder if there was a Lucy and what she is doing now.

Lucy's laundromat black and white

North of 14th and Nicholas

Old garage in north downtown Omaha

This is few blocks northeast of my workplace, where a year of tuition is more than my annual salary, and only 3 blocks north of a $128 million-plus baseball stadium.

Just to the east of the railroad tracks lies a muddy lot strewn with weeds, and this structure plopped in the corner: the onetime Wayne’s Auto something. It’s at that awkward abandoned building age where it’s not quite old enough to hold historical interest, and certainly isn’t architecturally interesting – it looks like a giant cinder block.  What is interesting about it, then, is that it isn’t very old at all, yet nature is already trying to reclaim it. The bright orange stripe on it’s bricks has hardly begun to fade, but already wild sunflowers and bushes are trying to overtake it.

Why did this place close? Why didn’t anyone want the building? Who decided to give up on even selling it? The dirt road that leads up to this structure seems like it was never paved. Maybe the place was built and never even opened.

There is another Wayne’s Auto Repair in Omaha. So I like to think this spot just didn’t work out for Wayne, but he is doing just fine. Maybe it was too close to the train tracks.

SunflowersOn the bright side, this lot has more wild sunflowers than I have ever seen.

North of 16th and Nicholas

Storz tower

I have seen plenty of memorabilia from Storz beer in local bars, but never this smokestack. I read about it in a World-Herald article and had to check it out.

Storz once sold half of all the beer in Omaha, long before they shuttered in 1972.  Now the legendary brand is making a comeback, hopping on the craft beer bandwagon that has gained steam in Nebraska.

The new restaurant and brewery where the beer will be served is on the riverfront within view of this smokestack.


16th and Izard

North side of old Omaha Fire Department building

Front of old Omaha Fire BarnHere’s another historical building, for sale. The Omaha Fire Barn comes with or without two 16-ton bank vaults. What a deal!

The Omaha Fire Department has been around since 1860. I’m not sure about the history of this building, but there’s a really old black and white photo of it, plus some cool history, at this site by OPS students.

Omaha fire barn side view in sepoa

More North Downtown

Old fitzgerald apartment or hotel building“Are you gonna buy that and fix it up?”
asked two men walking by when I was taking photos of this building.

Hmm… maybe someday, guys. Maybe someday. It IS for sale!

Old brick building




And – the west side.

I looked for information on this building online, but couldn’t find a thing. If anyone knows anything about the history or how long it’s been vacant, please comment here!