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How do you locate blueprints or architectual plans for an existing house in Omaha (built in 1925)?

My daughter bought the house at 5523 Hickory Street, Omaha, NE 68106 in December 2017.
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2018  |  10 Views

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Apologies for the late reply!  Blueprints can be difficult.  Sometimes the original owner might have them; more often the original architect or builder has them, and often they haven't survived. If the house was owned by a prominent citizen or designed by a well-known architect, the chances are better. The Planning Office does have an archive of blueprints; they are gradually digitizing many of them here. So you might contact them for suggestions.  They also have a fantastic archive of publications that will help you understand the history of the area and the factors that drove construction in the neighborhoods. I don't think your house falls exactly into any of the surveys already done, but the Aksarben neighborhood might come closest, and includes some houses comparable to yours. All the surveys include information about common architectural features that help you identify a house's origin and association with a particular style or fashion.

Otherwise, I would start by researching the history of your house and its neighborhood. Possibly descendants of the original owners or later owners still have photographs or other information associated with the house. Your daughter may already have an abstract of title, showing who has owned the property over the years; you can also trace its tenants year by year using the Omaha City Directories (available on the 3rd floor of W. Dale Clark Library).  I would also search the digital archives of the Omaha World Herald for mentions of the people who lived there and the address itself. It looks like the owner in 1926 made increasingly desperate efforts to sell it...

You will also occasionally find mention of building permits issued for renovations or alterations, though the Daily Record is the official "paper of record" for those kind of notices (available only on microfilm at W. Dale Clark Library), and is unfortunately not indexed.

Finally, you might try the Nebraska Digital Sanborn Maps database (home access via the OPL website with library card), which maps out  buildings, streets, parks, etc., showing building structure, pipe lines, etc., at different years in the city's history. 

I would be happy to walk you through any of this--just let me know!

Best wishes,

Martha Grenzeback
Genealogy & Local History Librarian
W. Dale Clark (Main) Library

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