Note: This article is part of a series spotlighting
the various Neighbors Working Together (NWT) neighborhoods. NWT creates
a supportive network facilitating leadership and collaboration across
13 neighborhoods adjacent to both campuses of the University of Nebraska.
Much of South Salt Creek Neighborhood was included
in the original plat of Lincoln set down in 1867, but because of the
nearly annual flooding in the area, land value and development lagged
far behind the rest of the city. From the 1880s through the 1910s,
the neighborhood remained isolated even as Lincoln grew substantially.
However, the inexpensive lots made the area more attractive to the
Germans from Russia who came to live in Lincoln. In fact, by the 1920s,
Germans from Russia made up a fifth of Lincoln's population, with
84 percent of them living on the flood plains west of 10 Street.
The Germans from Russia had a strong influence
on the development and character of this neighborhood. They built
their homes in the American styles but modified with Russian customs.
A custom more prevalent in South Salt Creek was the use of a side
door on the houses as the main point of entry.
Also of historical significance is one of the
oldest Lutheran churches in the city, Friedens Evangelical Lutheran
Church, located on the corner of 6 and D Streets. The church was built
by Jacob Rohrig in 1907 to serve a small congregation of Germans from
Russia. The church had no architect, but instead was based on a photo-
graph of a church that some of the members had attended in their village
The neighborhood is also home to the museum
of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 631 D Street.
Today, the neighborhood features a widely diverse
area of single family homes, light industrial development along the
rail lines in the north section and multifamily dwellings scattered
throughout the neighborhood.
The William Tyler House at 8th & D Streets
is an impressive stone and brick example of the Richardsonian Romanesque
style. It was built in 1890-91 and is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.
Cooper Park, founded in 1867, is Lincoln's oldest
park. Other parks include Sawyer Snell, Schwartzkopf and Standing
Neighborhood skaters can enjoy Holiday Skate
World and baseball players can run the bases at Sherman Field or Cooper
Park. Soccer players can kick in comfort at Park Middle School or
at the indoor soccer field at 606 Hill. Tennis enthusiasts can practice
their serves at a tennis court at 606 Hill or in Cooper Park.
The South Salt Creek Community Organization
is an active voice for neighborhood improvement. It sponsors an annual
cleanup day and picnic, a potluck dinner, an Easter egg hunt and a
quarterly newsletter. The Unlimited Potential Program
creates basketball teams of kids age 6-19. In exchange for basketball
uniforms, etc., participants are expected to perform community service.
One recent neighborhood accomplishment was the
installation of a Dorothy/Toto statuecomplete
with an engraved yellow brick roadin Cooper Park at 8th &
E Streets. The neighborhood chose the characters of the Wizard of
Oz because the story is an allegory for the populist movement led
by the Linconite William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Mr. and Mrs. Bryan
were major contributors to Cooper Park in 1900.
The statue is a four-foot bronze statue sculpted
by artist Sondra Jonson from Cambridge,
Nebraska. The neighborhood raised funds for the statue, dug the
footings for the base and collected the bricks. Several neighborhoods
contributed with yellow bricks for the yellow brick road.
Future projects in the neighborhood is a bench
and historic marker to go with the Dorothy/Toto statue, and the construction
of a bridge over the 3rd Street railroad tracks which will help meet
the long-term goal of improving access through the neighborhood.
The threat of flooding in the neighborhood is
still a concern. However, some neighbors have found out an environmental
friendly solution to reduce storm water runoff.