1.800.720.8574 308.697.3493 sjonson@swnebr.net LITURGICAL ART
1.800.720.8574308.697.3493sjonson@swnebr.net LITURGICAL ART 

Spotlight on a Neighborhood:  South Salt Creek

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 of Frank.


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 Bear Grounds.


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 statue—complete with an engraved yellow brick road—in 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.

William Freitas 
Graduate Student 
April 2003

"Daydreams" - brings back memories of Dorothy and Toto, rekindling the innocence and freedom of our childhood dreams.


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To get in touch, please use my online form or call +1 308 6973493.


Sondra Jonson


716 Nelson St

Cambridge, NE 69022

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