Saturday, March 15, 2008

History of the 'hood

The flip Little Italy was settled by Italian immigrants who worked for the railroad. (See Neighborhood history) Hints of the ethnic past continue.

Orsi's Italian Bakery still cooks up killer pizza, garlic bread and cannoli. The Santa Lucia Hall (festival video) and Sons of Italy still stand.

At the last neighborhood association meeting, two guys at my table whipped through a list of all the Italian cobblers and shoe-repairmen and where their shops used to be. At least one remains -- Louie at Philips Shoe Repair, 1234 S. 13th St., will make your shoes look brand-new and you get to enjoy the thwap-thwap-thwap sounds of an old-fashioned shoe shop.

Neighbors tell you, well, they've lived in this house for 20 years, then they'll point down the street at the one they lived in the previous 20. Here on Eighth Street, three houses have adult children who lived at home to take care of their parents.

The family who owned the flip, the Ucens, had the house for 90 years. "Aunt June" lived there for something like 55 years. Her husband worked at the Bohemian Cafe and the old Glass Front bar.

The man who owned my house, Mr. Becic, lived here for 40-plus years. At Olsen Bake Shop (which makes perfect, old-school bakery cookies), owner Mel said Mr. Becic came in every Saturday for a dozen doughnuts and sometimes brought her a jar of garlic from his garden.

More on the 'hood:


Anonymous said...

You know how I love stories. You have really done a wonderful job, and the bathroom floor looks just like ours-well, you know what I mean.

118K is an amazing price. Just out of curiosity, what is the average price of a home in the Greater Omaha area?


littleitalygem said...

It's $162,000 citywide, according to Thta's one of Omaha's big benefits: cheap housing.

My neighborhood has a huge price swing because of the number of homes that haven't been updated for generations.

Homes that need cosmetic updates have sold for $90-$100K in my immediate area. A flipped house up the street sold for $115K a few years ago and I think it's kitchen wasn't as nice.

I used those to set my price as well as hitting a few open houses in other old neighborhoods to gauge the current market.

A recent story on the state of Omaha's market: a