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Morn. Twilight: 6:00 A.M.
Sunrise: 6:30 A.M.
Sunset: 8:27 P.M.
Duration: 13h, 57m
Eve. Twilight: 8:57 A.M.
Visible Light: 14h, 56m

"Florence Futures"

SUMMARY

The old site of Winter Quarters was a ghost town in 1849. The town of Florence was conceived in Council Bluffs, Iowa and born after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 opened lands west of the Missouri River to permanent settlement. The little town dreamed of greatness. Florence was the Capital of Nebraska Territory for one glorious week.

But by the 1860s, Florence was a village on the verge of economic and social collapse. The Panic of 1857 was devastating. The railroad terminus had located in Omaha City. A bridge across the Missouri River looked unlikely. The Territorial Legislature never returned to Florence.

The historic Mormon Trail revived the community's economy as Florence became the official outfitting town for the 1860-1863 LDS "Up & Back" wagon trains originating in Salt Lake City. Florence continued to maintain its identity as a separate town through the turn of the century. It was finally absorbed by the growing city of Omaha in 1917. It remained an economically struggling North Omaha neighborhood.

To celebrate Omaha, we must know its history. The tides of history continue to ebb and flow even today. Once again the historic Mormon presence is impacting this North Omaha neighborhood, as the new Winter Quarters Temple is built adjacent to the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery. The LDS Church was steward of the Pioneer Cemetery from 1935 to 1999, when the City of Omaha transferred ownership of the land to the Church. The old pink mill, the oldest mill in the state of Nebraska, was nearly replaced by a Quick Shop, but is being restored as a historic site. The Historical Society of Douglas County is creating a new Archive of the Indian Wars on the Fort Omaha campus. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Tourism studied Florence in its 1998 "Target North Omaha" publication.

Enthusiasm can either spread or wither.

Florence Futures seeks to turn the potential of Florence into a reality. We hope to turn current opportunities into accomplishments. Cooperation, industry and a creative idea alone cannot breathe life into this dream for the north edge of Omaha. We welcome your help towards a rebirth of Historic Florence.