Historic Omaha Structure: 5 Masterpieces from the 1920s | historical past
The 20th century brought a number of classic beauties to Omaha. We are talking about buildings with exceptional architectural features. Here are a handful by Kristine Gerber and Jeffrey S. Spencer, published in 2003, taken from Building for the Ages: Omaha’s Architectural Landmarks.
The Chicago architectural firm Holabird and Roach built this structure in 1923 for Chicago capitalists and developers Charles and Raymond Cook. The building is significant as it represents a new concept for multi-purpose buildings. Raymond Cook insisted on creating a courtyard reminiscent of an Italian garden he liked in Chicago. In 1972 the courtyard was extensively rebuilt and completely covered with marble slabs. Modern fountains and a large decorative water wheel replace the pools and canals. Although the elegant and classic facade remains unchanged, many internal changes have been made. The building is now the Magnolia Hotel.
This unique style by Chicago architect John Eberson, which resembles a Moorish palace, is rarely seen in the region. The Riviera Theater, which opened in 1927, had a seating capacity of 2,776. The visual impact of the interior was breathtaking: rose buds floated in fountains, goldfish swam in aquariums, and performances under the roof of a starry sky. The exterior consists of glazed bricks arranged in diamond-shaped patterns, a tower with a copper dome and six free-standing columns with handle-like figures. In 1929 the building was sold and renamed The Paramount Theater. Shows, concerts and films were offered until 1957. Creighton University bought it in 1960 and renovated the auditorium for the Omaha Packers, a professional bowling team. From 1962 until 1980 it was rebuilt as the Astro Theater. The building was demolished until Rose Blumkin, founder of Nebraska Furniture Mart, bought it, handed it over to the Omaha Theater Company for Young People, and helped renovate it.