Douglas County Courthouse is a historic landmark located on Farnam Street, in downtown Omaha, Nebraksa.
The Renaissance Revival-style edifice was constructed in 1912, as a replacement of the old courthouse, and was built to the south of the old one. The courthouse is one of several sites in Douglas County listed in the ^National Register of Historic Places.
In the early 20th century - owing to the high growth rate of Omaha and anticipating the need for a newer and bigger courthouse in the near future - a new building was proposed with a future perspective, to serve as a next generation courthouse in the county.
Subsequently, in March 1908, city commissioners voted to issue bonds in the amount of $1 million and John Latenser was hired to design the building.
Architectural designs were completed a year later and the Columbus, Indiana, firm of Caldwell & Drake was entrusted with the construction.
Douglas County Courthouse has been perceived as a perfect blend of form and function. The structure is six stories high on the Harney Street side and counts five stories on the Farnam side. A lawn with a semi circular walk fronts the courthouse.
The outside walls of the edifice are Bedford stones sans any ornamentation. The interiors have mosaic floorings and marble wainscotings.
Inside, the main, second, and third floors of the building are county offices. Court rooms occupy the fourth floor and the top floor houses the county prison. The floors can be accessed through marble stairs or four elevators.
Even though the seat of law and justice in the county, Douglas County Courthouse once found itself at the receiving end of lawlessness.
That was in September 1919 an event which would get into history pages as the infamous Omaha Race Riot - when a black convict was lynched by a violent mob by drawing him out of the fourth floor courtroom and publicly hanging him on a telephone post.
The incident also took the lives of two white men and left the lower three floors of the courthouse completely dishelveled.
The courthouse was soon rebuilt to regain its old glory and has been in constant service since then.