History Nebraska Blog

Throwback Thursday Photo, School Safety Patrol

Columbian School Safety Patrol, Omaha, 1939 (RG3882.PH42-28-1)

Remember to look both ways! In today’s #ThrowbackThursday photograph, members of the Columbian School Safety Patrol pose with officers from the Omaha Police Department. The photograph was taken on November 9, 1939 by Omaha commercial photographer Nathaniel Dewell.

With the rise of automobiles in the 1920s, school safety patrols grew out of concerns for the well-being of students as they walked to school. The Omaha Police Department instituted the first safety patrols in the United States in 1923. The role of students in the junior safety patrol was to “teach safety and role model it.” Since they had authority over students and not drivers, student members of the safety patrol were taught to “direct children, not traffic.”

The Columbian School was originally located at 38th and Jones Streets in Omaha. Named for Christopher Columbus, it opened in 1892. Due to the westward expansion of Omaha, a new Columbian School was built at 330 South 127th Street in September 1970.  

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