publications

Turn-of-the Century War On Drugs

Cocaine, and the physical, moral, and societal dangers inherent in its use, have been the

subject of recent news stories, magazine articles, television programs, and movies. But the

1980s aren’t the first time cocaine has been a problem. In 1907, cocaine traffic and related

crime prompted the Omaha city attorney to declare his own “war on drugs.” And the dope

dealers he fingered weren’t kids on the streets, but allegedly respectable members of the

business community.



“The wanton murder of Anton Kaspar, supposedly by a cocaine fiend, and the multiplicity of

minor crimes traceable to the drug habit have inspired City Prosecutor Daniel to an effort at

checking the distressing increase of this dangerous traffic in which certain drug stores in the

shadowy section of Omaha engage upon such large lines.



“A case in police court Wednesday prompted immediate action. Ed Bextel, proprietor of the

drug store at Twelfth and Dodge streets, was arrested on a complaint sworn by Daniel

Wednesday morning. Police court was continued until long after the usual hour in order that

the druggist might be taken into court and arraigned immediately.



“The case which drove Prosecutor Daniel to take the action and Judge Crawford to prolong

the court session was that of George Williams, who was arrested at 3 o’clock in the morning

by Patrolman Lahey as a suspicious character. Williams told Judge Crawford his desire for

the “coke” was so great he was obliged to leave his home at 2606 Jefferson Street, South

Omaha, and, as no cares were running, walk the six miles to Omaha in order to buy 5 cents’

worth of the stuff. He said he bought it at Bextel’s store.



“After the close of court Williams was given his empty “coke” box and sent to Bextel’s store

with two witnesses, who saw him hand the box over the counter with 10 cents and have it

returned to him filled without a word being said. The same performance was gone through

with at Frank W. Fogg’s store at Twelfth Street and Capitol Avenue and he will be included

in the crusade against the evil in Omaha. Several attempts have been made in the past to

have slaves of the drug turn witnesses, but none of them would jeopardize his chances of

being provided when the desire should come on.



 



–Omaha Evening Bee, 6-12-07.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.