Timeline Tuesday: An Ice Union of Two Cities

January 12, 1888, marked not only the famous blizzard but a happier event — what the Omaha Daily Bee on January 13 called “An Ice Union of Two Cities.” Despite the inclement weather, a sleighing carnival in Council Bluffs attracted many Omahans from across the frozen Missouri River. The Bee said: “The weather was most inauspicious, as the air was filled with snow from early morning until after night set in. Despite the storm, about five hundred sleighs belonging to citizens of the Bluffs turned out to do honor to the visitors, who were met at the river’s bank and escorted through the city. The Omahans arrived in about two hundred and seventy-five sleighs and were accompanied by a fine band. Owing to the storm the line became broken, and the proposed line of march through the city was abandoned, and it was impossible to get an accurate count of the number of sleighs in the procession, but from his position at the corner of Broadway and Main street, the Bee counted 768 of them, and this number cannot be far from correct. “The course was taken straight up Broadway to the Ogden house [hotel], while for more than an hour the guests were constantly arriving. It seemed as though there was no end to the procession, and at 3 o’clock both Broadway and Second streets were lined on either side with rows of teams for more than two blocks from the Ogden. The guests arrived in one, two and four-horse sleighs, carrying from two to twenty persons each.” It was estimated that the crowd included at least 3,000 people, with 800 from Omaha, including students from the Omaha Business College in a chartered, four-horse sleigh.

“The Road, – Winter” From the John P. Falter Collection. NSHS 10645-3733

 

“The endless throng of white draped figures surged through the doors of the building until the spacious offices, halls, parlors, stair ways and dining hall were completely filled. In the outer halls, brooms and brushes were in great demand, and after removing a part of their snowy covering in this manner, the ladies were escorted to the parlors on the second end floor.” After speeches at the Ogden House, the sleighing carnival participants adjourned to the Masonic Temple, “where dancing was indulged in. During the whole afternoon refreshments were served in the dining hall of the Ogden. Several of the guests returned to the other side of the river early in the afternoon, owing to the increased violence of the storm, although some remained in the city over night.” A second carnival, hosted by Omaha on January 20, was intended to repay the hospitality of Council Bluffs and attracted a large number of sleighs from across the still frozen Missouri River

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

The Huskers wore blue jerseys for Memorial Stadium’s first game

The Huskers wore blue jerseys for Memorial Stadium’s first game

Recent Archeological Work at Ft. Atkinson

Recent Archeological Work at Ft. Atkinson

Willie Nelson FarmAid Concert

Willie Nelson FarmAid Concert

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.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

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

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.
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.