Claimed by Edmund Jeffries in 1853, East Omaha joined the city in 1854 and is located just 3 miles outside of downtown Omaha near the Eppley Airfield and Carter Lake. Created in 1877 by one of the many floods to hit the area over the last century and a half, thus altering the course of the Missouri River, Carter Lake and its creation by the devastation of weather is not the only weather-related havoc in the region.
As many as 40,000 people were evacuated from the area in 1952 from another flood. It was later called a disaster area during a visit by then-President Harry S. Truman as much of the East Omaha and Carter Lake area was destroyed. Businesses were closed for days and the airport was reportedly underwater for a time.
East Omaha was also severely damaged by the Easter Sunday Tornado of 1913, which destroyed dozens of local businesses and the surrounding neighborhoods. According to news reports, when the tornado crossed Carter Lake and the East Omaha bottom, the twister “sucked the lake water high into the air” like a water spout. The lake homes and cottages were mostly all destroyed by the almost 1/2 mile path that was cut right through the city.
Though the city has never been a thriving part of Omaha because of the constant flooding and evacuation, it is a memory lane of historic business buildings and homes. Sociologists after 1976 demolishing of the local school building stated that it felt more like, “a place in the city, but not really a part of the city”. As the rest of the city has been absorbed into Omaha over the last decade, according to those left in the area, by the 2000s, nothing was left to remind anyone that an East Omaha neighborhood used to be there at all.