Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2008


Great Plains Quarterly Volume 28, Number 4, Fall 2008, pp. 333.


Copyright 2008 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Upstream Metropolis is an "urban biography" of the "Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA Metropolitan Statistical Area," the nation's sixtieth most populous urban center in 2005. The life-story approach draws from an impressive array of local primary and secondary sources to bring depth, complexity, and an updated chronology to the literature on Omaha's development.

Omaha-Council Bluff's childhood, familiar to many readers, was marked by rapid growth as railroad money, meatpacking plants, and a multiethnic laboring population made their way to the improvised settlements in the 1830s- 40s. As with most youngsters, the settlements showed glimmers of potential eclipsed by a need for discipline and socialization; rowdiness, licentiousness, and street justice thrived alongside business and industry in unregulated space.