Little Bohemia

Three story brick hotel, two story commercial building, two one-story commercial buildings
Prague Hotel and rehabilitated commercial buildings along 13th Street in Little Bohemia

David Calease, NPS

Quick Facts
Along South 13th and William Streets, extending south for two blocks to Hickory Street
Commerce; Ethnic Heritage (European)
National Register of Historic Places
Private Property Owners
Little Bohemia represents the heart of the Czech neighborhood in Omaha on South 13th Street, consisting of a blend of commercial and residential properties. The commercial and residential buildings were, in many cases, built on the same lot by the Czech community settling in Omaha.

Czechs first immigrated to the United States beginning in the 1860s due to the removal of restraints prohibiting immigration by the Austro-Hungarian government and the break-up of the peasant farming economy, exacerbating local economic difficulties. Soon Czechs were one of Nebraska’s dominant immigrant groups, with virtually all of Omaha’s Czechs living and near South 13th and William Streets, alternately referred to as Praha, Bohemia Town, or Little Bohemia. Business, social, and religious institutions within the area catered to Czech residents, providing the community with a high degree of self-sufficiency.

Largely adverse to debt, Omaha’s Czech population grew their independence by building small, affordable houses at the back a lot with the idea of eventually building a business or a more substantial home at the front. This pattern of construction is evident in Little Bohemia today as a high number of lots are fronted with commercial buildings with residences behind.

At the center of Little Bohemia is the Prague Hotel, a well-preserved example of a nineteenth century, three-story commercial building exhibiting Renaissance Revival influences. Two blocks west is the Swoboda Bakery, a popular ethnic bakery which opened in 1889 and operated for over forty years.

The built environment today reflects the development of Czech businesses, social venues, and residences from the early twentieth century through the mid-century reflecting the interest from the third and fourth generation burgeoning renaissance of Czech heritage, genealogy, and culture. The district continues to be a mix of private residences and public commercial properties for locals and visitors to enjoy.The National Register nomination for the district is not yet digitized but can be requested from the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office.

Last updated: September 19, 2022