Prospect Hill Cemetery, located at 3202 Parker Street, in Omaha, is believed to be Omaha’s oldest cemetery, dating back to 1858.
The names on current Omaha city streets and prominent buildings are the same names etched into many of Prospect Hill’s tombstones. According to the site, Omaha Landmarks, many of the city’s earliest business leaders, mayors and judges chose Prospect Hill.
This list includes Byron Reed, he himself purchased the property in 1858. Reed, a pioneer from Ohio, is known for conducting the City’s first land survey, opening the state’s first real estate office and for his impeccable character and attention to detail. His company, the Byron Reed Company, was established in 1856 and continues to strive today as a full asset and property management firm.
Attorney and former Omaha Mayor AJ Poppleton, a great champion of Omaha joined his family’s plot. Poppleton, a Democratic leader and former attorney for Union Pacific Railroad amassed a fortune with investments in real estate. Towards the end of his life, he grew ill which led to partial blindness.
Just slightly elevated on a hill, overlooking north Omaha and the Missouri River, the Krug family marker nearly dwarfs the other headstones. Its patriarch, Frederick Krug, a German-born brewer, created the largely successful Krug Brewing Company. His is also known for purchasing Tietz Park, in 1903, changing its name to Krug Park.
Krug Park had a charming beer garden and a slew of entertainment rides, including a wooden roller coaster, the Big Dipper. On July 24, 1930, the roller coaster crashed, killing four and injuring dozens more. This tragic event meant the beginning of the end for the park, as it struggled for years later to attract thrill seekers and customers alike.
This area, in Benson, is now known as Rachel K. Gallagher Park and it is rumored to have some of the same trees from Krug Park.
Krug himself is actually Omaha’s first traffic fatality. His car crashed at the area of 33rd and Leavenworth street on November 19, 1919, at the age of 86.
Andrew J. Hanscom, a Michigan transplant, first came to the Midwest via Council Bluffs, Iowa, before settling in Omaha. Among his achievements was Speaker of the House of Representatives for the Nebraska Territory and on the committee that wrote the Nebraska State Constitution.
Hanscom Park in Omaha is still one of the City’s largest and beautiful parks. Hanscom died in 1907.
One of the most famous Omaha pioneers laid to rest in Prospect Hill is Herman Koutze. Along with his brother Augustus, Koutze established the Koutze Brothers Bank in 1856. They later changed the name to First National Bank.
The Koutze family heavily invested in the railroad, with Augustus himself named as director of Union Pacific Railroad by President Abraham Lincoln. Herman also invested in the railroad, and even helped found the Knights of Ak-sar-ben.
Because of the limited space, Prospect Hill no longer takes new burials. In addition to the prominent leaders, many soldiers from Fort Omaha are interred there. Dedicated members of the Prospect Hill Historical Society continue to care for the area and maintain its important record of the City’s story.