Address: 1100 Pierce Street
Year Built: 1909
Architect: R. H. Findley
Builder: Frank Burness
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places: 11/12/2015
The 10th & Pierce Car Barn was designed by R.H. Findley to accommodate new, larger streetcars introduced by the O&CB in November 1909. The construction of this building coincided with the closure of the Harney car barn at 20th and Harney Streets, which was not large enough to accommodate the new streetcars. The 10th & Pierce Car Barn was in use until 1955, when buses replaced streetcars for public transportation. A trucking company then purchased the building and occupied it for an unknown time period. At an unknown date the building was sold again and the new owner leased it to the United States Postal Service, which currently uses it as an annex for their nearby postal facility. The car barn is one of only two surviving streetcar barns in Omaha, and it is the only double-decker car barn ever built in the city.
Significant for its association with changes in local transportation technology and being the only double-decker car barn in Omaha, the design that allowed it to house streetcars at both its first and second levels. When this building was constructed, the Omaha and Council Bluffs (O&CB) Street Railway was in the middle of a large modernization program that included complete electrification and a shift to a pay-as-you-enter system that required larger streetcars. Additionally, the 10th and Pierce car barn was a departure in form from other car storage buildings constructed by the O&CB, utilizing a sloped site to accommodate two levels of cars.
The 10th and Pierce Streetcar Barn is situated south of downtown Omaha within an urban setting comprised of commercial and industrial buildings as well as multi-family residences, much as it was historically. The rectangular two-story building adjoins a public sidewalk at its east, south, and west and an alley at its north. The building’s site slopes upward from east to west, causing the first story to recede below grade at the west end.
The sloping site proved advantageous for the building’s historic use, as it allowed Omaha & Council Bluffs (O&CB) Street Railways’ streetcars to enter the first story from the east end and the second story from the west. The second story only comprises the eastern two-thirds of the building footprint. Atop the remaining one-third of the first story, there is a paved lot that was historically used by the streetcars to maneuver in and out of the storage bays at this end. Today this paved area functions as a parking lot.