Sunday, September 10, 2006

326 No. 40th Street - Swanson Home

326 No. 40th Street
Building permit: January 1913
Building style: Prairie style with Craftsman influence
Building cost: $9,000
Architect: F.A. Henniger
Owner: E.W. Arthur

In 1920, Carl and Caroline Swanson bought this house and lived with their three children. Carl Swanson had come to American from Sweden in 1896 at the age of 17. It is reported that he came with a sign around his neck that said, “Carl Swanson, Swedish. Send me to Omaha. I speak no English.” In 1899 Carl Swanson became a partne with John Hjerpe in a commission business hauling eggs, mil and poultry they bought form the farmers and selling them to the grocery stores and hotels in Omaha. In the beginning they had one wagon, a horse and one delivery boy to run the business. They hired someone to paint their company name on the wagon. The “artist” misspelled the name, and Jerpe Commission Company was adopted by the partners because funds were tight and they could not afford to have the wagon re-painted. This name lasted 45 years until the company name was changed to C.A. Swanson & Sons.

After Carl Swanson died in 1949, his two sons took over the company. His sons pushed into the arean of frozen prepared food, and in 1953 the first Swanson “TV dinner” was sold. The dinner was a slice of turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes and peas, and sold for 98 cents. It was marketed to the busy housewife.

Bloggers Note; Notice the muted green square tile used in the chimney. It is repeted often in Arts & Crafts period buildings throughout the neighborhood.