Building style: Neo-Classical Revival
Architect: John Latenser
Designated Omaha Landmark: September 24, 1985
Saunders School is an early example of architect John Latenser’s interest in neo-classical form and detail, an architectural style that would characterize his later commissions for many of Omaha’s most important civic and commercial buildings. The structure was named for Alvin Saunders, Nebraska’s last territorial governor before statehood in 1867. Built in 1899, Saunders School served the community as a public school facility for more than 80 years. The building was renovated for use as apartments in the late 1980’s.(This building is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places) -Source; City of Omaha website
Bloggers Notes; Eva Swanson, a resident of the Gifford Park Neighborhood, tell the memory of her uncle riding the street car to attend Easter Sunday lunch at a relatives house. He was a recent arrival to Omaha and the US and was coming from the downtown YMCA. As the street car turned onto 40th Street the weather turned violent. Evenyone jumped off the street car and fled. Not familiar with Nebraska weather he had no idea what was going on. He hugged a nearby tree for his dear life as he watched the roof flight off Saudners Grade School. When the tornado had passed he preceeded to walk to the relative house for Easter Lunch. They were very upset with him arriving late and had no idea what had just happend. These were the days before radio and certianly CNN. Cetainly within a day or two the entire city realized the enormity of destruction caused by the 1913 Easter Sunday Tornado.
Like the old saying, "I had to walk to school and it was uphill both ways" could have actually been true if you lived at 40th and Cass. On Cass you walk down a step hill to 41 Street and then back up a steep hill to 41 Avenue, the location of Saunders School.