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2021 Nebraska Book Award
My Omaha Obsession takes the reader on an idiosyncratic tour through some of Omaha’s neighborhoods, buildings, architecture, and people, celebrating the city’s unusual history. Rather than covering the city’s best-known sites, Miss Cassette is irresistibly drawn to strange little buildings and glorious large homes that don’t exist anymore as well as to stories of Harkert’s Holsum Hamburgers and the Twenties Club.
Piecing together the records of buildings and homes and everything interesting that came after, Miss Cassette shares her observations of the property and its significance to Omaha. She scrutinizes land deeds, insurance maps, tax records, and old newspaper articles to uncover a property’s singular story. Through conversations with fellow detectives and history enthusiasts, she guides readers along her path of hunches, personal interests, mishaps, and more.
As a longtime resident of Omaha, Miss Cassette is informed by memories of her youth combined with an enduring curiosity about the city’s offbeat relics and remains. Part memoir and part research guide with a healthy dose of colorful wandering, My Omaha Obsession celebrates the historic built environment and searches for the people who shaped early Omaha.
About the Author
Miss Cassette is the writer, researcher, and amateur gumshoe of the website myomahaobsession.com. Her writing has appeared in Omaha Magazine. Chris Ware is a writer, artist, and native of Omaha. He is the author of Building Stories and Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and has contributed graphic fiction and more than twenty-five covers to the New Yorker.
“Miss Cassette is a social and urban historian of the highest order because her enquiries into Omaha’s past—idiosyncratic, haunting, and full of derring-do—bring endless delight to both herself and her readers. I inhaled this book.”—Alexander Payne, film director, screenwriter, and producer
“I think even if I hadn’t spent the first third of my life in Omaha I would still adore Miss Cassette and her curious, charming, big-hearted, rigorous, and illuminating love for this random American city.”—Kurt Andersen, author of Evil Geniuses and Fantasyland
"Nothing is too small or insignificant for the author of the blog My Omaha Obsession. A detective of the best Nancy Drew variety, she hunts down the histories of grand and unusual homes, restaurants and clubs and revels in revealing the mysteries about each of them."—Marjie Ducey, Omaha World-Herald
"Based on Cassette's blog, My Omaha Obsession retains that intimate voice, addressing the readers as fellow detectives spying on these people's lives."—Linda Lombardi, Shelf Awareness
“I have learned a great deal personally from Miss Cassette’s fascinating and erudite blog and have suggested this valuable resource to many local history researchers. Architecture, history, drama, and mystery: she finds the stories that bring old buildings alive.”—Martha Grenzeback, librarian of genealogy and local history, Omaha Public Library
“In addition to the interesting stories Miss Cassette breathes to life with her research, she has helped me as a residential appraiser for Douglas County to ensure that our records on these historical properties are as accurate as possible.”—Scott Barnes, real estate appraiser, Douglas County Assessor Office
“Old buildings are filled with great stories. Miss Cassette uncovers and tells them beautifully.”—Kristine Gerber, Omaha historian and former director of Restoration Exchange Omaha