Omaha streetcar poster
It’s safe to say that I’ve always been a fan of public transit of all kinds. Whenever I travel to other cities, I try my best to use their public transportation systems instead of taxis or Lyft rides. Nine years ago, Oxide even partnered with Metro Transit to completely rebrand Omaha’s buses, and we’ve been working to support their efforts ever since.
About three years ago, I attended an auction at Omaha’s historic Kountze Mansion, where they were literally selling everything down to the quarter-sawn oak wood floors in preparation to bulldoze the home. Of all the oddities there, the thing that caught my eye the most was a crudely framed sheet of paper showing a map of Omaha’s streetcar system from 1944.
From that moment on, my brain’s been working on a personal passion project. I was fascinated by seeing how expansive the streetcar system had been, and also by how much of the system had already been decommissioned by the 1940s. On and off in my spare time for over three years, I worked to design a commemorative piece that combined my love of maps, public transit, and Omaha’s history.
After nitpicking every last detail for what seemed like an eternity, I was ready to call the poster final. (Design projects you do for yourself are a lot like fine art — sometimes it can be hard to determine when you’re “done”.) The end product takes strong cues from the work of Harry Beck, who was developing iconic maps for systems like the London Underground right when Omaha’s streetcar was at its most active stages. I’m excited about how the poster turned out and thought others might enjoy it as well.
Now, as discussions are gaining steam about a new, modern streetcar in Omaha, it feels like the right time to share this piece with the world. The entire time I worked on the piece, I kept thinking of my grandparents — Betty and Duane Phillips — who were avid riders of the streetcar in its heyday. So the poster is lovingly dedicated to the two of them. And I’m releasing it this week, in celebration of my Grama’s 96th birthday. (Shh… don’t tell her, but as I write this a framed 1/100 is on its way to her.)
I hope you’ll share in my pride of Omaha’s streetcar, past and future — and maybe even purchase one of the limited edition run of the poster to have for yourself. We’re donating a portion of the proceeds to support public transit in Omaha for everyone. Buy one today at ostreetcar.com.