OMAHA, Neb. — The Douglas County commissioners are seeking a change to a major Omaha thoroughfare to honor of a Union Army general and his brother instead of a pro-slavery U.S. senator from Iowa.
But residents wouldn’t notice a difference — the city’s main traffic artery would still be Dodge Street.
The commissioners voted 7-0 Tuesday to ask Gov. Pete Ricketts to rename Dodge Street for Maj. Gen. Grenville Dodge and his brother, N.P. Dodge. Commissioner Chris Rodgers said state government approval is needed, because Dodge Street also is a state highway.
Executives with the Historic General Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa, are pushing for the change in honor of the 100th anniversary of Grenville Dodge’s death.
Many Omaha residents believe Dodge Street was named long ago for the two brothers and still honors their prominent Omaha family. But the Douglas County Historical Society has said it is named for Augustus C. Dodge, no relation to the brothers.
Historian Michael Todd Landis at Tarleton State University in Texas told the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/2cVy37G ) that Augustus Dodge was born and raised on a Missouri plantation with slaves. During his political career, the senator defended slavery, attacked abolitionism and endorsed the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which permitted the spread of slavery into formerly free territory, Landis said.
But Grenville Dodge, also famed as a railroad builder, fought for the Union Army, and his brother, N.P. Dodge, helped the war effort from home, said Danette Hein-Snider, memberships and special projects coordinator for the Historic General Dodge House. She and Dodge House Executive Director Kori Nelson asked the county board for the renaming.
Commissioner Clare Duda embraced the proposal.
“This is so fitting and appropriate,” Duda said. “It is righting a little bit of a wrong that has existed for a long time.”
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com