06 December 2014

Jobber's Canyon Demolition Omahas Greatest Loss of Swift Chimneys

For decades following their construction in the late 1800s as business places for Omaha and to the west, the big, brick buildings along the Missouri River riverfront had big chimneys. Their purpose was ventilation, yet they also meant something to the bugeaters ... that being Chimney Swifts which certainly used the structures to one extent or another.

There are no details that associate the building chimneys with the roosting of swifts. Though, based upon known habits of these birds that utilize large chimneys as roost sites during the autumn season, the chimney features of the buildings were suitable for swifts. The buildings among Jobbers Canyon, along the Missouri River frontage, each had a significant chimney, and each of them might have been used as a roost for migratory swifts.

A number of historic buildings were present, as indicated by online information.

Specifics are certainly lacking. During the years prior to their destruction, no person was attentive enough to consider the association between the chimneys and the swifts, and made any attempt to determine the number of swifts that occurred.

After an expansive, urban debate, the numerous buildings in eastern Omaha, among the jobbers canyon district, were demolished in 1989, associated with what — at the time — was an urban renewal project. So many places with prominent chimneys were demolished in entirety, including:

The skyscape does not convey details of interest, yet the perspective is indicative of the overall scene. There was a vast variety of chimneys present.

Any particular use by Chimney Swifts is not known, but the habits of this species are indicative and former behavior can be interpreted. So the bug-eaters would have utilized these chimneys to one extent or another. One or another of the places might have been more important during one year or another. There may have been one particular chimney which was especially appreciated by the migratory birds. This was certainly the case, based upon common knowledge, through interpretation, decades later.

Sadly, particular details are unknown, and only a subject of speculation.

Factual indications convey that large chimneys are important places for swifts to roost during the autumn season. As far as habitat and character, buildings amidst Jobbers Canyon were, undeniably, an important area that provided multiple roosts available for migratory swifts.

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