Field Club Neighborhood in Omaha, NE
"Field Club friendly" and "A front porch life"
Although Omaha is a large city, the Field Club neighborhood is a like a small town. It takes two hours to walk around the block because everyone wants you to stop and chat. If there is a storm, neighbors are helping others clean up — even those they have not met yet. There are annual events such as the Field Club Fourth of July Parade, the annual Chili Cook-Off, Luminary Night, etc. Neighbors mow lawns or shovel walks for free for the elderly. The neighbors voluntarily mow the boulevards and have gotten grants to beautify the boulevards with trees and flowers. I myself host a Valentines Ladies Luncheon the Saturday before Valentines Day for ladies in a three block area of my home — this year 62 attended! The intent is to meet new neighbors and enjoy each other after winter is finally fading.
I’ve lived in several neighborhoods in Omaha and the surrounding area: quiet neighborhoods tucked behind the forest and near the river, small neighborhoods outside city limits where the stars shine brightly without the distraction of street lights, older neighborhoods with tenured foliage and ample parks and greenery. But nothing ever quite like Field Club, where front porches are gathering places, children are watched and protected by all, and respect and community exist above social status or professional occupation.
Stories About Field Club
After a powerful storm while my husband was out of town so I had to take care of our four small children, I awoke to the sound of chain saws. A neighbor I had never met was helping my next-door neighbor remove a huge branch of my his tree that had crushed our fence and filled the dog run with huge branches.
One day, one of my boys shot water with a squirt gun at a passing car. Of course, he was NOT supposed to be doing that and I had just gone onto our porch to tell him to stop. The car screeched to a halt and a huge man got out of the car and was furious. I was scared but before I could react, three separate men came out of their homes/yards and approached the situation to be of help. The man from the car looked around at all the instantaneous support, climbed back into his car and drove away. The neighbors also helped me inform my son why what he was doing was a bad idea.
The Fourth of July parade is led by the local VFW followed by the local Boy Scout troop Color Guards. It is kid friendly and politicians are discouraged. The parade route includes circling the three boulevards twice so the judges (local school principal/teachers, store owners, etc.) can create categories for the best entries. Categories are fluid so maybe one year, there is the best hedgehog award or the most historic costume or best family entry. Usually, eight or nine categories are created with a winner and a runner-up. There are free cookies from the neighbors and free cold water bottles after the parade and hot dogs for sale benefitting the neighborhood association.
Neighbors worked hard to have our neighborhood designated as a historic district. There are no restrictions with this designation but people are incredibly motivated to maintain or restore their homes to their original grandeur. My home was built in 1910. Our neighborhood is called a “front porch neighborhood.” It has sidewalks, porches, and most of all, friendly people who WANT to be part of the camaraderie of Field Club!
We know when our neighbors are out of town and watch their homes as vigilantly as we do our own, watering lawns or gardens if weather gets to hot, shoveling walks if snow settles in, and trimming and removing branches if the spring wind picks up. We drop off plates of goodies to new neighbors who join the area, we make meals for families suffering loss or illness. We literally borrow a cup of sugar, a stick of butter or a bag of frozen peas!
And that’s just how our adults live in this neighborhood. The model and values show up in our children as well. They include everyone, games include all kids from ages 0-20. They watch over one another, share yards and toys, and invite new children in. In our neighborhood, we share buses to enjoy holiday city lights, hold block parties formally and informally, hold in neighborhood parades, embrace over 1,000 children who visit us on Halloween, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.