The Missouri River has a long and winding history, one that is intertwined through a number of historical narratives.
On Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m, Ira Nathan will share several aspects of this history in his presentation, “Missouri River Trading Posts and Nathan's Lake.” The free online event will be hosted by the Sarpy County Museum and presented via Zoom and Facebook Live. The presentation will be followed with a question and answer period.
In 1909 Nathan’s Lake was a focal point of social life for the Omaha Jewish community who wanted to get out of bustling city-scape of Omaha and experience nature and rural life. The site was home of the first JCC summer camp, Camp Morris Levy. It also served as a host site for nearby stationed World War One soldiers. Today, Nathan’s Lake has been restored to bring back 250 more acres of wetlands and river-connected habitat. Joining in this effort are the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Corps of Engineers, and the NRD.
Ira Nathan will share stories and pictures about this popular and memorable part of early Omaha Jewish history. Nathan will also be discussing how the Missouri River trading posts dotted the landscape in early Nebraska. Nathan’s Lake is not the only family connection to the region. His great-grandfather, Jonathan Mendes Nathan trapped beavers on the Missouri River and was a partner with notable French Fur trader, Jean Pierre Cabanne’s at the "Post of the Otoes.”
A native Nebraskan, Ira Nathan was born in Scottsbluff and graduated with BA from the University of Nebraska. He has lived in Omaha since 1971. While retired from the actuarial profession, Nathan has stayed active. He was recently named a member of the State of Nebraska Advisory Committee on Aging and us also a volunteer for AARP serving on the West Omaha Community Action Team, Advocacy and is a board member and past president on the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society.
His passion is to discover his family roots. He has had an amazing journey researching the family history at Nathan’s Lake and made presentations to the Beth El Synagogue, and Nebraska Jewish Historical Society, and Back to the River amongst several other organizations.
For more information about the Sarpy County Museum and to register for the program, Missouri River Trading Posts and Nathan's Lake: visit sarpycountymuseum.org or call the museum at 402.292.1880.