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Omaha’s Holy Sepulchre Cemetery recognized as national historic site

The oldest Catholic cemetery in Omaha is being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Established in 1873 under the authority of Bishop James M. O’Gorman, vicar apostolic of the Nebraska Territory, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery at 4912 Leavenworth St. includes burial sites of people important to Omaha, Nebraska and national history, including members of the Creighton family, which made its fortune in business and was instrumental in founding Creighton University.

The cemetery’s mausoleums, monuments and carved statues were part of a nomination process that ended last month with the National Park Service’s recognition of its historic importance and protection from projects that might adversely impact its character, said Daniel Keller, director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

The cemetery also was recognized as the primary burial place for the city’s Catholic population during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Keller said, and as a perfect example – at that time – of a rural cemetery.

Catholic Cemeteries board member Joe Saniuk encouraged the nomination process, and the year-long effort was spearheaded by Restoration Exchange Omaha, Keller said.

Holy Sepulchre is one of five cemeteries managed by Catholic Cemeteries. The others are Calvary, Resurrection, St. Mary and St. Mary Magdalene, all in Omaha.

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