Nebraska School for the Deaf

Great American Rail-Trail

Disability Politics, Policy & Justice Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine

Students during an art class at the Nebraska School for the Deaf.

Photo courtesy of | All Rights Reserved

Founded in 1869, the Nebraska School for the Deaf (NSD) in Omaha was an integral part of the Deaf community. Like many Deaf schools in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the NSD had to make a hotly debated decision about which method—manualism or oralism—was best suited for Deaf students. With manualism, students were taught sign language, and with oralism, students were taught to read lips and speak. Both were used and taught in the school’s curriculum until, in May 1911, Nebraska Gov. Charles Aldrich signed a law banning manualist curriculum. Complying with the law, the NSD joined the 40% of deaf schools in the United States at the time who only taught oralism; by 1918, the portion had risen to 80%. The prohibition resulted in a disadvantage to the students, who overwhelmingly preferred and were more successful with manualism.

Although sign language was banned from classrooms, students and faculty continued using manualism during extracurricular activities. In 1970, the NSD slowly began reincorporating sign language back into their classrooms; this was seven years before the Nebraska legislature repealed the 1911 law. In 1998, the 23-acre campus closed due to low enrollment.


Discover History on the Trail

El Museo Latino

In 1993, El Museo Latino became the first Latino art and history museum in the Midwest. The museum and cultural center are located inside the...

Trail: Burt Street Trail
State: NE
Agriculture & Ranching Latino/a History Migration & Immigration
Great Plains Black History Museum

The Great Plains Black History Museum is located in the Jewell Building, at the heart of Omaha’s historic Black district. Since the 1920s, the Jewell...

Trail: Burt Street Trail
State: NE
Arts, Entertainment & Sports Black History
The Rose Theater and Rose Blumkin's Nebraska Furniture Mart

When Rose Blumkin (1893–1998) heard that Creighton University was seeking the City of Omaha, Nebraska’s permission to demolish the old Astro Theater,...

Trail: Burt Street Trail
State: NE
Commerce, Economy & Work Migration & Immigration Women's History
See All History

Discovering America: Reconnecting People and Places

The Great American Rail-Trail promises an all-new American experience. Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the trail will directly serve nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route. Across the nation—and the world—only the limits of imagination will limit its use.

Learn More

Help us to connect you with more trails!

TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy

(a non-profit) and we need your support!

Your donation will help us to continue connecting more people to trails around the country.
Become an RTC member and wear your FREE T-Shirt with pride. Help defend and expand trails nationwide.
Get a FREE Rail Trails Guidebook when you become a Member with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple


Your account has been deleted.