Lincoln's Historic Haymarket Lesson Plan

This document was last updated on 24 June 2003. (Ver. 1.5)

Lesson Plan concept Greg Nelson

Urban Field Trip : Lincoln's Historic Haymarket.      WebQuest Version of O.S.A.E.

We begin our tour of Lincoln's Historic Haymarket at the old BN Depot, on the corner of 'P' and 7th Streets.

ASGI 1991, with Ed Zimmer, City Planner and Historian, Lincoln's Historic Haymarket.


1. List three geographical facts about Lincoln's history and why each is important. (Individual effort)

2. Compare historic photos of Lincoln with current conditions. State positive and negative consequences of these changes. (Individual or group effort)

3. Collect and analyze data regarding why people come to Lincoln's downtown. List the predominant feelings that people have about the future of downtown Lincoln. (Group effort)

4. Provide a sketch, a map and notes regarding business changes in historic Lincoln. (I, G and G)

5. Complete a 10 minute traffic count at the corner designated by the instructor. (Group) < links go to City of Lincoln webcams showing major streets.

History of Lincoln: (with thanks to Ed Zimmer, Lincoln City Planning Office).
On another sheet of paper, cite 6 - 10 facts, including three or more facts with connections to geography. Discuss those connections.

What types of maps illustrate Lincoln's changing landscape?

Observation Techniques

As you walk around the historic Hay Market district of Lincoln, and especially in our study site, the 700 and 800 blocks on 'P' Street, recall the 'O SAE Can You See...?' skills we've learned.

O - Observation. What do you see? What's going on? Work from obvious to complex. Be precise !

S - Speculation. Why is something there or not there? Write open ended Qs and make sense of your observations.

A - Analysis. How come? What is the real reason why it's here or not here? Find answers to your questions.

E - Evaluation. In what ways could this landscape be made more productive? Consider social values here. Justify your opinions.


As you wander around downtown Lincoln, introduce yourself and tell why you are asking these questions. Make the interview as non-threatening as possible. Work in small groups to get this done in time. Get some sense of the person's age, gender, educational background if you think such facts are important. Take notes in your journal. Here are some sample questions :

1. What is your purpose for being in downtown Lincoln? 2. How often do you come here? 3. How has the scenery (or landscape) changed over time? 4. Is it changing for the better or getting worse? 5. How do you see the future of downtown Lincoln in the next year? Five years? 6. What suggestions would you make to improve downtown Lincoln? Now include some of your own questions !

Graphic      If you'd like to see some pretty pictures or video from field trips like this, send me an email.

These SCC students use their geographic skills to evaluate Lincoln's Haymarket District.

Raw Data Collection

During a 10 minute period : 1. Count the number of cars from each Nebraska county which pass through the intersection designated by the instructor. What can we say about the traffic at this intersection? 2. Count the number of people who enter and leave a place of work. Be sure to note the location, time of day, and any other factors which might influence a person's decision to enter/leave a business. For example, was the weather a factor? We'll plot these data on a map next time.

The Route

In Lincoln's Historic Haymarket, we explore the old BN Depot and discuss its history, and view the mural on the north side of the building. What feelings does this mural portray? Visit the other buildings nearby, including the old Russell Stovers Candy factory building. Explore buildings of your choice, looking for trends and the occupants' plans for the future. Look for historic Lincoln photos. We'll concentrate much of our activity along the 700 - 800 block on 'P' Street, although you can venture farther afield if you wish (time permitting). Divide up the work among your group in order to complete it within the time allotted. Turn in your work next time!

The Maps

Note Lincoln's original Plat map. Look for pictures and maps on how this original city area changed. Compare this with modern Lincoln. What changes are currently being considered for Lincoln? [Discuss the 'O' Street Skywalk, for example.] In sketching your map of your study site, recall our work with the Five Themes. Sketch a map of the study site, showing each residential / business, its address, main geographic / economic activity, and other pertinent information as deemed necessary.


SCC students learning how to analyze a city block.

Historic Lincoln Photos

(Source : Haymarket Landmark District Walking Tour 1987 Lincoln Haymarket Development Corporation)

Notice how the three Territorial / State Capital Buildings have changed through time. What caused these changes? Write down three changes you've noticed in Lincoln's skyline. In your study site: Use the unlined paper to sketch one of the following: (A) a window or doorway; (B) small object; (C) a typical street scene; (D) the Lincoln skyline. Everyone except the map maker should provide a sketch.

The Future of Lincoln
Refer to the 23 July 1991 LS article, 'City presented with new design for proposed O Street skywalk'. Answer as a group the 'Discuss' question at the bottom of the page. See also the photos of the skywalk under construction : block plan / roof plan, section plan, street level perspective. Ask people on the street and record their responses: (A) have you heard about this plan? (B) What do you think of it? (C) If they are against it, ask why. What suggestions would they have for improvements in downtown Lincoln. See also the article 'Surprise unearthed in Hay Market District' (Source: n/a ). Everyone in the group should contribute to this part.

Meet at Lazlo's or the Mill for debriefing. Thanks to Bob Stoddard ('The Subject of Geography'), Gail Ludwig (Five Geographic Themes and Mapping Activities), Kit Salter and Cathy Riggs-Salter (OSAE skills and SGI / ASGI models), Mary Kay Kreikemeier and her students (urban field walk model), Ed Zimmer (Lincoln history and photos), Kathy Sunstedt (inspiration), Jim McKee (early Lincoln history) and others for their suggestions and ideas.

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(haymarket.html)gen 10 April 2001