When he was eighty years old Mark Woods sat in his office situated on the thirteenth story of the old Sharp Building. In 1950 his office provided a vista of south Lincoln and literally miles of neighborhoods that Woods had helped to create. That day he wore his characteristic pince nez style glasses and he was quick with a smile while recalling a story from his boyhood in 1885.
In Woods’ recollection, his father, Colonel F.M. Woods, was facing a fidgety crowd at a land auction. There was not much bidding on the land for sale around 27th and R Streets, and the Colonel tried to, “ . . . bark the sale from $39 to $40 an acre.” Mark Woods remembered his father trying to perk up the bidders by making what the boy imagined to be some wild claims. “This land . . . will be worth hundreds of dollars an acre… Lincoln’s [population] will some day be 50,000.”
The crowd, Mark Woods said, “Gaped and twittered . . . the population in 1885 was only slightly over 10,000.” In disbelief on the way home, he asked his father if he truly thought Lincoln would grow to 50,000, and he heard the earnest reply, “Yes, Mark. I do.”
By the time Mark Woods was sharing these memories, he and his brothers had already helped to propel the city’s population to over 100,000.
“The entire business structure of a city is dependent upon … successful residential development. If people are properly, healthily, and happily housed you will have an inviting and prosperous city.”
It had been a lifetime of hard work and commitment. “The heartaches and fights were many – exciting days and great anticipations. Disappointments, too. But hope for the future is always present in any real estate development.”
These many years later, the excitement of new development and Woods’ sentiment of hope are just as alive and true today.