History Nebraska Blog

Nebraska State Historic Preservation Board to Review National Register of Historic Places Nominations

If you've paid even a little attention to History Nebraska in the past few years, chances are you've heard us mention something called the National Register of Historic Places. If you're already familiar with the National Register, congratulations. For everyone else, allow us to introduce you. The National Register of Historic Places is to the nation's inventory of properties and cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation, developed to recognize historic places and their role in contributing to our country's heritage. It is a National Parks Service program, but History Nebraska oversees it in Nebraska.

For more information on how eligibility is determined and an in-depth walkthrough of the nomination process, please see our page on the National Register. The final Nebraska-based step in the nomination process is a review by the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Board, which meets three times each year. If the board approves, the nomination is then forwarded to the National Park Service for review and listing. The board is scheduled to meet in just a few days on May 17 at the Hartington Hotel in Hartington, Cedar County. The meeting will be at 1:00 pm and is open to the public. Here are the nominations they will be considering.

John C Kesterson House

This house is a two-story Italianate home named after a successful horse-breeder, freighter, and prominent early Fairbury businessman. Built in 1879 with a north wing added in 1885, it is representative of the Italianate architectural style, popular among prominent citizens during the settlement of Fairbury in the mid to late nineteenth century.

It exhibits the distinctive characteristics of an asymmetrical Italianate home – low-pitched, hipped roof, arched window openings, elaborate hoods over the windows and doors, and ornate brackets supporting large, overhanging eaves. The home has a high degree of all seven aspects of integrity considered when determining a property's National Register eligibility, especially when it comes to materials, with all original windows, doors, and woodwork.

Hartington Downtown Historic District

The district is eligible for listing due to its significance in the commercial development of downtown Hartington from 1900 to 1969. Situated along the railroad and established as the seat of Cedar County, Hartington’s commercial core along North Broadway Avenue and Main Street was home to a variety of commercial and financial businesses, many of which continue in their historic use today.

The entire district contains forty-eight resources, thirty of which retain sufficient historic integrity to be considered ‘historic’ and, once listed, are eligible for State and Federal tax incentives for rehabilitation.

Hartington Carnegie Library

This library is one of the sixty-nine libraries in Nebraska that were built using a grant from Andrew Carnegie. The library was originally constructed in 1915 and has served as Hartington’s public library ever since. It was designed by Buettler & Arnold and built by Hartington’s Henry Stuckenhoff.

The library is being nominated to the National Register due to its continued role in the educational development of the community from 1915 to 1969 (the library is still open and functioning, fifty years prior to the present day is an eligibility requirement for listing in the National Register and 1969 is fifty years ago.). Although an addition was added to the north side of the building in 1998, the exterior of the Carnegie Library retains much of its original materials, workmanship, and design, with the addition being joined to the historic building via a transparent hypen. 

Oshkosh Water Tower

Towering above the seat of Garden County, the nearly-century-old Oshkosh Water Tower is a landmark of both early-twentieth century engineering and community planning efforts. So-called tin-man water towers like this one were once standard across Nebraska communities, often seen miles away. Now, due to new technologies and designs, these water towers are disappearing.

While no longer in use, the Oshkosh Water Tower still stands as a representation of the community's early years and the role that providing amenities has on community planning and development. It is currently owned by the Oshkosh Water Tower non-profit, which is committed to preserving it and making it a focal point of community activity for generations to come.

Nebraska Buick Auto Company

Located at 1901 Howard Street, the Nebraska Buick Auto Company building is significant for its association with Omaha’s second phase of automobile development and commerce. It contributed to the development of the automotive industry in the city, representing the pioneering spirit of local investors Lee Huff and H.E. Sidles who opened Omaha’s first Buick distributorship.

The company started in 1908 in another building but its success – largely due to its placement near the Lincoln Highway – led to the construction of this building in 1919. The business thrived for the next thirty-five years contributing to the lucrative automotive industry in Omaha, before closing its doors in 1954. Once listed, this property will be eligible for state and federal historic tax incentives for its rehabilitation, giving this historic building a bright new future. 

4th Street Commercial Historic District

The district is eligible for listing due to its significance in the commercial development of Grand Island along 4th Street from 1895 through 1969. The district is primarily situated along 4th Street from North Sycamore Street to North Cedar Street. This section of Grand Island is significant for its role in the commercial development.

It thrived along with the National Register-listed Grand Island Downtown Historic District, opposite the Union Pacific Railroad. However, with the establishment of the Lincoln Highway near the downtown, development shifted away from this once-thriving commercial center. The entire district contains sixty-two resources, forty-nine of which retain sufficient historic integrity to be considered historic and, once listed, are eligible for State and Federal tax incentives for rehabilitation.

For more information on the National Register of Historic Places program in Nebraska, contact the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office at History Nebraska at (402) 471-4775 or on our website.

Become a History Nebraska Member Today

Learn More