Honoring History Makers at the NSHS Annual Meeting

M’s Pub at 11th and Howard in Omaha’s Old Market: left, after it was gutted by fire on January 16, 2016; right, being rebuilt in August 2017. Photos by Ryan Reed, NSHS

Join us in Omaha on Thursday, October 12, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., to recognize individuals who’ve made history by helping to preserve it.

This year’s NSHS 2017 Annual Meeting and Gala Awards Ceremony will be held at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. in the Old Market, Omaha. Doors open at 5:30, with a hearty cocktail buffet, the awards presentation at 6:30 p.m., and dessert buffet and annual business meeting at 7:30. The cost is $$75 per person; register at history.nebraska.gov/gala

This year’s awards and honorees:

NSHS will present the first-ever Placemaker-History Maker Award to former Omaha Planning Director Martin “Marty” Shukert to recognize his critical leadership role in Omaha’s evolution into one of the nation’s most vibrant and livable cities through preservation, renewal, redevelopment, and growth. Shukert’s efforts in the 1980s to create public-private partnerships advanced downtown development by envisioning it as a district to which people could live and enjoy themselves as well as work.

The Nebraska Preservation Award is the state’s premiere recognition for the preservation of historic places. This year’s recipients are Mark and Vera Mercer of Omaha and the Willa Cather Foundation.

After an explosion and fire reduced M’s Pub to a shell, the Mercers rebuilt their historic building (shown above), maintaining the architectural integrity of their corner in the heart of the Old Market. The Willa Cather Foundation rehabilitated of the Moon Block in Red Cloud, utilizing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program and the Nebraska Historic Tax Credits. The project culminated in the dedication of the National Willa Cather Center earlier this year.

The Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award honors an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history. This year the award is shared by Eugene Cromwell of Genoa and Paul D. Orman of Maywood. Cromwell has volunteered hundreds of hours in the restoration and maintenance of the Genoa Indian School, donated money and historical objects, and served as a volunteer docent. Orman has had a long-standing mission to preserve and protect historic homesteads and buildings.

The Robert W. Furnas Memorial Award recognizes outstanding contributions or assistance to the NSHS. This year’s award recognizes the City of Lincoln/5City TV and NSHS volunteer John Strope for their work on our popular “Brown Bag” lecture series. For twenty years, 5CityTV, Lincoln’s public access channel, has provided staff and equipment for taping the lecture for broadcast and YouTube. Strope serves as the Brown Bag coordinator, scheduling speakers and working with public access stations across the state to expand the program’s audience.

The James L. Sellers Memorial Award honors the best article in Nebraska History as determined by the history faculty of a Nebraska college or university. This year, judges from Peru State College selected “‘The Greatest Gathering of Indians Ever Assembled’: The 1875 Black Hills Council at Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska,” by the late James E. Potter, from the Spring 2016 issue. The judges wrote that the “article adds new insights into a controversial chapter in U.S. history.”

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