From The Archives
1914 Prairie Style
Lost in Omaha
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|Heated Sq. Ft.||7,762|
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Transcript from KETV news story
OUTSIDE THE HYVEE. BRANDI: A HISTORIC HOME WON'T BE AROUND MUCH LONGER. THE OWNER JUST FILED DEMOLITION PAPERS WITH THE CITY OF OMAHA TODAY. ROB: THE PROPERTY AT 525 FAIR ACRES ROAD HAS BEEN MANY THINGS. A HOME FOR SEVERAL FAMILIES, A RECTORY FOR A NEARBY CHURCH. BRANDI: NEIGHBORS ARE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE WRECKING BALL. KETV NEWSWATCH 7'S KRISTYNA ENGHDAHL IS LIVE WITH THIS NEW STORY. KRISTYNA: FAIR ACRES RESIDENTS TELL ME THAT HOUSE IS THE OLDEST IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, MORE THAN 100 YEARS. AND THEY SAY TEARING IT DOWN TEARS APART A PIECE OF OMAHA'S HISTORY. MOLLY: I THINK EVERYBODY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS HEARTBROKEN OVER IT. KRISTYNA: THIS HOUSE IS ALMOST AS OLD AS THE CITY, ITSELF. BUILT IN 1914, FILLED WITH STORIES. NOW NEIGHBORS SAY IT'S AN EMPTY SHELL. JEANNIE: IT'S BEEN A SLOW, PAINFUL DEATH OF THE HOME. KRISTYNA: FROM 1943 UNTIL THE MID-70'S, 525 FAIR ACRES ROAD WAS A RECTORY FOR SAINT MARGARET MARY'S CHURCH. IT WAS PURCHASED IN 1977 BY MYRIEL BOES. SHE SHARED THESE PICTURES, SHOWCASING ITS TIMELESS ARCHITECTURE. THEN IN 2013, THE HOME WAS SOLD AGAIN, FOR $1.8 MILLION. NEIGHBORS HOPED RENOVATIONS WOULD FOLLOW. BRUCE: I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY SOMEONE WOULD BUY A PROPERTY LIKE THAT AND ABANDON IT. AND LET IT DETERIORATE, FINALLY TEAR IT BRICK BY BRICK DOWN. IT MAKES NO REAL SENSE. KRISTYNA: BUT IN OCTOBER, THE HOMEOWNER CUT SEWER SERVICES. A DEMOLITION PERMIT FOLLOWED A MONTH LATER. AND NEIGHBORS SAY THEIR FEARS WERE CONFIRMED. JEANNIE: THEY STARTED GUTTING THE HOME. AND I THOUGHT, WELL, THE INTEGRITY OF THE HOUSE IS GONE. KRISTYNA: JEANNIE O'DONNELL-HECKMAN EVEN PUT THIS SIGN IN HER FRONT-YARD -- "HEART-BROKEN OVER HISTORY." JEANNIE: SHAME ON US. WE SHOULD HAVE HAD SOMETHING HISTORICAL IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD DESIGNATED TO PROTECT THE HOMES. KRISTYNA: JUST DOWN ROAD, ANOTHER SIGN, CALLING OUT THE HOMEOWNER OUT BY NAME. WE HAD THE CHANCE TO TALK WITH HIM, BUT HE DID NOT TELL US HIS INTENTIONS. ARE YOU ABLE TO SAY WHAT YOU'RE DOING WITH IT OVER HERE? NO. KRISTYNA: YOU CAN'T SAY? BUT NEIGHBORS SAY IF IT MEANS LOSING THIS HOME, THEY'LL FIGHT UNTIL THE VERY END. MOLLY: IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO HAVE HAD SOMEBODY COME IN AND WHO WOULD LOVE IT AND APPRECIATE IT FOR WHAT IT WAS. KRISTYNA: THE CITY PERMIT DEPARTMENT CONFIRMED THE HOMEOWNER WENT THROUGH ALL THE
OMAHA, Neb. —A house more than 100 years old will be demolished after the paperwork was filed with Omaha Wednesday.
[Video: 100-year-old house to be demolished; neighbors voice frustration]
The property at 525 Fairacres Road has been a lot of things: a home for several families, a rectory for a nearby church, and now it'll be leveled.
People who live nearby aren't happy about it. Residents told KETV NewsWatch 7 that the house is the oldest in the neighborhood and they said tearing it down is removing a piece of Omaha's history.
"I think everybody in the neighborhood is heartbroken over it," Molly Schropp said.
"It's been a slow, painful death of the home," Jeannie O'Donnell-Heckman said.
From 1943 until the mid-'70s, 525 Fairacres Road was a rectory for St. Margaret Mary's Church.
It was purchased in 1977 by Myriel Boes.
Then, in 2013, the home was sold again, for $1.8 million. Neighbors hoped renovations would follow.
"I can't imagine why someone would buy a property like that and abandon it, let it deteriorate, finally tear it brick by brick down," Bruce Lauritzen said. "It makes no real sense."
In October, the homeowner cut sewer services. A demolition permit followed this week and neighbors say their fears were confirmed.
"They started gutting the home and I thought, well, the integrity of the house is gone," O'Donnell-Heckman said.
O'Donnell-Heckman put a sign in her front yard that read "heartbroken over history."
"Shame on us," O'Donnell-Heckman said. "We should have had something historical in this neighborhood to protect the homes."
Just down the road is another sign, calling out the homeowner by name.
KETV NewsWatch 7 spoke to the man, but his intentions concerning the home were vague.
Neighbors said if his intentions mean losing the home, they'll fight until the very end.
"It would have been nice to have somebody come in and appreciate it for what it was," Schropp said.
The city permit department confirmed that the homeowner went through all the appropriate steps for demolition, but no word when it'll start to come down.