Tag Archives: Jacobethan Revival

Unblemished Beauty

January 22, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

In this continuing series of exploring architectural styles, we’ve covered such diverse genres as Jacobethan Revival, Art Deco, and Victorian, but deciding what the heck to call a home has never been much of an issue.

Until now.

This space was slated for “Spanish Colonial.” Seems simple enough, we thought. But just to be doubly sure in assigning that moniker, we sent the photograph you see here to three different architects and asked them to chime in. We got three different answers, only two of which had the word “Spanish” in them. And none of them were a flat, straightforward “Spanish Colonial.”

So let’s default to an Omaha World-Herald story from 1931 that called this home on North Happy Hollow Boulevard “one of the best examples of Spanish architecture in the middle west.”

A permit was issued in 1928 for the home now owned by George and Christine Greene. It was built—for the then princely sum of $16,000—by noted architect Bert Hene, whose timeless mark was made all throughout Happy Hollow, Fairacres, Dundee, Country Club, and beyond. The space features a handsome library/music room and a 40-foot sunroom with broken marble and a tile.

While this beauty looks like something straight out of Sunset Boulevard (“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”), it is the library that tells one of the home’s most intriguing stories.

The tile-roofed stucco home with arching windows was purchased in 1933 by Dana Van Dusen, a Harvard law school graduate who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1934. A former city attorney, he was then the general counsel of Metropolitan Utilities District.

On Sept. 29, 1947, a pair of prominent MUD officials were menaced by a former district employee.

A car driven by Personnel Director Earl Frederickson was forced to the curb by another vehicle at 18th and Cuming streets. The disgruntled former employee climbed in Frederickson’s car and threatened him.

A half hour earlier in Happy Hollow, a shot had been fired through a window of the Van Dusen home. The former MUD worker had no gun on him when he was arrested, and none were registered in his name.

The window has long since been repaired, but a bullet hole remains to this day on a shelf in the library…and Christine and George Greene have no plans to repair the blemish that speaks to the quirky history of their stately home.  OmahaHome

Spanish-Colonial

Blackstone Royale

October 15, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Rhonda and Wayne Stuberg’s home at 3708 Farnam Street needs little introduction. It’s “that” house, the grand stone home easily visible while driving down Dodge Street to the east towards Midtown Crossing, or to the west towards Corkscrew Wine & Cheese or The Pella at Blackstone.

The 1907 home, designed by architects George Fisher and Harry Lawrie, is Jacobethan Revival—a style of architecture that combines the horizontal lines of Elizabethan architecture with vertical columns and pilasters as in the Jacobean era.

The style includes flattened arches, featured in the porch overhead and the carriage drop-off point on the west side of the house. The outside is constructed of light-grey stone with trim work around windows and doors, steep gables on the terra-cotta roof, and a tall chimney stack. Decorations around the exterior include relief panels that feature barley, hops, and grain—a nod to original owner Gottlieb Storz, founder of Storz Brewery.

The grand entrance includes a seven-feet-tall doorway created of dark wood and featuring a magnificent stained glass top tucked under a nine-feet-tall archway over the porch.

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The mishmash of two old-English styles perfectly describes the inside of the house, which features everything from a light and airy solarium featuring a stained-glass skylight modeled after the one in the main dining room of ocean liner “The Bremen,” to a heavier-looking Victorian living area. The “formal” dining room is a more casual Mission style.

It’s a place where a family can live in comfort, and a bride can float down a staircase and stop at a landing to have her portrait captured—standing next to original art nouveau lamp balustrades.

Then there’s the top-floor ballroom, known as the “Fred Astaire” ballroom as it is one of the few places in Omaha of which the actor, singer, and of course, dancer, retained memories. Nick Huff, co-owner of Hutch in Midtown Crossing, used the ballroom for the second Food Rave in April 2015.

“I said, ‘Oh, Nick, you don’t want to use that space, it isn’t finished!’” says Rhonda, whose son, Nick Stuberg, is friends with Huff. “But he insisted. I said ‘OK, at least let me take care of a couple of things.’ ”

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“The house is gorgeous from top to bottom,” Huff said. “But I was just captivated by this room. It’s amazing, wooden floors with huge vaulted ceilings. The walls are this emerald green color. You walk up to this nondescript third floor. You walk through this small hallway, and then there’s this huge ballroom.”

The work that has gone into this home to bring it back has cost well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of labor, but Rhonda wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve always lived in older homes,” she says. “We thought about a condo, but I love to garden.”

She also loves living in the Blackstone neighborhood, and has become the president of the neighborhood association. She believes that future development of the area needs to take into consideration the historic value of its buildings. “The architectural features of historical buildings are works of art,” she maintains, “and should be treasured and restored like any other works of art.”

Storz Mansion