Tag Archives: mansion

A Frank Look at Hotel Frank

February 18, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Between adolescence and adulthood, is chaos. No single Omaha building embodies one’s formative years of 18 to 22 more than a dilapidated mansion on 38th and Farnam streets. Although you may not remember the party, you probably partied there. Farnam House, Jerkstore, Gunboat, Lifeboat, and Power Pad: all names affectionately affixed to this broke- down palace of music, art, and madness. All names precursors to the legend of a hotel known as Frank.

From 2006 to 2008, Hotel Frank was ground zero for myriad musical artists and performances. Capgun Coup, Bear Country, Conchance, Dim Light, FTL Drive all called Hotel Frank home. While they were far from the first bands the house on Farnam had seen (previous residents include Conor Oberst and The Faint), figuratively they made the most noise. With Capgun Coup concerts packing in upwards of 200 people, literally the house rocked.

“When everyone was pogoing in unison the floor would give a couple feet,” said Capgun Coup front man Sam Martin. “If you went to the basement you could see cracks in the beams opening and closing.”

While most individuals would not willingly place their residence in such jeopardy, Hotel Frank’s recklessness was equal parts youth and the product of constant home disrepair.

“It was a wretched place to live,” said Martin. “It was February of 2007 and the heat quit working. It was not fixed until March. It would have been a much better house if it was kept up by the owners.”

Capgun Coup, with all of its members one time residing in the west wing of the Farnam triplex, have come to define the Hotel Frank era. With their danceable yet artistic approach to brash spastic rock, the building and the band fed off each other.

While Capgun’s time at Hotel Frank was a relatively small window, Dim Light front man Cooper Lakota Moon resided in the triplex on four separate occasions from 2000 to 2008.

“No one has ever lived there as many times as I have,” Moon said. “In 2008, at 28, I think I was the oldest person to ever live there.”

Moon, with his perspective of seeing the house throughout the last decade and prior, felt the national spotlight that romanticized the Hotel Frank experience around 2009, left some cracks unnoticed.

“You live in that place for a reason, it’s cheap. You don’t live there because it’s cool, it’s not cool,” Moon said. “People tend to romanticize it. People are there because we are broke.”

For every frozen winter afternoon and sweltering summer day, cracked wall, and bucking floorboard, the camaraderie throughout Hotel Frank seemingly trumped all opposing forces. A spirit that exists to this day: with all three wings occupied, vibrant and hosting live, uninhibited rock and roll.

“It was no parents,” said Martin. “The essence of it was hope of not jumping into the same thing you see everyone do. Not jumping into the work force but trying to do something real with your music.”

“I love that triplex,” Moon said. “It was a special time, an amazing creative energy and flow. We certainly had our fun, but we were getting things done.”

20141210_bs_3839

Linden Estates

December 5, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It originally carried the decidedly blah designation of “SID 353,” but Linden Estates is now among Omaha’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Known for its approximately 120 stunning luxury homes that sit on large, exquisitely landscaped lots, the properties start at 3,000 square feet and more than a few attain the classification of “mansion,” with the largest topping out at 23,000 square feet.

“The beauty of the neighborhood is that you didn’t have one builder going in there with a specific style,” says Deb Cizek, of the Cizek Group with Prudential Ambassador Real Estate. “You had the individual taste of the owners who contracted with these builders. You have some contemporary homes in there, some traditional, you have some Tuscan—just a beautiful mix of architecture.”

20121221_bs_8214

Cizek has been in real estate more than 25 years, and as a realtor who specializes in high-end properties, she knows Linden Estates particularly well. “It will go anywhere from half a million to multi-million, and everything seems to blend just fine,” she says.

The residents themselves also blend well, says Kim Syslo, who’s been in the neighborhood for about a year. There are homes with play structures side-by-side with homes that feature stately courtyards or pristine gardens, and Syslo says her young family has felt at home from the beginning. “We have friendly neighbors who are so kind to my kids,” she says. “Children really are welcome—we’ve been thrilled with the neighborhood.”

20121221_bs_8219

John Belford, president of Linden Estates’ board of directors, agrees that, as the neighborhood enters its third decade, it has become more diverse in recent years. “There’s definitely been a lot of turnover. We’ve had a lot of new kids come into the neighborhood, young kids from 2 to 14. There are also people who are retired with no kids as well. Everyone 
gets along.”

“It’s a pretty good mix,” Cizek agrees, “and that’s what you want in a neighborhood.”

Located in the area of 144th and Dodge, Linden Estates is close to West Omaha business parks, retail developments, and 
other amenities.

20121221_bs_8249

“We used to think 72nd was the heart of the city, and now it’s 132nd,” Cizek says. “Everything is easy to get to. It is a phenomenal location: easy access to downtown, easy access to the interstate.”

“There are a lot of restaurants and grocery stores and amenities that are within 10 minutes,” 15-year resident Nancy 
Hultquist adds.

Linden Estates is in the Millard Public Schools district, so neighborhood children generally attend Ezra Millard Elementary, Kiewit Middle School, and Millard North High School. Catholic schools St. Vincent de Paul and St. Wenceslaus are also nearby. Belford, who is the parent of three high-school students and also has one in college, says, “I’m fortunate to live here. It’s been great for our family, and it’s a great location—between 132nd and 144th and Dodge to Maple, we have everything we need.”

Linden Estates was annexed by the City of Omaha in 2008, Belford says. There is also a Linden Estates Second Addition, but although the two neighborhoods are adjacent, they are independent developments and even managed by separate home-
owners associations.

“Linden Estates is, in my opinion, probably the premier neighborhood in the city,” Cizek says. “It has stood out for twenty years.”

20121221_bs_8244

Not only has the natural maturation of the community’s trees enhanced the look of Linden Estates over the years, the April hailstorms that came through West Omaha this year had an unexpected silver lining—many of the homes now sport new roofs, which has refreshed the neighborhood. “You have homes in there that look like they’re brand-new again,” Cizek explains.

The new roofs will also be a perfect canvas for the elaborate holiday light displays for which Linden Estates has become known.

“It’s always been like that since we’ve been here,” Hultquist says of the collective enthusiasm for holiday decor. “Everyone really puts up a lot of lights and celebrates the holidays. It’s a very festive environment not only for the homeowners, but also for Omahans to enjoy. I think when you go out to look at Christmas lights, this is one of the neighborhoods 
you go through.”

Even the entrance to Linden Estates is welcoming, Belford says. “The homeowners association started putting up lights about 10 years ago at the main entrance at 144th Street and Hamilton. The homeowners were already putting lots of lights up, so we decided to enhance the holiday season by adding lights.”

Linden Estates is an active neighborhood year-round. Even the surrounding areas are pedestrian-friendly, Hultquist says, with plenty of paths, parks, and even a small reservoir near the First National Business Park.

“In the morning, you see children walking to school, and after school, you see more people walking their dogs, children riding bikes,” she says. “There’s just more activity with more families and younger children in the neighborhood.”