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