- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - For more than 10 years members of the Fremont community have been working toward getting the North Broad Street District placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In March, their wishes were finally granted. Houses lining Broad Street - 10th through 16th streets - were all placed in the National Register, the Fremont Tribune (https://bit.ly/1JPKb7M ) reported.

To celebrate the monumental achievement, more than 20 people attended a picnic outing at one of the historic houses on Broad Street.

Games were played and people chatted as the smell of grilling hot dogs wafted through the air.

The Main Street Historical Business District and Barnard Park were already on the National Register, said Ellen Lund, a member of Fremont’s team working toward having the district approved.

Lund said that the houses in the district have attributes necessary to qualify for historical recognition.

While previous attempts at being recognized were unsuccessful, in April 2014, the tides began to change.

Working with Ruben Acosta, a national register coordinator for the state historic preservation office, and Melissa Dirr, a historic preservation consultant with Historic Resources Group out of Lincoln, what was once a dream soon became a reality.

Acosta surveyed the district and quickly realized that it would meet the requirements to be placed on the National Register.

“I looked around and thought that this was a really good district,” Acosta said.

Acosta looked through a four-inch thick binder put together by the Fremont team - comprised of information on the houses age, builder and owner - and learned that the district was rich with town history.

The majority of people who lived in the area during the late 19th and 20th century were local business leaders and professionals who played a key role in developing downtown Fremont, he said.

Four key attributes are analyzed when deciding whether a house is eligible for historic recognition.

Houses in the North Broad Street district fell under two. First, the houses are associated with historical events - owners helped develop important parts of Fremont. Secondly, houses meet important architectural requirements and are older than 50 years.

Once Acosta and Dirr compiled the necessary information, Dirr handled the more than 50-page application form that was presented to the State Review Board in January of 2015. The board meets three times annually to review nominations.

Dirr did all of her work pro bono.

Human Resources Group, a historical preservation consulting firm, does one to two pro bono cases each year. Normally, consultations cost thousands of dollars. Dirr heard about the opportunity at just the right time - she was looking for a case to work on.

“It was perfect timing, and it all fell right into place,” she said.

After being approved by the State Review Board, the final approval was given by the National Parks Service, making Broad Street a historic place.

More than 12,000 individual properties and more than 100 districts throughout the state have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Acosta and Dirr commended Fremont residents’ persistence and hard work during the process, saying that all of the research they did helped make their jobs much easier.

Both believe the district is a perfect fit for the register.

“It’s such a unique place with so much character,” Dirr said. “The stewardship involved in preserving the houses in the community over the past 100 years is great to see.”


Information from: Fremont Tribune, https://www.fremontneb.com

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