Blackstone Neighborhood Association kicks off fundraising effort to save historic homes

Lunch at the cottonwood hotel Monday gave community members a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic building in Blackstone.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The main goal for the Blackstone Neighborhood Association is to preserve what still stands.

A luncheon at the Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel Monday marked the kickoff to Historic Blackstone Revealed; a fundraiser in October that gives people a chance to see inside some of the neighborhood’s oldest spaces.

“You’ll be able to go through nine properties, five homes and four commercial buildings; including the Cottonwood Hotel and formerly the Blackstone,” says Mark Maser, President of the Blackstone Neighborhood Association.

It’s part of the preservation project ensuring the homes in this neighborhood are protected.

“Our goal is to encourage our neighbors to locally landmark their properties, whether they be residential or commercial. Locally landmarking is the only way we can ensure historic properties are not torn down.”

The Blackstone Neighborhood is part of the National Register of Historic Places, but that doesn’t provide absolute protection.

“The problem with the historic register, while lovely, it does not protect a property from being torn down; but locally landmarking does protect a property, and so that’s our goal.”

The neighborhood association is working to put a priority list together of what they fear could be affected by new construction.

“For instance the Blackstone Hotel, now the Cottonwood, might well be the top of our list. Because it’s number one our namesake for the neighborhood, but it’s also historically the tentpole around, which all of the historic homes revolve 100 years ago and now again today.”

Putting together the priority list will take some time. Maser explains the properties have to be researched and there is a cost associated with compiling the list. Therefore, the funds raised from the Historic Blackstone Revealed tour will go towards putting together the list.

Mary Creighton McDermott Maxwell was the guest speaker at Monday’s luncheon. Blackstone is where she grew up; and she wants to see it stay.

“It’s been heartbreaking to see some of the beautiful homes that have disappeared over the years,” says Maxwell. “I’m very supportive of any group that wants to try to preserve what’s left.”

The Historic Blackstone Revealed tour is happening Oct. 8 and 9.