Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Fred Astaire's Birthplace Slated for Demolition


Recommended Posts

I guess this post is somewhat a plea for help. The City of Omaha, Nebraska is planning to demolish the birthplace of Fred Astaire. There is some complexity here because the owner of record died several years ago and his son has died recently but the property was never transferred to a new owner. 

Fred Astaire's story is the American story. His birthplace home is a piece of American history and should be saved from the wrecking ball and preserved.
Omaha has a terrible record of historic preservation, and the house is now tagged for demolition. Demolition is impending.

I'm reaching out in every direction in an attempt to find support.

Can anyone suggest ideas or resources I can reach out to that may be able to help save this important little house?

Here is a local news station report: 'This is a special house': With demolition order possible, who owns Fred Astaire's birthplace?

Below is a photo of the house and a link to a BBC documentary that features the house.

Here is a link to the BBC documentary, Looking for Fred Astaire by Darcey Bussell

 

Thank you fellow movie lovers. Please please help!

F5D1BA79-CAEC-460E-B10D-972190379DB4.png

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no, I sincerely hope it gets saved! I absolutely hate that there is seemingly little to no regard for the historical significance of many buildings and as a result we lose them. The only thing I could think of that might be a place to start is to create an online petition and advertise it on as many social platforms as you can. It must be preserved!!😢

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, DREAMFACTORY--  it is scandalous to think that Fred's birthplace wouldn't be protected.   One of the unique, irreplaceable figures in American cinema.

Are you a resident of Omaha?   Even given the urgency of the situation, could the City Council members be contacted for some emergency "stay" of the demolition?

I'm afraid I'm not aware of all the potential remedies in cases like this-- hoping others will have ideas.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a page for Nebraska's Historic Preservation Office.  "Our office has expertise in architecture, archeology, and history. While a lot of our work involves old buildings, we also seek to preserve other built structures, landscapes, objects, and artifacts of historical significance."

Maybe they could give you some information or guidance?  Here are a few of their links:

Contact Us | History Nebraska

Historic Preservation | History Nebraska

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Did I hear it right? The neighbor is helping to pay taxes? None are past due? That amazes me. If the city's only excuse for tearing it down is that it is in poor condition, then getting up to code will save it. But I don't know who would go to the effort or expense with no guarantee of return on their investment. It appears even if someone wanted to buy it, there is no one to buy ít from. Sad. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, lilypond said:

Agreed, DREAMFACTORY--  it is scandalous to think that Fred's birthplace wouldn't be protected.   One of the unique, irreplaceable figures in American cinema.

Are you a resident of Omaha?   Even given the urgency of the situation, could the City Council members be contacted for some emergency "stay" of the demolition?

I'm afraid I'm not aware of all the potential remedies in cases like this-- hoping others will have ideas.  

Lilypond, yes, I am an Omaha resident.  Unfortunately, Omaha takes great relish in demolishing its history and its architectural history.  Omaha lays claim to the demolition of the largest National Register Historic District in US history.  Attitudes have not improved. The chance of elected officials supporting the home's rescue and preservation is very unlikely.  An angel is needed, and I am hoping perhaps someone on the national stage will see this and help.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope they can save this house.  

 

There are a bunch of TV shows out there (on networks like HGTV, DIY, etc.) that specialize in restoring historic homes.   It’s can be a “win-win” since they essentially fund the restoration by selling commercials on the show.  I wonder if one of these networks/shows could do this with this house? 

 

A couple of years ago one of these networks did this on the “Brady Bunch” house and got about 6 hours of on air content out of it.


Since TCM will soon be part of Discovery Network maybe they could do a TCM crossover show with one of those shows…  Maybe have Ben M show up to help paint😀

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hamradio said:

They should check to see if there's any shoes hidden in the attic or basement before demolition.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQtM6oRSmUJXo5v_ZDE1ES

 

Noticed the CB antenna, wonder what the previous owners handle was? :rolleyes:

Where are the shoes with wings on?

 

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins | Childhood memories,  Memories, Kingdom tv show

"My little friend and I only wish that Fred Astaire's old home insurance had been with Mutual of Omaha. If that had been the case I'm sure there wouldn't be any sad story about potential demolition now."

Jim Fowler, longtime host of 'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom,' dies | Local  News | omaha.com

"Hey, Marlin, sorry to interrupt but I could use a little help now."

Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (1964) with Marlin Perkins | Valley Of  Eagles | Full Entire Episode - YouTube

"That's great, Jim, and that why Mutual of Omaha is here for you should either of those big tuskers catch up with you. And now, back to our scheduled program, Fred Astaire's birth home."

  • Like 1
  • Haha 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, dreamfactory said:

Unfortunately, Omaha takes great relish in demolishing its history and its architectural history.  Omaha lays claim to the demolition of the largest National Register Historic District in US history.  Attitudes have not improved. The chance of elected officials supporting the home's rescue and preservation is very unlikely.  An angel is needed, and I am hoping perhaps someone on the national stage will see this and help.

I take umbrage to your dismissive, negative point-of-view.

I am an historian who specializes in 20th Century American Commercial Architecture. We're caretakers, not miracle workers, Jim.  Citizens often howl when monies are granted to historic preservation rather than other municipal needs like roads, schools or fire departments.

Property maintenance is often neglected for decades, then citizens want the government to step in & save it. Unseen, non structural elements like asbestos removal & disposal can often raise renovation costs exceeding the value of the building and few accept this investment for posterity.  

Dr Suess' house on toney Mulberry Street in Springfield Mass was demolished by the owners to expand their parking lot. Oy.

The most successful stories usually come from the private sector of enthusiasts raising preservation funds and the municipality taking charge of the property-often a home for the local historical society & small Museum of the resident's career. Most rural "birthplace homes" are not self sustaining money making tourist attractions.

Someone bought the Jackson family home in horrifically blighted Gary Indiana. It is fenced off with a couple of cenotaph tributes to Michael Jackson. A personal, or possibly group investment that keeps the house standing in it's original location, which is particularly poignant...hope it brings some value to the otherwise bleak neighborhood.

 

11 hours ago, CallMeTim said:

A couple of years ago one of these networks did this on the “Brady Bunch” house and got about 6 hours of on air content out of it.

Because the house was a familiar "set" used on TV , not simply a personal home where one moment of history happened. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, CallMeTim said:

I hope they can save this house.  

A couple of years ago one of these networks did this on the “Brady Bunch” house and got about 6 hours of on air content out of it.


 

 

Think it had only about 6 minutes of air time. The original owners wish they never agreed to using their home as a story backdrop, been a nightmare of people without a life showing up whom can't distinguish fantasy from reality. Had to install a combo wall with fence.

Brady-Bunch-House-For-Sale-1200x900.png

 

Surprise there's no sign....Beware of Pit Bull not Well Fed. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I take umbrage to your dismissive, negative point-of-view.

I am an historian who specializes in 20th Century American Commercial Architecture. We're caretakers, not miracle workers, Jim.  Citizens often howl when monies are granted to historic preservation rather than other municipal needs like roads, schools or fire departments.

Property maintenance is often neglected for decades, then citizens want the government to step in & save it. Unseen, non structural elements like asbestos removal & disposal can often raise renovation costs exceeding the value of the building and few accept this investment for posterity.  

Dr Suess' house on toney Mulberry Street in Springfield Mass was demolished by the owners to expand their parking lot. Oy.

The most successful stories usually come from the private sector of enthusiasts raising preservation funds and the municipality taking charge of the property-often a home for the local historical society & small Museum of the resident's career. Most rural "birthplace homes" are not self sustaining money making tourist attractions.

Someone bought the Jackson family home in horrifically blighted Gary Indiana. It is fenced off with a couple of cenotaph tributes to Michael Jackson. A personal, or possibly group investment that keeps the house standing in it's original location, which is particularly poignant...hope it brings some value to the otherwise bleak neighborhood.

 

Because the house was a familiar "set" used on TV , not simply a personal home where one moment of history happened. 

 

Are you shaking your finger at me??  Research Jobbers' Canyon and you'll understand the attitudes toward historic preservation in Omaha, Nebraska, and what the community is up against when trying to save history and historic architecture.

Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, hamradio said:

 

Think it had only about 6 minutes of air time. The original owners wish they never agreed to using their home as a story backdrop, been a nightmare of people without a life showing up whom can't distinguish fantasy from reality. Had to install a combo wall with fence.

Brady-Bunch-House-For-Sale-1200x900.png

 

Surprise there's no sign....Beware of Pit Bull not Well Fed. 

The owners sold it 2 years ago to HGTV for the reality show mentioned above (A Very Brady Renovation).  The exterior  was made to look like it did in the establishing shots on the original TV show and the interior was gutted and rebuilt to look like the soundstage set at Paramount.

The house was on the market for $1.8M.  HGTV bought it for $3.5M.  The owners paid $61K for it in 1973.  Per Zillow, the taxes on it every year run about $50K.

Here's what it looked like after the renovation:

1st look at the newly-renovated Brady Bunch house l GMA - YouTube

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for calling this to our attention, Dreamfactory.   Fred's house does indeed deserve to be preserved.

I'm amazed at how many stars from Hollywood's golden age were born or grew up in Omaha.  Besides Fred and sister Adele, other actors include Montgomery Clift, Dorothy McGuire, Marlon Brando, Inga Swenson, singer Shirley Ross and later actors like Nick Nolte,  Anne Ramsey,  Swoozie Kurtz, Andrew Ranella, John Beasley, Pamela Austin,  director Alexander Payne, prizefighter Max Baer, not to mention Leslie Lynch King, Jr. who became better known as Gerald Ford--the 38th President of the USA.    Whew!  I'll stop there but there are many more celebrities who hail from Omaha.

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, hamradio said:

3157721253_1c59d9a95e_b.jpg

 

Sorry...my mistake- I meant "location" not "set".

2 hours ago, dreamfactory said:

Are you shaking your finger at me??

No, but it hurts when I hear blanket negative statements such as what was posted. The other is "If I allow Landmark status, they're going to tell me what color I have to paint my house! I won't be able to change ANYTHING!" Heaven forbid. As a professional conservator,  I've found historic preservation often a tough sell. There are very few who invest in it that regret it. 

Agreed as well, not everything is deserving. But I felt badly hearing Toronto remodeled the railway toilets from Silver Streak's iconic "That's right...we bad" scene. But that's because I'm a film buff. There's all kinds of special interest groups out there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

No, but it hurts when I hear blanket negative statements such as what was posted. The other is "If I allow Landmark status, they're going to tell me what color I have to paint my house! I won't be able to change ANYTHING!" Heaven forbid.

It's their house, not yours.  They're absolutely right to have those objections.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fred Astaire's birthplace. Sorry, I just can't get worked up about this.  I suppose it would be nice if the place could remain, but let's be real- Astaire was a dancer and an actor, and that's all. If the house where he was born disappears, is it really that great of a loss?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, filmnoirguy said:

Thanks for calling this to our attention, Dreamfactory.   Fred's house does indeed deserve to be preserved.

I'm amazed at how many stars from Hollywood's golden age were born or grew up in Omaha.  Besides Fred and sister Adele, other actors include Montgomery Clift, Dorothy McGuire, Marlon Brando, Inga Swenson, singer Shirley Ross and later actors like Nick Nolte,  Anne Ramsey,  Swoozie Kurtz, Andrew Ranella, John Beasley, Pamela Austin,  director Alexander Payne, prizefighter Max Baer, not to mention Leslie Lynch King, Jr. who became better known as Gerald Ford--the 38th President of the USA.    Whew!  I'll stop there but there are many more celebrities who hail from Omaha.

 

Thanks for your reply. It is amazing the number of stars from Omaha and Nebraska and Iowa. Darryl F. Zanuck was from Wahoo, just west of Omaha. Don't forget Henry Fonda and Harold Lloyd. Donna Reed and Cloris Leachman, both from Iowa. You're right, there are so many more.
I also get a kick out of how many times Omaha is mentioned or referred to in a movie... The Balloon in the Wizard of Oz... In Lover Come Back, Doris Day's character talks about coming from Omaha...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

 

Agreed as well, not everything is deserving. But I felt badly hearing Toronto remodeled the railway toilets from Silver Streak's iconic "That's right...we bad" scene. But that's because I'm a film buff. There's all kinds of special interest groups out there.

You may have got that from a post I made a few years ago. And it's true that for a few years I used to make a point of going to that Toronto Union Station washroom because, to me, it was the "Silver Streak Washroom." I recall telling a few other customers of the urinals of its historical significance while they did their thing there. One was genuinely interested, while another didn't know Silver Streak from a silver spoon so it meant nothing to him. There are now two smaller washrooms, one for men, the other for women, where that large mens washroom used to be. My days of reminiscing about Pryor and Wilder while I stood where they once performed have been sadly flushed away.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dreamfactory said:

Thanks for your reply. It is amazing the number of stars from Omaha and Nebraska and Iowa. Darryl F. Zanuck was from Wahoo, just west of Omaha. Don't forget Henry Fonda and Harold Lloyd. Donna Reed and Cloris Leachman, both from Iowa. You're right, there are so many more.
I also get a kick out of how many times Omaha is mentioned or referred to in a movie... The Balloon in the Wizard of Oz... In Lover Come Back, Doris Day's character talks about coming from Omaha...

Well, Omaha was larger than LA back at the turn of the 20th century and larger than any city in Texas at the time, and in the top 20 in population in the late 1800s - it was a fairly major city in its early life.  And unlike other cities in the region (KC, St. Louis, Chicago, etc.), it's still growing while many others are stagnating. 

Omaha got a lot of mentions too, once SAC moved their HQ there after WWII.  It was mentioned in a lot of war movies in the Cold War era.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

Well, Omaha was larger than LA back at the turn of the 20th century and larger than any city in Texas at the time, and in the top 20 in population in the late 1800s - it was a fairly major city in its early life.  And unlike other cities in the region (KC, St. Louis, Chicago, etc.), it's still growing while many others are stagnating. 

Omaha got a lot of mentions too, once SAC moved their HQ there after WWII.  It was mentioned in a lot of war movies in the Cold War era.

I don't know if I agree about Omaha growing... Omaha takes a step forward, then takes a step back. Lots of mistakes and lack of vision. The city, and the state, has a really hard time keeping young people here and giving young people a reason to relocate here.

At the turn of century, so many made fortunes in Omaha. Of course the same is true of other cities. But, in Omaha, individuals made fortunes and left town with it or kept it in bank accounts. I don't think that happened, or happened to the same degree in cities like Kansas City and Minneapolis. That's just my hunch based on observations.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, unwatchable said:

Fred Astaire's birthplace. Sorry, I just can't get worked up about this.  I suppose it would be nice if the place could remain, but let's be real- Astaire was a dancer and an actor, and that's all. If the house where he was born disappears, is it really that great of a loss?

Kind of strange nobody seem to care about it until it got condemned.  Place is virtually falling apart.

Agree people treat actors as if they walk on water.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...