Brian Whetstone: a 19 year old Nebraskan who posts fandoms and has an intense passion for historic preservation.


Ok I am sorry but I have to go on a rant for a second.
Welcome to the Frank House, a historic house museum located in Kearney, Nebraska, and my place of work. This house is literally amazing for being in the middle of Central Nebraska (AKA nowhere) it cost 42,000 dollars to build in 1889 (equivalent to 31.5 million today), 18,000 square feet, it has woodwork carved by a man who was said to be a master carver by the King of Sweden, one of the largest windows ever installed in a private residence in the nation designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany (that’s the last photo), fireplace tiles imported from Holland, Austrian glass, Red sandstone mined in Wyoming, and a German imported tile roof. All of this in dinky Kearney, Nebraska. Now here’s the kicker. The man who owned it ran the electric company in town (we had electric streetcars two years before San Francisco thanks to him) and lost everything in the Panic of 1893. He even had to start selling furniture to pay for medicine for his wife. 1900 rolls around and his wife dies so he abandons the house. 1911 hits with the advent of a Tuberculosis Hospital where the house is used as a residence hall for nurses and doctors working at said hospital. So for 61 years the hospital made “renovations” and attempted to “modernize” the house. Fireplaces ripped out, ceilings torn down, the original roof replaced, chimneys knocked over, thick coats of paint applied to the woodwork, pipes ran through the staircase, etc… Today the house is owned by the university here. And the entire main floor of the house has been restored. Here’s the part that really makes me angry though. The university does not pay for a single thing that goes on at the house. Since the 1970s the house has been essentially hated by the university and if it hadn’t been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, it would have been torn down the minute the college got its hands on it. Any and all restorations that have been done here have been completed through donations. In the 1980s that was fine, but now that the university has taken down all proper signage, refuses to advertise it, planted trees in front of the house to hide it from view, refused to give us a proper parking lot, and won’t acknowledge it; the donations just don’t roll in like they used to. The only thing the university finds use for it is to host the Chancellor’s drunken Christmas party there every year. I guess my problem is working here and watching the complete and utter neglect happening to what should be a nationally recognized landmark. It’s unfair to those who built it 124 years ago and it’s not fair to those who enjoy it today.

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