Buildings Contributing and Non-Contributing to distinction. 105 E 3rd Hanson, Robert A 108 E 4th Marshall, Ronald J & Lois A 110 E 4th Pitzer Digital Llc 111 E 4th Morrison, Dorian E 112 E 4th Schreger V 116 E 4th Pitzer Enterprises LLC 202 Main City Of Neligh 204 Main City Of Neligh 210 Main Senior Citizens Program Inc 212 Main Educational Service Unit #8 214 Main Tunink, Arlyn D 218 Main Jdmz Properties LLC 220 Main Reinkes Farm & City Service Inc 223 Main Gaskill Family Tr 302 Main Educational Service Unit #8 305 Main First National Bank Neligh, Heritage~Bankattn: Kevin Henderson 306 Main Educational Service Unit #8 307 Main Allemang, Lucille Etal 308 Main Educational Service Unit #8 309 Main Hoefer, Trent & Hannah 310 Main Peterson, Tracie 312 Main Mickelson, Susan L Etal 313 Main Stenka, Shawn M & Shaylene G 314 Main Pitzer Digital LLC 315 Main Ahlers, Sarah L & Justin A 317 Main Jessen, Douglas G & Dorine K 319 Main Jerden Llc 320 Main Klabenes, Stacy M 322 Main Jensen, Terry M & Rhonda K 323-325 Main Morrison, Dorian E 324 Main National Bank Of Neligh 401 Main Marshall, Ronald J & Lois A 402 Main Dennis, Douglas A & Gloria A 403 Main Baker, Todd J & Christine R 405 Main Anderson, Dennis H & Jeri L 406 Main Snodgrass, Seth & Shelby 408 Main Schindler, Edmund J 409 Main Gregory & Jenniffer Blackburn-Nielsen~Funnel Tr 410 Main Cw Inc 411 Main Miller, Lonny R & Maryetta Etal 413 Main Juracek, Lyle F & Loretta J 415 Main Johnson, Karen D 416 Main Adams, Tedd 417 Main Hartz, Vincent Joe & Beverly A 418 Main Meadows, Donald L & Beverly R 419 Main Red Barn Enterprises LLC 420 Main Taylor, Bennie C & Mary Ellen 423 Main Red Barn Enterprises LLC 424 Main National Bank Of Neligh 427 Main Schuller Investments LLC 502 Main Urbanec, Lisa R 101 W 3rd Reinkes Farm & City Service Inc 103 W 3rd Reinkes Farm & City Service Inc 110 W 3rd Educational Service Unit #8 108 W 4th Dennis, Douglas A & Gloria A
A walk through Neligh’s Old Mill District has always been a stroll through history. Now, it’s also a stop on the National Register of Historic Places.
Last week, downtown Neligh was officially awarded the national distinction, and Mayor Joe Hartz couldn’t be more proud.
"This is a great thing for Neligh and for Antelope County," Hartz said. "It's a great start to bringing new life into our historical downtown district. We have tremendous buildings, and we need to salvage and preserve them. It's important for our children to see the history of our downtown district, so to redeem them and turn it into a historical site is tremendous for the area."
Every building in downtown Neligh was studied and determined to be either contributing or non-contributing factors to being historical, meaning the architectural style and property types reflect its historical significance.
“The diversity of functions, architectural styles and property types enhance the visual character of the district,” the application stated. “The district’s continued development, reflected in the evolution of the building styles, expresses the commercial improvements or updates and highlights its importance to the social and economic strength of the city during the period of significance.”
Of the 8.1 acres of downtown Neligh, 41 buildings were labeled as contributing to the distinction with 14 not contributing.
Much of the application for national distinction included an indepth look into the structures and downtown economy, which uncovered many details that few many know from previous street names and original businesses to natural disasters and downtown fires.
The downtown was ignited by fire multiple times, but perhaps none more significant than on March 3, 1944, that spread through the 300 block of Main Street. Fire departments from neighboring Brunswick, Clearwater, Elgin, Oakdale and Tilden all provided mutual aid.
The fire started behind Wanek Drugstore, which was then located at 316 Main and spread to the adjacent Moon Theater, J.C. Penny’s and Hewitt Jewelry. An hour after the fire began, several onlookers were injured after an explosion blew off the room of the theater and broke the windows.
The total damage was reported at $200,000. Proof of the community’s perseverance, all of the buildings were rebuilt and all but the theater are in use today.
Another key fire that struck multiple downtown businesses was on February 5, 1960, just a block down, destroying The Firestone Store and White Spot Bar (presently 406 and 408 M Street). Five other buildings were damaged but not destroyed thanks to the efforts of fire departments from Neligh, Oakdale, Elgin and Clearwater.
“There’s a lot of history here in the downtown from the fires that happened years ago and the way the buildings were rebuilt,” said Economic Development Director Gabe Steinmeyer. “Even the buildings that are newer still have the historical significance, and you see that within the architecture as you progress downtown.”
In the 16 years between the fires, the streets of Neligh saw big changes, namely their names. In 1950, the City Council voted to rename the east-west streets to numbers. Coe St. became 3rd St., Putney St. became 4th, Hopkins became 5th and Mill St. became 2nd.
In May 1960, the north-south streets were changed from trees to letters. Cottonwood or M for Main Street was the middle of town with everything west increasing in the alphabet and east streets decreasing.
Steinmeyer said the national distinction puts Neligh in a position to leverage its historical abilities and push local tourism aspects even farther. It also provides extra incentive to business owners.
“If they want to upgrade their building, there are different tax incentives that are available to them that we didn’t previously have. As long as they maintain the historical aspect, they’re able to retain some tax credits and tax relief on those projects,” he said.
Steinmeyer said while it does provide incentives to owners, the distinction isn’t restrictive to progress. Business owners still have the ability to do whatever they want to their property; however, it does mean they won’t receive tax incentives for the changes that change the historical features.
“If a building owner wants to do something to their building, they are able to do that. This doesn’t change anything,” he said. “If they want public funds to do the building, then we as a community can require that historical features are retained.”