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Over the last year, we have been revitalizing our efforts to become highly identifiable as a preservation organization. To begin, we chose to retain our refined and recognizable branding but change to a simpler name. On June 16, 2023, Restoration Exchange Omaha became Preserve Omaha.  REO was on the brink of shutting down at the beginning of 2023. In March 2023, we learned that the McManor, the home at Forest Lawn Cemetery designed by famed Omaha architect John McDonald, was going to be torn down. We reinvigorated public interest in preservation with the McManor through conversations and community support. While we lost the McManor, we preserved what is now Preserve Omaha. Since then, we have worked on rebuilding ourselves from the ground up. Some of our work includes starting PresFest (our large, free, annual preservation fair at Joslyn Castle), reestablishing partnerships, providing education, and advocating for the preservation of Omaha's buildings, spaces, and culture.

Preserve Omaha would not be here today without the diligent work of the previous iterations of our organization. During the summer of 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation conducted an assessment of historic preservation in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro region. The results of this work became the catalyst to form Restoration Exchange. In 2013 three preservation-related groups came together to provide the foundation of REO.

Landmarks, Inc. was a 43-year old nonprofit organization whose mission was “to serve as the advocate for the preservation of Omaha’s historic environment”. In 1965, a small group of preservation-minded citizens founded Landmarks, Inc. in an attempt to save Omaha’s historic Post Office from demolition. Omaha lost the building, but gained a preservation organization. Landmarks, Inc. existed before the National Register of Historic places was created, and was the oldest preservation non-profit organization in Nebraska.

Restore Omaha  was started in 2005 by a 16-member group of architects, city planners, neighborhood leaders, conservators, and other preservation professionals and enthusiasts in the Omaha and Council Bluffs community. They were dedicated to educating and motivating people to restore, revive, and preserve older homes, businesses, and neighborhoods through an annual conference in the spring and a tour in the fall.

Omaha Urban Neighborhoods operated as an advocate for the revitalization of neighborhood business districts. Headed by Vince Furlong, its accomplishments include National Register of Historic Places designation of the Vinton Street Commercial District; coordination of two walking tours, The Deuce (North 24th Street) and La Veinticuatro (South 24th Street); and service on the Boards of Directors of Omaha Streetcar and the Midtown Neighborhood Alliance

Together, we became stronger. Preservation matters because it speaks to our fundamental need to understand who we are and where we come from. It binds us to one another and to our shared past, reminding us that we all share a piece of the American story. It also creates very tangible economic and environmental benefits for people and communities.

Help us make a difference by joining our movement!

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3902 Davenport Street Omaha, NE 68131


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