Positively the Heartland: Former Elkhorn town hall seeks historic designation

Posted at 6:43 AM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 13:43:06-05

UPDATE 2/1/2022

The old Elkhorn Town Hall was once a pillar in the community.

Patsy Schmidt, president of the Elkhorn Historical Society, remembers it being a place to check out a book at the library or watch movies on the lawn.

"It was really a beehive of activity when you could go there at any time," Schmidt said.

At one point it acted as a jail, a place for the volunteer firefighters to store equipment, a dance hall, and a beauty parlor.

But for many years, the building at 20515 Corby St. sat empty, a disappointing sight for those who remember it.

"When it went into disrepair, neglected, it really became neglected," Schmidt said. "A lot of different owners over the years, and just sat there like nothing.”

Local business owner and artist Tyler Curnes wants to restore the piece of Elkhorn history. He’s working to get the site recognized as a historic landmark on a city and national level.

“The fact that I was already going to be going through these hoops so to speak and wanting to get it historically nominated and preserved in that light, it made it a no-brainer that I might as well try and go for those tax credits that can help me fulfill that at a little bit of a cheaper cost," Curnes said.

In his mission to repair the old town hall, he’s learning more about its history from those who remember it.

"These older generations have these ties with these things, it really makes you feel like you’re a part of it," Curnes said.

Curnes said he has plans to turn the old building into a speakeasy, with the hope of having it open in the next two years.

Though Elkhorn is now part of Omaha, its history is a special part of the community’s identity.

"We’re not just a little dot on the map so to speak," Schmidt.

On Tuesday, city council officially voted to make the building a historic landmark.

Download our apps today for all of our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather delivered straight to your inbox.

Send story ideas here
Please fill in all required fields below