Town Hall Meeting Participants Were Enthusiastic About Auburn Historic Preservation District Project
About 40 persons attended the Auburn Historic Preservation District Town Hall meeting Thursday night, Jan. 24, at the Auburn Senior Center.
Peru State College students and Auburn High School students were among those who attended.
“We’re excited to work on this project with your community. We’re thrilled to be here. They’re excited to visit with you to get the stories (on the buildings),” said Sara Crook, Peru State College professor.
Students from the History of Nebraska class taught by Crook interviewed building owners and other longtime Auburn residents during the meeting. The students are also researching information on the buildings.
The information is being gathered to create a National Historic District nomination. The proposed historic district covers the downtown business district, Courthouse Avenue and Courthouse Square.
Students of Carlene Frenzel at Auburn High School filmed the proceedings.
State Historical Society Official Attends
Audrey Mohr of the Nebraska State Historical Society attended. She is National Register & certified local government coordinator with the society. She has guided Auburn officials through the project.
“I think it’s going really well. It’s been a quick process. Everybody’s been enthusiastic about it. This is a great turnout. It’s a new process we haven’t done before but it’s working pretty well,” Mohr said.
College Students Started Work Earlier This Month
Crook said the college students started working on the project Monday, Jan. 7, when the second semester started. The students were assigned buildings by topic or in a particular area of Auburn.
“They found out about this on the first day of class. They looked through the folders and put in bids for what groups of buildings to work on. Not everyone got their first choices. They looked over the application for historic district files to acclimate themselves to the buildings they’re doing. They sent letters to the owners of the buildings and gave them contact information so the owners can be in contact with them. Some of the owners sent information. Some of the students received feedback already from owners who couldn’t attend but they will meet with them later,” Crook said.
“It’s fun to do something that has a real purpose instead of something for just getting a grade,” she said.
Students Share Their Thoughts on the Experience
“I think it’s a really great deal. Anything to help out the community is great. I’m excited about it. It’s a lot of work, but it will all work out in the end. Hopefully when the project goes through, it’s exciting to be a part of,” said Cody Houser of Bruning. He is studying buildings along 1300 to 1320 Courthouse Ave.
“It looks like we’re going to find some interesting history,” said Nathan Shaffer, who is studying the Nemaha County Courthouse.
Shaffer said he was unaware there was a wood courthouse on the site before the current stone courthouse.
“I think it’s really cool that we’re all learning about the history of the town and what the residents have to say. My family has been around this area. I know Auburn. I really like this project. It’s fun and a good learning experience,” said Kyle Berglund of Creighton, who is studying buildings along J Street.
While growing up, Berglund recalled coming to the Auburn areas for vacations and holidays.
“I’ve learned so much more about this area. It’s pretty amazing,” Berglund said.
“It’s very enjoyable. I’m hoping to give some help to Auburn. I appreciate being able to work in a real world organization process and learn some valuable information about the area,” said Ryan Erickson of Westboro, Mo. He is studying the area along 1106 to 1122 J St.
“It’s really interesting to learn all the history. People who’ve been here awhile are giving me information. That is helping me to get to know the buildings and the properties. The most important think is it really makes it a lot easier for us to do our assignments, and to work with the Nebraska State Historical Society to get the buildings on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Tim Kluck of Schuyler. He is studying buildings from 1202 to 1222 J St.
“It’s a worthy project to undertake. Being a history major, anything in history I thoroughly enjoy. The project is more enjoyable than academic work,” said Richard Kepford of Bellevue. He is studying the three churches in the district: First United Methodist Church, the Auburn Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church.
“I think it’s a great opportunity we can actually do a project to help out the community and help create a national historic district. It’s something we can put on our resume,” said Dean Shissler of Syracuse.