From a series originally posted to Facebook only. Mother of Miss Cassette called these the Little Stories and she quite liked how short and fun they were. I will be working to get these uploaded onto the website, as most people don’t follow My Omaha Obsession on FB. This article was originally posted on December 18, 2017.
I Think You Had Better Sit Down.
One day many years ago, I was strolling around Dundee looking for things. Not looking for any particular thing—just things to obsess over. And there it was. 110 North Fifty-fourth Street. I made a thorough examination of the place, feeling slightly hysterical, like an anxious child on Christmas Eve. I could not disguise my compulsion to live behind that half-timbered delight as I walked the soft edge of the odd corner lot. Taking in the large English Tudor, how she sat back nicely from the sidewalk–all of the trappings of a posh manor and yet, not pretentious at all. How? Were those steam-bent shingles? Yes, that was exactly how this grand home kept itself from being all too stuffy. Those steam-bent shingles gave a curved edge to the roof, which in turn gave a quaint thatched-roof impression. Humbling. Gnome-like. Why bother concealing my rapture? The neighbors no doubt had observed this level of rapid (rabid?) breath before, the wide-eyed pleasure from many thrill-seeking lookie-lous in the decades past. “There goes another tormented soul…,” I imagined them whispering from kitchen windows over their pressure cookers.
You might want to lean in at this point, because an astonishing thing happened just the other day. I made a wrong turn and in an attempt to turn around, I passed the Perfect Home again but this time, it had a For Sale sign in the yard. You had better believe that I tore back home as quickly as I could to survey the online real estate photos. Apart from the fact that I do not have the coffers of money needed to buy a thatched roof second home, I had all but moved in in my mind. Only small details. There was even room for my domestic staff.
Wealthy George Platner of the Platner Lumber Company built the home at 110 North Fifty-fourth after selecting a rounded corner lot in the new Happy Hollow addition of Dundee in 1920. Mrs. George Platner began life as Miss Margaret Bennett having come from Old Omaha Money—her father, Thomas Bennett, originally from Ontario, Canada, helped with early construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. When constructed, the home at 110 was considered one of the finest quality residences in the city and for anyone who has wandered off onto the Fifty-fourth–Fifty-fifth Street Wedge, 110 is still admired as one the most picturesque estates in this prominent older neighborhood. Except for a very short period during the Great Depression when the Platners, like many well to do Omahans, began renting out rooms in their large home, the family appeared to enjoy life in their little corner of the world. George retired in 1960, after 72 years in the lumber business. Margaret died in the home in January of 1962. George’s death came less than two months after his wife’s. He also died in the home. It only seems fitting. The gorgeous five bedroom, five-bath home, boasting 3,749 sq ft, would be updated and lovingly cared for by only a few families, that I could find, in the decades since the Platners passed away. Astounding. Would it surprise you to know that Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited the home in the mid 80s? Yes, you are not the only one who would have loved to see what the original bathrooms and kitchen looked like, let alone all of those little architectural mysteries hidden in the details. As far as renovations go, I do not find this abhorrent. In fact, if we must muddle with perfection, 110 North Fifty-fourth is pretty wonderful. As long as those bent edge shingles remain, I will continue to swoon.
If you’d like a peek inside, and who wouldn’t, check out this link: https://www.zillow.com/…/110-N-54TH-St-Omaha…/75857874_zpid/
Happy Hanukkah to all of My Omaha Obsession friends!
I welcome your feedback and comments on this wonderful Dundee home. Please share your additional clues to the story in the “Comments,” as we know more together. Everyone would love to read what you have to say and it makes the sharing of Omaha history more fun. We want to hear from you. You can keep up with my latest investigations by joining my email group. Click on “Contact” then look for “Sign me up for the Newsletter!” Enter your email address. You will get sent email updates every time I have written a new article. Also feel free to join My Omaha Obsession on Facebook. Thank you, Omaha friends. Miss Cassette
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