Tim Reeder has never seen such a social media flurry about a house for sale.

Now multiply that by two.

Reeder is the real estate agent for two of the most historically significant houses in Omaha — both in the Bemis Park neighborhood north of Cuming Street.

The Edgar Zabriskie house at the corner of 36th Street and Hawthorne Avenue will go on the market at the end of February at a still-to-be-determined price. The Queen Anne residence was the first home built in that neighborhood in 1889.

A block to the south is the Porter-Thomsen house, a blend of styles that is for sale for $425,000. Built in 1902, the white house with its gorgeous wraparound porch looks down over Lincoln Boulevard and Bemis Park and stands out to the north as you drive down Cuming.

Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and both are designated as Omaha Landmarks.

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The Porter-Thomsen house overlooks Lincoln Boulevard and Bemis Park.

It’s rare for a home to be a local landmark, on the national register and part of a local landmark district, said Nicole Malone, a designer for AO and a founding board member of Restoration Exchange Omaha.

There are five Omaha Landmark Heritage Districts and 29 homes on the Omaha Landmarks list.

That’s part of the reason for the buzz.

They’re also gorgeous homes.

“There is a very small pool of historic homes,” Reeder said. “People still understand and love them and appreciate them.”

Malone remembers her visit to the Porter-Thomsen House on a snowy day two years ago during a Bemis house tour.

“It was amazing,” she said. “It was big and white and fluffy, and standing on the porch and looking over the park was one of the coolest experiences.”

Inside, the main floor still includes stenciled ceilings and the original canvas murals of castles and landscapes along the Rhine River in Germany.

“It has a lot of amazing history,” Reeder said. “It has the original carriage house. You can see where they kept the horses. All that history is in there.”

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The exterior of the Zabriskie house has all been restored.

The Zabriskie house is one of the few high-style Queen Anne houses left in Omaha.

The outside has undergone a full restoration — though it’s still missing the dome atop one of the turrets that was swept away in the 1913 Easter tornado.

“It’s the most beautiful exterior preservation I’ve seen in Omaha,” Reeder said.

Inside, along with the original woodwork and fireplaces, many historical touches remain, including gas sconces and a push doorbell system that rings in the kitchen. It let the servants know in which room the homeowners needed help.

“Queen Anne is a style that occurred in the late 1880s. Those types of houses would have been closer to the downtown area,” Malone said. “With the Omaha development that’s happened, most of the houses are gone.”

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The Zabriskie house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

People are excited and nervous at the prospect of the houses changing hands, Malone said. They want the new owner to care for the property as has been done in the past.

“Truly, houses that are that iconic belong to the community,” she said. “The homeowners are stewards of keeping these homes going for decades to come.”

Reeder said that although there’s a small buyer pool for historic homes because of the work entailed in restoring and maintaining them, they create a lot of interest.

“It’s all about emotions and how it makes you feel,” he said. “We buy these old homes because we fall in love with them.”


Look inside the Edgar Zabriskie, Porter-Thomsen houses in Omaha’s Bemis Park neighborhood

Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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