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Cozad’s Downtown Historic District Earns National Register Distinction

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sticking with original and traditional designs and architecture has earned the Cozad Downtown Historic District the distinction of being one of five locations to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places by History Nebraska.
The Cozad Downtown Historic District is made up of over 35 contributing buildings along with one contributing structure that was previously listed. The historic district stretches from 7th street to the south, 9th street to the north , H street to the west and F street to the east.
The Allen Opera House at 100 East 8th Street was constructed in 1906 and is already listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
The commercial developments include the Atkinson Building at 711-715 Meridian Avenue as the oldest listed construction date. The Atkinson building was originally built in 1890 with alterations being completed in 1960.
The next oldest building that is a staple in the Historic district is the Brown and Bennison Building at 746 Meridian Avenue that was constructed in 1897. In 1905, the Brown and Bennison building had an addition that stretched down 8th street to 113 East 8th Street.
The Brown and Bennison along with the Atkinson Buildings are the lone buildings that were constructed prior to the turn of the century.
The age of the buildings stretches from 1890 until the late 1960’s, representing over seven decades of commercial development and architectural mastery. The architectural styles most commonly represented are vernacular, neo-classical revival and mid-century modern.
During the turn of the century, there were three banks that were constructed in downtown Cozad. The historic district also includes structures that used to be fraternal and social organizations, a lumber yard and an automobile showroom.
The influence of the nearby railroad and the transcontinental Lincoln Highway that passed through downtown during the early decades of the 20th century have been instrumental in the historical developments being successful as part of the commercial downtown district of Cozad. The highway was eventually numbered as U.S. Highway 30 and the route was moved south of the Historic Downtown District.
The Cozad Downtown Historic District continues to be locally significant and is the ninth overall listing in the National Register of Historic Places from Dawson County.
When homes and businesses get listed on the National Register of Historic Places, there are many questions that people are looking to get answered. Property taxes for buildings in historic districts are taxed no differently than those outside the district. Historic districts do not restrict the sale of the property, change any procedures related to improvements or restoration of the property. They do not require approval for interior changes or alterations, prevent new construction within historic areas, or require approval for ordinary repair or maintenance. These are common myths related to listed historical properties.
“Studies show that districts are a useful tool in stimulating new investment. A community that values its history and architecture is generally one that is attractive to live and work in. Older buildings give people tangible links with history. Historic districts draws visitors that want to connect to the past, explained Cozad Development Corporation Executive Director Jen McKeone.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's inventory of properties deemed worthy of preservation. It is part of a national program to coordinate and support local and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect the nation's historic and archeological resources. The National Register was developed to recognize historic places and their role in contributing to our country's heritage. Properties listed in the National Register either individually or as contributing to a historic district are eligible for State and Federal tax incentives.
For more information on the National Register program in Nebraska, contact the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office at the Nebraska State Historical Society at (402) 471-4775 or visit