The Fairbury Commercial Historic District encompasses an area spanning approximately ten blocks and 117 properties, contains ninety-seven (97) contributing and twenty (20) noncontributing properties. Virtually every street within the boundaries of the historic district are paved with brick, which were constructed circa 1916. The district is distinguished by the prominent courthouse square, where the architecturally and historically significant Jefferson County Courthouse sits, between Fourth, Fifth, D, and E streets. The oldest buildings in the district are located around the courthouse square.
The commercial center of Fairbury revolves around the Jefferson County Courthouse, which is located in the center of the downtown on the public square. The oldest buildings in the district surround the courthouse, while the later buildings fan away from the square. A majority of the commercial buildings in downtown Fairbury, which exhibit high physical integrity, are still occupied by businesses. As a result, a bustle of activity continues to occur around the courthouse square.
Many of the commercial buildings in the Fairbury Commercial Historic District are extremely intact. They retain their original form and ornamentation, particularly in the upper stories. Often, the storefronts and interiors have been altered to accommodate changing businesses. The general appearance of the district displays high integrity and very densely placed historic properties. The modern in-fill in the district totals no more than two buildings per face block.
The Fairbury Commercial Historic District represents a span of architectural periods ranging from the oldest extant, late nineteenth century building displaying false-front construction through turn-of-the-century high styles, to more modem influenced properties. The buildings in the district represent architectural development trends typical of Nebraska commercial centers. Fine representatives of Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne, Late Gothic Revival, Neo-Classical Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and twentieth century commercial vernacular architectural styles and forms are located within the district. With the exception of the fringe blocks, the buildings within the district are densely packed, and consist mostly of two-story brick commercial buildings interspersed with several one-story buildings and one, three-story example. The largest amount of construction in the district during the period of significance (1873 to 1947) took place between 1900 and 1929*.
*Jefferson County Nebraska Historical Buildings Survey, June 1997.
Fairbury.com Announces 2015 Architectural
June 2015 - “Architectural Elements” - the beautiful and unique details that can be found on Fairbury’s oldest buildings are the subject for a contest sponsored by Fairbury.com. For the summer tourism season, there will be special emphasis on Fairbury’s downtown historic district and the various architectural styles employed by builders during downtown Fairbury’s various stages of growth and prosperity. The largest amount of construction in the historic district took place between 1900 and 1929.
To celebrate Fairbury’s beautiful architecture and to raise awareness of the unique elements present in various buildings around the square and in the district, Fairbury.com will be kicking off the 5th Annual Architectural Elements Contest this week. Visitors can pick up a pamphlet at Stagecoach Mall Antiques & Tasting Room, walk around the historic district to find the details listed and match them to the buildings to which they belong. Contest details and an entry form can also be downloaded by visiting Fairbury.com. Completed forms submitted by August 31, 2015 will then be entered into a drawing. The grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing a selection of gift items, a lodging coupon and certificates from businesses located in the historic district valued over $300.00.
Fairbury is located in southeast Nebraska at the junction of Highway 15 and Highway 136, Nebraska’s Heritage Highway (www.NebraskaHeritageHighway.com)
Click Here to for online entry form
Prize Package Includes:
Loft Living In
Historic Downtown Fairbury
August 2010 - Visitors marvel at the beautiful architecture that surrounds Fairbury’s historic downtown square. Stately two and three-story buildings, mostly constructed of brick, line the streets surrounding the Jefferson County Courthouse on all four sides. Most buildings date back to the early 1900s, when Fairbury flourished as a regional commerce center. Fairbury’s downtown historic district is still the center of commerce today and the buildings around the square house retail shops, restaurants, and offices at street level. But there is another world housed within those historic structures, a world that exists after hours - a world that a few lucky residents call "home".
In housing terms, loft living often refers to an open floor plan with lots of space. Once thought of as strictly for artists and bohemian types, loft living is now a sought after lifestyle accessory among certain groups of people. In city centers, artists, actors and young business professionals all love the idea of having a loft as their home. It provides maximum space, and improvements can be made to reflect individual styles and tastes. In Fairbury, most of the lofts are located within the downtown historic district. Before they were turned into stylish living spaces, the lofts were used as commercial space in buildings. Older buildings that have been left empty for years have now been given a new lease on life, thanks to loft living.
Loft living in Fairbury is not unlike that of the larger cities in the Midwest, however, in Fairbury it is still somewhat of an anomaly. Many of the buildings’ second and third stories remain largely underutilized, mainly due to cost. But for those who have taken on the task of converting those spaces into residential living, the payoff is huge. Loft sizes can range from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet and the list of amenities is quite impressive - hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, high ceilings, tall windows, rooftop gardens and views that would rival those of any other metropolitan city. Another bonus of loft living is that the lofts are situated in the downtown historical district. This provides great access to businesses, shopping, restaurants, art galleries and entertainment options. In downtown Fairbury, everything is at your doorstep.
Resident Julie Katz has lived on the second floor above the former Hested's (c. 1925) and Golden Rule buildings (c. 1923) since 1995, when her life-long dream of living in a loft began to take shape. “I had always been fascinated with the concept of loft living, ever since I was a young girl. When I first moved in, however, I was the only resident rattling around in a huge building that was dark, cold and full of strange noises. But the banging of pipes from the old steam heat radiators and the sound of rain on the skylights located throughout, gave me a sense that this building still had a lot of life left and it was worth preserving." Since then, retail has returned to the main floor which houses an antique mall, event center, professional offices and beauty salon and the second-floor space has now been updated and converted into luxury suites, loft apartments and office space. There's even a ballroom where hundreds of children attend dance classes each week.
According to Katz, "Converting the upper floor space into office space and suites is a great way to create a consistent revenue stream and gives me an opportunity to share my passion for historic preservation with others, hopefully inspiring them to begin a love affair of their own (with an old building)”.