The Fairacres Historic District is located in Fairacres, a former western suburb of Omaha annexed by the city in 1941. In 1907, real estate investors Charles C. and J. Edward George contracted nationally-prominent landscape architect George E. Kessler, based in Kansas City and St. Louis, to help develop the area as an early automobile suburb on the western reaches of the city. In basing his plan on City Beautiful ideals, which emphasized social improvement of cities through beautification, Kessler designed a garden suburb, emphasizing the aesthetic qualities and functionality of the local topography. The contributing houses, constructed between 1907 and 1961, represent large and elaborate examples of various styles of the Eclectic movement that dominated early-20th-century residential architecture in America. Early residents of the district were wealthy Omaha business figures capable of affording the automobile necessary to complete the four-mile commute to downtown offices. In its retention of architectural and landscape character, the district is an excellent example of an early-20th-century planned residential community.
The Fairacres Historic District is significant at the local level under Criterion A in the areas of community planning and development and landscape architecture and Criterion C in the areas of community planning and development and architecture. The period of significance, 1907 to 1961, begins with the initial planning and construction in the Fairacres Road district and ends with the most recent subdivision of lots. Between 1907 and 1915, in the midst of an era marked by geographic expansion of the Omaha metropolitan area, a real estate investment group led by Charles C. and J. Edward George purchased farm land on the city’s western periphery with the intention of developing a residential suburb. To plan the community, the George brothers hired landscape architect George E. Kessler, a nationally prominent proponent of City Beautiful ideals. Kessler designed the village of Fairacres, with Fairacres Road at its core, as a garden suburb. Without direct access to streetcar routes, early residents relied on automobiles for their commutes to downtown business offices. The design and materials of Fairacres Road demonstrate an early emphasis on ease and enjoyment of automobile use. The landscape architecture of the roads and the adjacent lots demonstrates how Kessler and other landscape professionals incorporated the area’s natural topography into the design of the district. Over the course of the period of significance, wealthy Omahans hired the city’s leading architects, including Frederick A. Henninger, George B. Prinz, Birger J. Kvenild, John and Alan McDonald, Leo A. Daly, Bert B. Hene, and John F. Hyde, Jr., to design houses in various Eclectic styles, most frequently based on Colonial and Tudor influences. Despite some demolition projects and garage additions, the Fairacres Historic District retains sufficient integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association for eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places: 07/24/2017