Chocolate and flowers are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. In Omaha and other cities across the country, the holiday is also a time to express your love for neglected historic properties.
Each February, Restoration Exchange Omaha leads a pack of renegade preservationists on a “heart bombing” mission. Their target – once proud structures that continue to degrade while the world moves on around them. The intent of the event is to draw awareness to buildings that have fallen off the radar screen of average Omahans and prevent needless demolitions. The activity was created by a preservation group in Buffalo, New York, and has been adopted by communities across the United States.
Here’s how it works:
- REO hosts a series of drawing sessions to create hearts with preservation messages on them.
- As Valentine’s Day approaches, REO staff, volunteers and friends safely adhere these messages to a group of pre-selected buildings somewhere in the city.
- The public is cordially invited to participate in both activities.
- After each heart bombing, REO staff reaches out to the building owners and offers advice on how to save their structures.
The first Omaha heart-bombing event was held in 2015 and targeted six sites, including a building at 14th and Williams that once served as a saloon and later as a tailor shop. In 2016, REO targeted three local buildings, including the Logan Hotel at 18th and Dodge.
Got an idea for a future building to heart bomb? Want to join the REO heart-bombing team and participate in future events? Contact REO at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “heart-bombing team” in the subject line. Please include your name and phone number.