The Stables Renovation Project

Monday, April 28, marks the beginning of construction to renovate the stables building at Wyuka Cemetery.  The general contractor has 180 days to complete the work; however, they are hoping to complete the project by the end of August.  The grant for this work is an 80/20 match.  The bids were more than expected so an additional $40,000 is needed to meet our 20% match.  Donations to the Wyuka Historical Foundation will insure that this significant structure that connects us to the past as a stable for horses is available for use by future generations.

Donations to assist the Foundation complete this renovation are most welcome.  As always, your financial contribution to the Foundation of Wyuka Cemetery will be tax deductible.

The Foundation has worked diligently to secure the 80/20 funding for stabilization and renovation that will provide eventual space for public meetings and events; plus adding restrooms, heating, air conditioning, and upgrading electrical and plumbing systems for an estimated construction cost of $720,000.  The renovation will retain the historical character of the exterior, while a portion of the interior will be updated for adaptive-use as public meeting space.

The success of this venture allows the Wyuka Historical Foundation to make this unique building available for public use when renovation is complete. The planning and hard work of many has produced the opportunity to share the benefits for public involvement.  In the future the community will be encouraged to use the renovated space for seminars, conferences, family gatherings, meetings or ceremonies.  We are grateful to those who “see possibilities before they become obvious” and to those who create reality with their gifts of time and treasure.

More about the stables:

The stables were constructed in 1908-1909 as part of the cemetery’s largest construction phase, which included the addition of 40 acres to the north and the construction of the bridge near the southwest corner of the stables.  The bridge also serves as a dam, which created the pond.

 In 1982 Wyuka Cemetery was placed in the National Register of Historic Places as one of the few and oldest examples of a “Rural” cemetery in Nebraska.  The stables are among three historic structures cited in the National Register nomination. The other structures are the 1886 receiving vault and Rudge Memorial Chapel built in 1935 –38

The “Rural” Cemetery Movement began in 1831 in eastern cities.  Rural cemeteries provided a park-like setting on the edge of cities.  Based upon English landscape gardening they were a welcome place for a family picnic and walk on Sunday, away from the ever-growing cities.

Wyuka’s National Register nomination refers to the stables as the barn.  On occasion the stables/barn becomes the Swan Theatre when Flatwater Shakespeare is playing there.  Regardless of the name, it is a historic structure that has needed stabilization for many years.