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Special Events

This Old Castle

Old home ownership is not for the faint of heart (trust us, we know!), but we're here to help!

We've teamed up with our friends at History Nebraska and Preserve Omaha to bring you a series designed to demystify maintaining and preserving your old home or building. This Old Castle invites you to learn alongside us from the best experts in town. 

New in 2024, we've expanded our offerings to include hands-on workshops and opportunities to explore the exciting preservation work happening in our region.  Each quarter, we welcome you to join us for an expert lecture, a workshop, and an excursion! 

This Old Castle happens every month in 2024. We'll be dropping upcoming topics quarterly and Joslyn Castle Keyholders and Preserve Omaha members will be the first know. Not a member yet? This is a great time to become a Keyholder!


A few notes for Architects and Real Estate Agents:

We are thrilled to partner with AIA Nebraska to offer HSW CEU credit hours on most installments of the series. 

This Old Castle is accredited with the Nebraska Real Estate Commission to offer continuing education credits for realtors on most installments of the series. 

Architects and real estate agents, check the individual listings on the events calendar for sessions offering continuing education prior to attending. 

This material was produced with assistance from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior under Grant Number P22AF01245. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Upcoming Installments

April 3 at 6pm - Lecture: Electrical

We are thrilled to welcome Al Arett an electrician with Downs Electric, a full service electrical contractor providing all phases of design-build, new, and remodel work. Al has over 30 years of experience in the electrical field primarily as a project manager and working as a foreman, estimator, and superintendent. 

The lecture will cover the various forms of power generation utilized in the US power grid. Al will describe how the electrical power is transmitted and how the power is distributed in the end user facility, and he will provide a cursory explanation of electrical power measurements amps, watts, voltage etc. Homeowners will leave being able to identify common factors that lead to electrical failures and how to avoid them.

This course is eligible for AIA HSW CEU's and Nebraska Real Estate Commission CEU's.

This form stopped accepting submissions on April 1, 2024 6:00 pm CDT.

May 1 at 6pm - Workshop: Windows

Join us in the Castle basement for a hands-on workshop focusing on windows. We're thrilled to welcome back our friends John Brennan and Jon Krainak, board members with Preserve Omaha, to lead us through the basics of repairing and maintaining your original windows. All registrants will receive a set of equipment and the opportunity to work on a salvedged window and sash. Attendees will take their tools home with them.

This workshop has a limited capacity and registration is required.

This form stopped accepting submissions on April 30, 2024 6:00 pm CDT.

Saturday, June 8 at 1:30pm - Excursion: Nebraska State Capitol Building

SOLD OUT

To the capitol we go!

This Old Castle is excited to annouce our next excursion will be to Lincoln! Join Joslyn Castle & Gardens, Preserve Omaha, and History Nebraska for a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the rennovations happening in our historic Nebraska State Capitol Building.

Our tour will be led by architect Dan Worth, FAIA, FAPT, Principal Emeritus and Project Manager from BVH Architecture, who has worked extensively on the capitol building's exterior restoration and the ongoing interior restoration and HVAC replacement. He will be joined by Paul Bauman, PE, Lead Mechanical Engineer from Alvine Engineering.

This is a unique opportunity to see the active progress on the restoration.

Due to capacity limitations, registration is required. We will meet at the ground floor information desk. Guests are responsible for their own transportation.

More about Dan Worth via BVH Architecture:
"Dan attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Architectural Association in London where he graduated with degrees in architecture and urban planning. Dan joined BVH in 1984 in the Omaha studio and moved to the Lincoln studio in 1993, which he managed for more than 15 years, helping it grow, thrive, and double in size and commissions.

Dan’s passion for historic preservation runs deep and has helped define an illustrious career. He has been a catalyst for the preservation of historically meaningful buildings throughout the Plains States, the importance and value of whose architectural heritage was previously unappreciated. Dan’s dedication to disseminating technical expertise and establishing best practices has significantly elevated the standards of historic preservation nationally and internationally.

Dan has led the planning, programming, and design of 26 National Historic Landmarks, including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum for the Smithsonian Institution. He also designed and oversaw the 15-year-long exterior restoration program for the Nebraska State Capitol. His current work includes the iconic Gateway Arch, recipient of a Getty Foundation grant for restoration."


Past Installments

March 9 at 1pm - Excursion: Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Center in Walthill, NE

//SOLD OUT//In March, we're excited to get hit the road for our first ever This Old Castle excursion! Join us as we get an exclusive hardhat tour of the in-progress interior restoration of the Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Center. Our tour will be led by Picotte Center board member and BVH architect Gary Bowen. 

The center is currently in Phase III of a total restoration. From their website: "Phase III work will include restoration of the building interior to accommodate a medical clinic, mental health and substance abuse clinic, youth programing, historical museum, as well as cultural and educational spaces. This phase will also include development of the site for parking, outdoor activities such as an amphitheater, community gardens, and Native American features."

The Center is not currently open to the public and this is an active construction zone, so plan to dress accordingly. This is a unique opportunity to see the progress on the restoration. 

Due to capacity limitations, registration is required. The tour will begin at the center in Walthill, NE at 1pm with a second tour time at 2:30pm. Guests are responsible for their own transportation. 

If you'd like to join us for a pre-tour lunch, we'll be meeting at "Master's Hand" Cafe at 3599 County Rd. F Tekamah, NE 68061 at 11:30am. This is a wonderful little bakery and coffee shop that offers a limited lunch menu.


February 7 at 6pm - Workshop: Tile

Join us February 7th for a hands-on workshop focusing on the art of laying tile. We're thrilled to welcome back our friends John Brennan and Jon Krainak of Preserve Omaha to lead us through the basics of tiling. All registrants will receive a set of equipment that we will use to lay our own tile demo. Attendees will take their tools and sample tile sets home with them.

This workshop has a limited capacity and registration is required.

About our speakers:

Jonathan Krainak
Jon is an Omaha native and a graduate of Central High School and UNO. He served in the US Army Reserve from 1988-1996. Today, he works as a technology professional including as a systems analyst and director. He is an assistant property manager of a 4-unit multi-family home. He currently serves on the board of directors for Preserve Omaha, a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to educate, advocate, and take action to save cultural and historic places.

John Brennan
John is an Omaha native and a graduate of Tech High (the last graduating class!). He earned his BS in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University and served in the US Navy from 1989-1993. He is the owner and property manager of a 4-unit multi-family home and has worked in the construction industry for decades. His work includes general contractor, architect's representative, owner's representative, and a facility manager. He currently serves on the board of directors for Preserve Omaha, a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to educate, advocate, and take action to save cultural and historic places.


January 3 at 6pm - Lecture: Plumbing

For our first installment in 2024, we are thrilled to welcome Mike Tritz, owner of Tritz Plumbing, a family-owned business since 1945. Mike will lead us through the fundamentals of maintenance and restoration of plumbing in old homes.

About Tritz Plumbing: Tritz Plumbing Inc has been performing a gamut of remodeling, repair and new construction plumbing services for residential, commercial and industrial projects. Francis Tritz, a skilled plumber and steam-fitter, established Francis E. Tritz Plumbing and Heating in 1945.
Initially, Francis established a small plumbing shop near downtown Omaha at 40th and Hamilton.

In 1975, Francis' two sons, Chuck and Bob, working as plumbers under their father, took the reigns of the business. Over the next 20 years, the business continued to serve the Greater Omaha community, providing both residential and commercial services. They specialize in remodeling and small to medium size construction projects.

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