Safety, Mama Bear, and Moving Forward at the Cornish Mansion - Old Omaha

Safety, Mama Bear, and Moving Forward at the Cornish Mansion

 The smoke alarms shrieked, residents ran to exit their apartments. As soon as they opened their doors, smoke conquered the space. The emergency lighting cut through the disorientation and led the way to a clear frozen lawn where Mary ensured everyone, who had been home, had made it out to safety.

Mary’s title is Property Manager, but Mama Bear fits her role just right. She lives in the Cornish House and knows every resident well. She knew who was home at that time and could account for every person. This was valuable, perhaps lifesaving, information for the firefighters.

Emergency lighting wasn’t the only important safeguard property-owner Gina Basile made for a worst-case scenario. Smoke alarms were on every level including the basement and in kitchens. Fire extinguishers hung on walls on every landing, the basement and laundry room. Firefighters used the fire extinguishers they found in the home which prevented more fire and water damage than was necessary. She also had insurance robust enough to cover such a major restoration. Gina does recommend that owners of large historic buildings include a special rider to their insurance to cover code upgrades.

The Cornish House is listed on both the National and Local Register of Historic Places. Therefore, Gina may be able to avail herself to tax credits and/or grants to help fund the restoration. An unexpected benefit of the Local designation was that the floor plan created for the Local Landmark status helped the engineer and architect stay true to the original interior plan during the restoration process.

Gina, Mary and their tenants are anxious for the work to be completed so they can return to their stately historic home, reunite with their neighbors and share impromptu gnocchi tomato sauce dinners at Gina’s place.





Restoration is on schedule and moving quickly. Stay tuned for more updates and details about restoring a mansion like this!

By Tim Reeder


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