Famous Ranch   May 28th, 2015

In 1917 the Woods Bros were already in the farm business. They had a 5,600-acre farm near Tekamah, for example. But in that year the Woods Bros delivered a keen feat of diversification when they purchased the Watson Ranch near Kearney, Nebraska.

Better known as the 1733 Ranch (view a photo at Stuhr Museum site), (it was thought to be situated 1733 miles equidistant to San Francisco and Boston,) Woods Bros paid about half a million dollars for the ranch. The 4,200-acre showplace was a spot of local pride and one of the great “country places” in the whole state.

According to a Lincoln State Journal article from June 1917, “Everything connected with the ranch is pitched on a huge scale.” When Woods Bros took over ownership of the ranch it featured:

  • More than one thousand acres under irrigation.
  • Hundreds of head of cattle and pigs.
  • 100 head of horses and mules to work the land and livestock.
  • 42 men who live on the property employed as ranch hands.
  • Between 7,000 and 8,000 pedigreed poultry with 48 incubators.
  • Hundreds of fowls of other kinds, both tame and wild.
  • A kennel of Airedale dogs.
  • 3,000 cherry and apple trees, and a 15-acre cedar grove (for decoration, windbreak, and lumber.)

The property’s manor house had 40 rooms and there were 15 tenant houses located about the ranch. Dairy herds were fed from what was said to be the world’s largest silo, and the farm animals were housed in a four-story barn that spanned 320 x 80 feet (over 102,000 sq. ft.). Scattered on the ranch were three lakes stocked with bass.

As one might expect, the ranch was much coveted and very well respected because of its grand scope, its “precision as a large business enterprise,” and its “tremendous attractiveness.” It was considered possible that the Union Pacific might even want to take over the place because it was perfect as “advertisement [of] Nebraska territory by the use of money and intelligence in operating on a large scale.”

In true Woods Bros fashion, their famous ranch, as with their other endeavors, was bold, monumental, and full of grand vision.


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Pioneers Park   May 21st, 2015

Buffalo statuary in Pioneers Park

Buffalo statuary in Pioneers Park

It must have been a fabulous home that Mark Woods and his son, Pace Woods, Sr., were visiting in the late-1920s: the New York City home of John F. Harris. Harris had been a childhood friend of Mark Woods and his brothers, and he had become a successful investment banker. He was a Lincoln native who wanted to do something back home to honor the memory of his parents.

According to Pace Woods, Jr., his grandfather, “…suggested that [Harris] donate a park to the citizens [of Lincoln].” That he would do. Pioneers Park came to life on roughly 600 acres of rolling prairie north of Van Dorn in west Lincoln that Harris donated over the course of three years (1928 – 1930). The Harris family also donated several animal sculptures for the park, including the bronze buffalo that greets visitors at the center of the east entry’s roundabout.

Another Lincoln native designed the wonderful park. Ernst Herminghaus was a landscape designer for Woods Bros developments and was trained at Harvard University as a landscape architect. The easternmost 80 acres of the park, closest to Coddington, were the first to be designed, and the plans included incorporating vistas of the Nebraska State Capitol Building that was then under construction.

Pace Woods, Jr., wrote that his family’s nursery, located south of Sheridan Boulevard and east of South 33rd Street, donated evergreen trees and lilac bushes to line the Coddington Street approach to Pioneers Park.

Pioneers Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As historian Ed Zimmer noted in the site’s Registration Form, Lincoln was undergoing a period of phenomenal growth in the 1920s. During the Depression, the park provided much needed public recreation space. It likewise created employment for people and galvanized development opportunities for the city’s parks and recreation spaces.

True to their form, the Woods brothers and other families of means used a combination of creative and practical resources to make this civic opportunity meaningful and long lasting. In the spring/early summer of 2015, Woods Bros Realty will launch half of a 125-tree donation to the Pioneers Park area to commemorate this longtime relationship and its 125 years in the community.


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Kim Wiedenbeck

Kim Wiedenbeck

Kim Wiedenbeck joins the Lincolnshire office.  She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to Nebraska in 2014. Her hobbies include horseback riding, baking and spending time with her daughter. Kim can be reached at 630-251-1181 or kim.wiedenbeck@woodsbros.com.


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Flight – Part 3: The Crash   May 14th, 2015

In the summer of 1929, the aviation industry was literally flying high. In October the stock market crashed, and suddenly the already short list of people who could afford an airplane became very short indeed. The aviation market evaporated. It would take patience, imagination, and boldness to face the tests of the nation’s devastating financial collapse.

Pace Woods was determined to keep key employees from his aircraft manufacturing business on the payroll. He started a welding school for them and continued to manufacture one Arrow Sport bi-wing per month. They conceived of and began to develop an innovative new airplane that could be run from an automobile engine and would be a single-wing craft.

During the lean years between the crash and the Second World War, there were struggles. The new single-wing plane was deemed an industry “breakthrough” and according to Pace Woods, the factory, “…delivered 100 and they were a great success; however, in 1938 … we couldn’t get refinanced.” The plant was closed.

Later, the Woods’ Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corp. facility became a home for Goodyear in Havelock. When he reflected on the times, Woods expressed both great joy at being a part of an exciting, burgeoning industry and some wistfulness for what might have been if the bottom hadn’t fallen out of the world.

He did what he could to protect his business and his employees, and if the scales of fate had tipped a bit differently, Lincoln may have become a major private and commercial aircraft-manufacturing hub. As with so many endeavors, the Woods family would have been right in the thick of it.

The second version of the Arrow Sport, with Pace Woods, Sr., Gen. John Pershing, and test pilot Jimmy Hearst.

The second version of the Arrow Sport, with Pace Woods, Sr., Gen. John Pershing, and test pilot Jimmy Hearst.


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Black-Belt-Logo-BW-horz

Preparing for your move during Peak Season

When should I first contact moving companies for estimates?

It is recommended to start getting estimates at least 6-8 weeks prior to your potential move day during peak season. Try to decide on your mover of choice 4-5 weeks prior to your move. Give your moving company as much notice as possible; especially if you are moving during the busy season (May 15th to Sept.15th). Call your mover to schedule your pick up date(s) and packing date if needed. If this is a corporate relocation, allow yourself more time to gather estimates to submit to your employer for approval.

How do I select a reputable moving company?

Ask your friends, family members and co-workers if they have any recommendations. Be sure to do your due diligence; check out the companies on the Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org and the Nebraska Public Service Commissionwww.psc.nebraska.gov to make sure that they are licensed, bonded, and insured.

When is the best time to move?

The busiest time for moving companies is in the summer (Peak Season) from May 15th to Sept. 15th. The end of the month and weekends will have a higher volume of moves.

What is an Estimate/Quote?

In the state of Nebraska all licensed moving companies are required to bill from the time they leave their shops until they return on a local move.  Some moving companies may have additional charges and minimum time requirements.

What is a Bill of Lading?

The bill of lading is the receipt for your goods and the contract for the transportation of your goods. Every mover is required to provide a bill of lading per regulations by the NPSC.  It is your responsibility to read and understand the bill of lading before you sign it. The bill of lading identifies the mover, specifies the terms and conditions, total charges and the valuation coverage of your shipment and the amount the mover will be liable for in the event of loss or damage to your shipment. The bill of lading is an important document.

For more information or to schedule a move, contact

Black Belt Movers

1900 Center park Rd. Lincoln, NE 68512

402-709-0970   www,blackbeltmovers.com


Home Owners Plus Posted by Home Owners Plus
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In 1926 the Woods family entered the aviation business. By 1929, the Woods’ Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corp. was a world’s leading aircraft producer. Pace Woods must have been about 30 when he was doing the initial marketing of his family’s airplanes, and Chicago would have been ripe with clients for plucking.

Built in Lincoln and selling to the whole country, Woods decided that a bear would accompany him on his maiden flight to the Windy City. Maybe because the bear is a symbol of the city of Chicago, or perhaps it was simply because the sight of a small bear can be delightful. At any rate the pilot, the young Woods, and the young bear would fly and descend together, alighting in the landing field among hundreds of Chicagoans gathered to see the machine and the animal.

The bear tactic combined the kind of fun and audacity that the family would mix together to put their positive touch on all endeavors. But this was surely at least a somewhat complicated plan – arranging for a crowd in Chicago to meet the arrival of your company’s new product (A Glistening Arrow Sport Airplane!), printing fliers, obtaining a bear, etc.

Not everything can be considered, and in the wide world of unintended consequences, calculating for the effects of altitude pressure on the ears of a young bear did not get on the marketing plan. As the anecdote goes, they got the bear loaded in the plane and everything was fine for takeoff and during the flight. When they began to descend, the bear became restless and then agitated, breaking its restraints. When the airplane landed and came to a stop, the bear was able to let itself out of its seat and climb down off the wing. It promptly relieved itself in front of the crowd.

Some bears are more delightful than others, and some marketing plans are better than others.

Next: Flight – Part three: The Crash

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Flight – Part one: The Take Off   April 30th, 2015

The Woods family set trends and realized success in a number of areas. This was often due to an ability to look ahead to the future. In 1925 Pace Woods Sr. and his father, Mark, first saw the Arrow airplane. They were instantly beguiled. The aviation industry was still young, and thoughts of flight set imaginations into motion.

According to Pace Woods, his father, “…envisioned airplanes as the wave of the future.” In 1926 the family acquired an airplane manufacturing facility in Havelock and became part of that future.

Another foresighted aviation enthusiast, Charles Lindbergh, learned to fly, wing-walk, and parachute from airplanes in Lincoln, Nebraska. The former airfield where he trained sat next to one of jewels of the Woods’ development–the current Country Club of Lincoln. The airfield is memorialized at 20th and High Streets with a bronze plaque set in stone that sits next to the stately east gates of another of the Woods Bros development gems, the Woodsshire neighborhood. In 1927 “Lindy” made a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris, and became the most celebrated person the world had ever known.

By 1929, the Woods’ Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corp. was the world’s leading producer of the Arrow Sport bi-wing. The 1920s really roared and the wildly successful facility employed between 500 and 700 people. Crews built four aircraft per day and at its peak, the company had orders for a total of over 250 airplanes, which cost $2,500 apiece.

The Arrow Sport can now be found in the Lincoln Airport.

The Arrow Sport can now be found in the Lincoln Airport.

Pace Woods was prodigious and had an unquenchable, entrepreneurial spirit. He got his real estate license at age 17, about a dozen years before embarking upon the Woods family’s future in aviation. Engaging in such diverse interests and opportunities made for a life rich in fact and in anecdote. More broadly applied, such varied pursuits not only keep life interesting, they keep others interested as well.

Next Week: Flight – Part two: The Bear in the Windy City. Woods clients in Chicago were in for a treat.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

“Why Lincoln is a Most Desirable Place to Make a Home.”

– Omaha Daily Bee 3 Sept. 1914.

“On Sheridan Boulevard in the south part of the city can be seen many beautiful and substantial residences. Among these are the homes of some … who have chosen the sightly [sic] place where they can look out over the city and enjoy the cool breezes during the summer …

“The home of Mark Woods is a beautiful place … and while his house is built on a high eminence, he provided for further observations by erecting on the top of the mansion a beautiful parlor where the surrounding country can be taken in [from] all directions and on warm nights a comfortable place to sleep is provided.”

Mark Woods' house on Sheridan Blvd, Courtesy Lincoln Planning Dept.

Mark Woods' house on Sheridan Blvd, Courtesy Lincoln Planning Dept.

This article from one hundred years ago remarks on a burgeoning Sheridan Boulevard stretching from about 25th and South Streets nearly two miles southeast to Calvert and 44th Streets. Laying it out was among the first steps in the Woods Brothers’ ambitious 20-year plan for Lincoln.

When they began development, there were major challenges. Chief among them was that many were reluctant to move past South Street, both because there was a railway there forming a perceived border, and because it forms a hilltop stretching from the west to about 25th Street. There, the hilltop widens and veers to the southeast. Mark Woods wrote that they conceived the plan for Sheridan Boulevard to help move Lincoln’s development south and east, to, “…draw the city over the hill and into our districts.”

As noted in the article, Sheridan Boulevard was, and still is one hundred years later, host to, “… some of the finest residences within a ten-minute ride of the state capitol.”

Lincoln remains a very desirable place to live. In the last year, Lincoln was named among the top places for well-being, business and careers, entrepreneurs, affordable healthcare, and was ranked among the Top 100 Best Places to Live.  See more top lists here.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Woods Bros Realty would like to recognize these professionals on earning Lifetime Achievement status with the company: Rosemary Horner, Judy Holechek, Jane Hermsmeyer, Sandra Harder, Dennis Flesner, Mike Gutschneritter, Dick Young and Paul Devries.

Lifetime Achievement recognition is largely based on the number of years of service and career contributions to Woods Bros Realty.

“It’s an honor to have worked with and learned from these career professionals through the years,” said CEO Gene Brake. “They are an asset to the Woods Bros Realty family, and we are grateful for their loyalty.”

Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, offers 126 years of real estate expertise. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Great Breeding   April 9th, 2015

Percheron Horses

Percheron Horses

The Woods family was involved in the breeding and sale of European draft horses, including French draft horses called Percherons. Their importing company predated the beginning of the development firm of Woods Brothers. The purebred horse business they started with partners in 1880 may be the first use of the Woods Bros name that would become famous when they established Watson, Woods Bros., & Kelly. The office was located downtown at the Lincoln Hotel and the barns and exercise areas were located between 33rd and 38th Streets and between Holdrege and Apple Streets.

Early buying trips were conducted by Mr. Watson who was highly credentialed and came to be considered one of the greatest judges of horses in the world. The first importation totaled one dozen Percherons and took five grueling weeks to travel west – first across the Atlantic to Montreal, and then by train to Lincoln. As the business matured, Mr. Watson undertook four annual purchasing expeditions. He filled the bottoms of his suitcases with cash, covered the money with a change of clothing, and sailed for Europe to buy.

The process was streamlined and business grew. Ships would sail back to New York with as many as eighty of the massive horses, each weighing between three quarters and one ton. Express trains would convey the animals to Nebraska. The entire travel time from Europe to Lincoln for the horses, hostlers, and other staff was just eleven days.

The operation became incredibly sophisticated and featured sumptuous advertising materials, specially modified railway spurs and switches, and facilities for showing horses in inclement weather and even at night. Watson, Woods Bros., and Kelly Company became the largest draft horse operation in the Midwest and second largest in the United States. Visiting the establishment on a typical day was said to be like attending a fancy large horse show.

After several years, the Kellys took over purchasing and made frequent trips to the British Isles and Europe to buy purebred draft horses. In 1912 they met up in France with 17-year-old Pace Woods Sr., who was spending a year overseas. The First World War loomed. Woods was at risk of conscription in the French Army, and although he wanted to stay, it was clear to family and business partners that he needed to return to the United States.

The Kellys had booked passage on a magnificent luxury liner leaving from England, but young Woods was eager to introduce the Kellys to a special customer in France. Pace Woods promised to cut his time in France short and to return with the Kellys if they would cancel their plans, rebook passage on a different ship, and extend their visit just long enough to meet this important customer. This they did, and RMS Titanic departed Southampton without the Kellys and young Woods as passengers.

Selecting the right horses can be profitable. Selecting the right ship can save your life.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Jan Tucknott

Jan Tucknott

Jan Tucknott recently stepped down from her longtime position as Woods Bros Realty relocation director.

Tucknott jokes that she “is not tired” and is planning to spend more time with family.

“I have been honored to work with so many great people here at Woods Bros over the past several years,” Tucknott said. “I always loved the opportunities that each day presented me here.”

Nickie Casburn

Nickie Casburn

Taking the reins as the new relocation director is Nickie Casburn. Casburn has worked for Woods Bros Realty for more than 20 years, most recently as an executive assistant to the general manager. In her new role, she will work with companies relocating people to and from Lincoln, Beatrice, Seward, York, Grand Island and surrounding communities. She will also serve Woods Bros Realty agents with their client relocation needs.

Casburn, a Lincoln native, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in early childhood and elementary education. She and her husband, Paul, have three sons: two at UNL and one in high school.

Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, offers 126 years of real estate expertise. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

When he was eighty years old Mark Woods sat in his office situated on the thirteenth story of the old Sharp Building. In 1950 his office provided a vista of south Lincoln and literally miles of neighborhoods that Woods had helped to create. That day he wore his characteristic pince nez style glasses and he was quick with a smile while recalling a story from his boyhood in 1885.

Col. F.M. Woods

Col. F.M. Woods

In Woods’ recollection, his father, Colonel F.M. Woods, was facing a fidgety crowd at a land auction. There was not much bidding on the land for sale around 27th and R Streets, and the Colonel tried to, “ . . . bark the sale from $39 to $40 an acre.” Mark Woods remembered his father trying to perk up the bidders by making what the boy imagined to be some wild claims. “This land . . . will be worth hundreds of dollars an acre… Lincoln’s [population] will some day be 50,000.”

The crowd, Mark Woods said, “Gaped and twittered . . . the population in 1885 was only slightly over 10,000.” In disbelief on the way home, he asked his father if he truly thought Lincoln would grow to 50,000, and he heard the earnest reply, “Yes, Mark. I do.”

By the time Mark Woods was sharing these memories, he and his brothers had already helped to propel the city’s population to over 100,000.

“The entire business structure of a city is dependent upon … successful residential development. If people are properly, healthily, and happily housed you will have an inviting and prosperous city.”

It had been a lifetime of hard work and commitment. “The heartaches and fights were many – exciting days and great anticipations. Disappointments, too. But hope for the future is always present in any real estate development.”

These many years later, the excitement of new development and Woods’ sentiment of hope are just as alive and true today.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Yes to the House: A Love Story   March 31st, 2015

Less than a year ago, Jordan and Aspen were individually preparing for their uncertain futures. Jordan had been looking for a house to buy, and Aspen had been looking for teaching jobs in different states when Jordan first met her. Messages and texts led to a dinner date in Omaha.

“From then we just knew something was different, and everything clicked,” Jordan said.

Within months, Jordan brought Aspen in on his home hunt to get her input. She was hesitant at first.

The new couple quickly learned about the fast-moving local real estate market when Jordan almost put an offer on a house in their desired neighborhood only to find that he’d have to jump a little faster.

Then they found a house on the same street online. Jordan called his HOME Real Estate agent, Adam Wiekamp, for a showing the next day by himself.

“Afterwards I was sent lots of pictures, hoping for my approval,” Aspen said. “He was very excited about it, and before we both knew it Jordan put in an offer, and it was accepted.”

Jordan proposes to Aspen in their future backyard.

Jordan proposes to Aspen in their future backyard.

But Jordan had more plans in mind for the home. With the help of his agent, Adam, they contacted the home’s listing agent, Tammy Peter of Woods Bros Realty, to ask the sellers if Jordan could use the backyard to propose to Aspen before the closing.

Another piece fell into place; the home sellers were happy to help because they had also been engaged in the home.

Jordan enlisted his friends to string lights in the backyard and prepare a fire-pit. He made up a story about having to check out some rocks in the yard. What she didn’t realize is that his friends were hiding with three cameras and a video camera.

“I explained to her how much I loved her and got down on my knee and asked her to marry me,” Jordan said. “She was very shocked and surprised and loved that I picked our future home together as a location for our engagement. A place that we will hold special in our hearts will now be a place we come home to each night. “

Aspen said yes to Jordan that night and yes to their future house. Their parents eagerly awaited the news.

“It was great that the homeowners allowed us to have the keys that night to be able to do this,” Jordan said.

Newly engaged couple Jordan and Aspen

Newly engaged couple Jordan and Aspen


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Lilac Time in the Lilac City   March 26th, 2015

lilacs_sm

Starting officially in 1946, Lincoln was known as the Lilac City. During the 1940s and 1950s, by proclamation of the Mayor, the city would enjoy two weeks each year of displaying and celebrating lilacs. The Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the initiative and their slogan was, “A Lilac in Every Yard.” Concerted plantings were encouraged at residences and were undertaken around all public schools and other public buildings, and in parks.

It appears that both Pace Woods, Sr. and his son, Pace, Jr., may have been unwitting trendsetters with regard to Lincoln and lilacs, and both had a strong affection for the flowering plants. When asked to share recollections of the two men as colleagues and as friends, associates independently brought up the flowers.

Vera Salmon, a veteran Woods Bros employee, worked closely with the men. “They both came to the office every day. They carried themselves differently, with the demeanor of old-world, courtly gentlemen. Very sharp and well dressed.” She continued, “Pace Sr. would bring in gorgeous antique vases of flowers to the Country Club office. I remember lilacs especially in spring.” There was a smile in her voice as she summoned this final memory, “Pace was aware of how beautiful his flower arrangements were. He would smile and say, ‘You may keep the flowers, but I would like to have the vase back.’”

Gib and Mary Eley were co-workers and close friends with the Woods father and son. In remembering their times at the office they recalled that, “Pace Sr. would bring in beautiful Cloisonné vases of lilacs and all kinds of flowers.”

Before its days as the Lilac City, the Woods family actively cultivated a love of the flower in Lincoln. The family grew lilacs at a nursery south of Sheridan Boulevard. Woods Bros developments of the early- and mid-twentieth century increasingly incorporated landscaping elements into their overall designs, and lilacs were regularly included.

Noted Lincoln landscape architect, Ernst Herminghaus, a designer for Woods Bros in the 1920s-1940s, often used lilacs as major landscape design elements. They were featured prominently in his plans for Pioneers Park and were included in a number of the sterling developments near the Country Club of Lincoln, including Woodsshire.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Pam Rademacher

Pam Rademacher

Pam Rademacher joins the Lincolnshire office. She grew up in a military family, she has had the privilege of living many places, even Iceland! Her hobbies include running, reading and being a mom. Pam can be reached at 402-309-4652 or pam.rademacher@woodsbros.com.


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