Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Wilber Shows That Restoring Main Street History Can Be Done With Determination
The Omaha World-Herald is giving coverage to Steve Ourecky's efforts to renovate and rejuvenate the Fox Hole Tavern -- a fixture on Wilber's main street since the end of World War II.
According the the Omaha paper and reporter Paul Hammel, the Fox Hole won’t be up and running by this weekend’s annual Czech Festival, but Ourecky hopes to have the old watering hole back by Dec. 31 as a popular gathering spot in the Czech capital.
"Five generations of my family have had a beer there," Ourecky said. "It’s just a piece of the community I didn’t want to see die."
Ourecky’s late grandmother Irma was known as “Mrs. Wilber” for her longtime involvement in the annual Czech festival and the Nebraska Czechs of Wilber, a 54-year-old group that works to preserve Czech heritage through a museum, a cultural center and the annual festival.
Ourecky said that at one time, the tavern had the longest-running contract with Schlitz beer in the state.
The World-Herald story says "Ourecky bought the bar on Jan. 1, and has so far stripped the structure, built before 1888, back to its bricks. He wants to restore it to its glory days in the ’50s. He found an old fox painting that used to hang in the bar, hired a taxidermist to restore old elk and fox mounts that used to hang in the bar, and is re-creating the old wooden booths.
"Ourecky said he’d like to locate one of the old card tables, which, he’s told, had a slate top for scorekeeping and a handy shelf below to park frothy glasses of pivo. A local collector also gave him a batch of Fox Hole Tavern tokens, redeemable for 5 cents apiece, that were used in card games."
“'I’m getting a lot of support from the community,' he said. 'I’m very happy about that.'
"The name of the bar came not from a local critter but from the original owner, who had just returned from World War II, according to Ourecky.
"When asking for a loan from a local banker, he was told to create 'a foxhole that fellow soldiers would want to come back to.'”
This example shows what can be done in Wilber -- and in Dorchester.
See the Fox Hole article here.