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A Local TV Station’s Preservationist Side

Why KETV in Omaha moved in to the city’s beloved 120-year-old train station.
First built in 1898 to welcome train travellers into Omaha, Burlington Station has taken on a new life as the home to a local TV station.
First built in 1898 to welcome train travellers into Omaha, Burlington Station has taken on a new life as the home to a local TV station. Leo A Daly

For nearly 40 years, Omaha’s historic Burlington Train Station collected dust. After Amtrak moved its passenger terminal into a small, forgettable structure right outside the historic building in 1974, pigeon feathers covered the mosaic floor of the grand hall and graffiti artists used its walls to practice their skills. During the winter, many of Omaha’s homeless population sought refuge in the abandoned building just blocks south of downtown. Meanwhile, on the other side of its tracks, Union Station, which stopped serving passengers in 1971, was swiftly converted into a history museum.

Burlington Station was on the verge of being unsalvageable until suddenly, in 2015, the station was brought back to life. After two years and $22 million of renovations, local ABC-affiliate KETV moved in. The station has been broadcasting the evening news, live, from Burlington Station ever since.