Byrl J. (Jack) Ballard (1878-1952), Scenery & Fresco Painter

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Diller, ca. 1883-1897, Crete, Lincoln, Omaha, Fairbury, and Beatrice, Nebraska

Born August 17, 1878, in Knoxville, Iowa, Jack Ballard moved to Diller, Nebraska in 1883 or 1884. He moved to Crete in 1897, and there, two years later, married Emma Kolarik. He plied his trade about through several towns of eastern and western Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, and California before returning to Crete the last fifteen years of his life. He was primarily an artist whose various works included circus posters, stage scenery, and church frescoes. Ballard spend the last ten years of his career working as a designer of neon signs in Lincoln. He died at Chicago on July 22, 1952. He was survived by a son, Don Ballard; a daughter, Mrs. Lorraine Gustafson; two grandchildren and one great grandchild.[1]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Wilber Opera House Curtain, n.d. (P. Michael Whye)

Principal Works

Proscenium curtain (1929), Clarkson Opera House, Clarkson, Nebraska.[2:176-77]

Advertising curtain (1932), Wilber Opera House, Wilber, Nebraska.[2:177]

Proscenium curtain (1932), Crete Sokol Hall, Crete, Nebraska.[2:177]



1. “Obituary of Byrl J. Ballard,” The Crete News (August 7, 1952).

2. David Murphy, “Dramatic Expressions: Czech Theatre Curtains in Nebraska,” Nebraska History 74:3&4 (Fall-Winter 1993), 168-182, accessed through, July 23, 2013,

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Byrl J. (Jack) Ballard (1878-1952), Scenery & Fresco Painter,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, July 23, 2013. Accessed, August 11, 2022.

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