Charles C. Rittenhouse (ca.1852-1937), Architect

From E Nebraska History
Jump to: navigation, search
Hastings, Nebraska, 1879-1895

DBA: C. C. Rittenhouse

Charles C. Rittenhouse was born in Ohio, circa 1852. He worked as an architect in Nebraska and Colorado, notably functioning as half of Rittenhouse & Brage, an architectural firm in Grand Island. He is noted as Adam County's first practicing architect, designing many buildings and projects between 1877 and 1895. One of these was the Adams County Courthouse. He also designed over 40 public buildings and homes across the state of Nebraska. He was also the Hastings city councilman and mayor for over 10 years. [8] Rittenhouse was married to Elvira, and he had at least four children with her.[4][5] Rittenhouse died in Glendale, California in 1937. [8]

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.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Hastings, Nebraska, 1879-1880, 1882-1891, 1893, 1894-1895

Educational & Professional Associations

1877-1895: architect, Hastings, Nebraska.[4][8]

ca.1880-ca.1890: city councilman and mayor, Hastings, Nebraska.[8]

1888-1891: architect and partner, Rittenhouse & Brage, Architects, Grand Island, Nebraska.

1900: architect, Canon City, Colorado.[5]

Buildings & Projects

Farrell Block (1880, ca. 1890), 533-537 W 2nd, Hastings, Nebraska.[3][6][8] (AD04-012) National Register narrative

Two-story school house (1884), Wahoo, Nebraska.[12]

McCormick Hall at Hastings College (1884), Hastings, Nebraska.[6][8][13]

College for North Nebraska Conference, Methodist Episcopal church (1885), Central City, Nebraska.[9][b]

Enterprise Building (1887), 1st & Burlington, Hastings, Nebraska.[1]

Keith County Courthouse (1888), Ogallala, Nebraska.[2]

Adams County Courthouse (1889) (Demolished 1964) 3rd to 4th between Hastings and Denver Avenues, Hastings, Nebraska.[7][8]

Proposal for the Nebraska State Building (1892), Columbian Exposition, Chicago.[11]


Nebraska Loan and Trust, Downtown, Hastings, Nebraska.[6][8]


a. Not found in federal census in Nebraska in 1870 or in U.S. in 1910.

b. Architect John J. Kouhn visited Central City in 1885 "looking after the new college building to be put up there."[10] No evidence has been found that Kouhn had subsequent involvement in the design or construction of the college, beyond that exploratory trip from York, where he was then residing.


1. Hastings Gazette-Journal (March 23, 1887), 8:3.

2. Oliver B. Pollak, Nebraska Courthouses: Contention, Compromise, and Community [Images of America Series] (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 46. [725.1.P771n]

3. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

4. 1880 United States Census, s.v. “C. C. Rittenhouse,” Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska, accessed through

5. 1900 United States Census, s.v. “Chas C. Rittenhouse,” Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado, accessed through

6. Catherine Renschler and Elizabeth Spilinek, “Central Hastings Historic District,” Historical News (Adams County Historical Society) 36:5 (2003), 9.

7. Hastings: A Walking Tour Guide of the Historic Downtown Area (Hastings: Cornhusker Press, for the Adams County Historical Society, [1980]).

8. "Rittenhouse & Way: Architects of Hastings' First Half Century," (Adams County Historical Society), accessed on April 25, 2017 via

9. "Notice to Contractors," The Nonpareil (Central City, Nebraska) (April 16, 1885), 3.

10. "Mr. J. J. Kouhn, the architect...," York (Nebraska) Republican (February 4, 1885), 3 (column 6).

11. "The Nebraska State Building. Plans for a $15,000 Structure to Be Erected on the World's Fair Grounds," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (January 20, 1892), 7.

12. "The plans and specifications for our school house...can now be seen at the First National Bank," (Wahoo, Nebraska) Independent (April 3, 1884), 3.

13. "The plan of the new college Architect Rittenhouse...," Hastings (Nebraska) Weekly Gazette-Journal (April 24, 1884), 4.

Page Citation

D. Murphy & E. F. Zimmer, “Charles C. Rittenhouse (ca.1852-1937), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, October 31, 2023. Accessed, December 3, 2023.

Contact the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office with questions or comments concerning this page, including any problems you may have with broken links (see, however, the Disclaimers link at the bottom of this page). Please provide the URL to this page with your inquiry.