Elbert Benjamin Watson (1879-1963), Architect

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Norfolk, Nebraska, 1922-1962
Elbert Watson, ca. 1938.

Elbert Benjamin Watson was born on November 7, 1879 in Iowa City, Iowa. He attended Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa. Watson went on to be a draftsman for several architects in Iowa, then he moved his architecture practice to Nebraska. On June 17, 1911, he married Blanche. They later had two children together, Jack and Jean. Watson was a member of the Elks and Trinity Episcopal Church. He died February 19, 1963.[7][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

Norfolk, Nebraska, 1922-1923, 1938-1962

Educational & Professional Associations

1896-1899: Iowa City Academy.[7]

1899-1904: architecture student, office of O. H. Carpenter, Architect, Iowa City, Iowa.[7]

1904-1906: draftsman, O. H. Carpenter, Architect, Iowa City, Iowa.[7]

1906-1910: draftsman, F. E. Colby, Architect, Sioux City, Iowa.[7]

1910-1917: draftsman, James C. Stitt, Architect, Norfolk, Nebraska.[7][11]

1917-1952: architect, Norfolk, Nebraska.[7]

1938: Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, A-34, January 18, 1938.[7]

1952-1953: architect and partner, Watson & Strong, Architects, Norfolk, Nebraska.

1960-1962: architect and partner, Watson & Theisen, Norfolk, Nebraska.

Buildings & Projects

Grand Theatre (1920-1921), Norfolk, Nebraska.[9][a]

Norfolk Livestock Sales Company new building (1920), Norfolk, Nebraska.[12]

Verdigre Public School (1920-1922), Verdigre, Nebraska.[[#References|[10][b]

Hooper High School (1923), Hooper, Nebraska. (DD06-014)

Huse house remodel (ca. 1925), 1812 Norfolk Ave., Norfolk, Nebraska.[1] (MD06-233) [Stitt & Watson]

Sacred Heart School (1926), Norfolk, Nebraska.[2][a] (MD06-057)

Koenigstein Block & Granada Theater (1927), Norfolk, Nebraska.[3][b] (MD06-007)

Grant School (1932), Norfolk, Nebraska.[4] (MD06-035)

Jefferson School (1932), Norfolk, Nebraska.[4] (MD06-164)

Knox County Courthouse (1934), Northwest Corner Main & Bazile, Center, Nebraska.[6] (KX03-010) National Register narrative

Plainview Band Shell (1938-1941), Plainview, Nebraska.[14]

Rock County Courthouse (1939-1940), Southeast Corner State & Bertha, Bassett, Nebraska.[6] (RO01-003) National Register narrative

Norfolk Municipal Auditorium (ca. 1939-1940), Norfolk, Nebraska (MD06-233) [c]

1 Female and 1 Male Ward Buildings, Norfolk State Hospital, Norfolk, Nebraska.[13][c]

Karl Stefan Memorial Airport Administration building (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5][6] (MD00-023) National Register narrative

Burns High School (n.d.).[8]


a. In association with George M. McCracken, Norfolk, Nebraska.

b. Emil Schreier, local superintendent of construction.[10]

c. In association with J. C. Stitt, Architect.


1. Mrs. Chandler Cobb and Mrs. Arnold Robinson, A Nostalgic Tour & Trivia of Norfolk (before 1900) (Norfolk: October, 1979) [on file at Norfolk Public Library; copy in Nebraska SHPO file “Norfolk Misc”].

2. The Klofron (Norfolk, NE: Catholic Young Men’s Association, 1926), 25 (copy in Nebraska State Historical Society, Historic Preservation Division, file MD06-57).

3. “Touch of Spain Comes to City in New Theater,” The Norfolk Daily News (April 15, 1927), 9.

4. Norfolk Daily News (February 16, 1932), 5:2.

5. Department of Aeronautics plans, Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey information; Jill Dolberg to D. Murphy, email, December 12, 2008.

6. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

7. Application for Registration to Practice Professional Engineering and Architecture, Nebraska State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Architects, January 1, 1938. Nebraska State Historical Society RG081 SG2.

8. “E. B. Watson, Norfolk Architect, Dies at 83,” Norfolk Daily News (February 19, 1963), 1:6.

9. Norfolk Daily News (January 11, 1921).

10. Application of Emil Paul Schreier for Registration to Practice Professional Engineering and Architecture, Nebraska State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Architects, August 9, 1938. Nebraska State Historical Society RG081 SG2.

11. Norfolk Daily News (Afternoon Edition), (June 17, 1911), 7:2.

12. “Designers and Superintendents for the Norfolk Livestock Sales...,” Norfolk Daily News (June 5, 1920).

13. "Two Hospital Buildings to be Built, 1942," The Norfolk Daily News (August 20, 1941) 11:2.

14. Jeff Barnes, 150@150: Nebraska's Landmark Buildings at the State's Sesquicentennial (Architectural Foundation of Nebraska, 2017).

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Elbert Benjamin Watson (1879-1963), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, February 27, 2019. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, May 19, 2022.

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