Francis M. Ellis (1837-1899), Architect

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Marshalltown and Council Bluffs, Iowa, c.1876-1885; Omaha, 1885-1896

DBA: F. M. Ellis, Architect, and F. M. Ellis & Company, Architects.

Francis M. Ellis was born July 18, 1837 in New York. He married Martha J. Davis in 1862. They were enumerated as residing in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in the 1870 census, with Francis M. listed as a “house carpenter.”[31][e] Chicago directories listed Ellis variously as a builder, carpenter, or contractor from 1874 through 1876. Then he moved to Marshalltown, Iowa where he began a very productive practice as an architect.[h][z] Ellis was first identified as an architect in the federal census of 1880.[32][33][e] In his later years (and especially as an architect) he typically went by F. M. Ellis.[31][32][33][34][e][f]. His Marshalltown practice included a considerable number of buildings throughout the region including in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota, as well as several projects in Nebraska.[2][12][30] In 1884 he advertised an office in Norfolk, Nebraska, via the Norfolk Journal, while he also maintained the Marshalltown office. He then relocated to Omaha in 1886.[8][24] In 1889 Ellis opened a second office, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and in 1890 also was listed among architects in Lincoln, Nebraska.[8][20] He became a member of the AIA in 1884, a member of the Architectural Association of Iowa in 1885, and Charter member of the Western Association of Architects.[23][26] He was an invalid in his final three years before he died January 10, 1899 in Omaha. Both Francis and Martha Ellis were interred in Marshalltown, Iowa.[25][34]

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.

Love - Larson Opera House, 1888 (D. Murphy)

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Omaha, Nebraska, 1886-1898

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1890[y]

Educational & Professional Associations

ca. 1860-1871: “house carpenter” in Pennsylvania.[2][31]

ca. 1871-1876: builder in Chicago, Illinois.[2][37]

ca. 1876-1885: architect in Marshalltown, Iowa.[2]

1884: advertised architectural services in Norfolk, Nebraska, from the Marshalltown office, via the Norfolk Journal.[24]

1885: Ellis & Turner, Architects, Marshalltown, Iowa.[a]

1885: F. M. Ellis & Co., Omaha, Nebraska & Des Moines, Iowa.[59]

1886: F. M. Ellis & Co. (Francis M. Ellis & W. L. Plack), architects, Omaha, Nebraska.[39][i]

1887-1896: Francis M. Ellis, Architect, Omaha, Nebraska.[c]

1890: F. M. Ellis & Co., Lincoln, Nebraska.[y]

1896-1898: architect and partner, F. M. Ellis & Co., (Frank M. Ellis & W. E. Findley), Architects, Omaha, Nebraska.

Other Associations

1883: employed John H. Kent in the Omaha, Nebraska office.[19]

c. 1885-1886: employed John L. Latenser as a draftsman in Marshalltown, Iowa, then in Omaha, Nebraska.[101]

1885-1886: advertisements for F. M. Ellis & Co., Omaha & Des Moines, listed "George Burlinghof [sic], with F. M. Ellis."[59]

1886: Ellis was among ten incorporators of Pleasant Hill Building Association of Omaha, along with architect Sidney Smith.[62]

1887: employed Augustus H. Sheppard, principal superintendent in the Omaha office.[4][53]

1889-1890 John H. Kent, draftsman, and "Manager and Superintendent Kearney Office,"[79] and employed in the Council Bluffs, Iowa office.[20][d][u]

1889-1890: employed Henry C. Cooke in the Council Bluffs, Iowa office.[2][20][89][u]

1892: On panel of experts examining Douglas County hospital (1892), Omaha, Nebraska.[95]

Buildings & Projects

Millard Block (photo, 1986) (Lynn Meyer)


Opera House & Masonic Temple (1879), Des Moines, Iowa.[45]

Opera House and Masonic Temple (1879), Oskaloosa, Iowa.[4][49][100][m]

Baptist Church (1881), Waterloo, Iowa.[21][46][l]

Brick, Gothic-style "Edifice for the Baptist society" (1881), Vinton, Iowa.[46][l]

"Harvey's new buildings", two-stories, brick with terra cotta trim (1881), head of Bridge Street, Waterloo, Iowa.[47]

Renke & Wubke Renken House (1883), 401 Coates Street, Parkersburg, Iowa.[36] Listed on NRHP (2014).

A "palace hotel" (1883), corner of Bridge & Commercial Streets, Waterloo, Iowa.[48]

Normal School (ca. 1883), University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa.[21]

Richards Block (1883-1885), 1100 O St., 116 N. 11th, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4][22][38][57] (LC13:C09-049)

First Congregational Church (1883-1886), 13th & L, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4][23][35][38][52][g]

Plans for addition to Funke's Opera House (1883), 12th & O Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska.[52][o]

Opera House (ca. 1884), Marshalltown, Iowa.[49][m]

Green's Opera House (prior to 1884), Cedar Rapids, Iowa.[49][m]

Grand Opera House (prior to 1884), Peoria, Illinois.[4][49][m]

McDonough County Insane Asylum and Almshouse (ca. 1884), Macomb, Illinois.[21]

Cherokee High School (ca. 1884), Cherokee, Iowa.[21]

Presbyterian Church (ca. 1884), Council Bluffs, Iowa.[4][21][23]

Brainard High School (ca. 1884), Brainard, Minnesota.[4][21]

N. A. Rainboldt house (ca. 1885), Norfolk, Nebraska.[6][23][38] (MD06-190)

Methodist Episcopal Church (ca. 1885), Beatrice, Nebraska.[4][23][38] (GA03-106-?)

Congregational Church (ca. 1885), Norfolk, Nebraska.[4][6][10][23][38]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Lancaster County Courthouse (1885), Lincoln, Nebraska.[54][p]

First Presbyterian Church of Marion (1885), 802 12th St, Marion, Iowa.[23] (57-04842)

Red Oak High School (1885), Red Oak, Iowa.[4][21][23][38][a]

Ward School (1885), Red Oak, Iowa.[4][23][38]

State Industrial School (Reform School) Building (1885), Kearney, Nebraska.[2][4][21][38][56]

Insane Asylum (1885), Lincoln, Nebraska.[21][23]

High School (1885), Norfolk, Nebraska.[6][23][38][55][q]

State Insane Asylum (1885-1887), Norfolk, Nebraska.[2][4][6][9][21][38][55][58][65][q]

Bank Building for Thomas Yule (1885), Beatrice, Nebraska.[23][a]

McClary & Company Building (1885), Norfolk, Nebraska.[6] (MD06-146)

Frame school house (1885), Eagle, Iowa.[38]

"Queen Anne style" frame and shingle residence for J. E. Houtz (1885), Lincoln, Nebraska.[38]

Residence "same and same" as Houtz house for F. Neely (1885), Waterloo, Iowa.[38]

Opera House (c. 1885), Newton, Iowa.[4][38]

Opera house (c. 1885), Huron, (South) Dakota.[38]

St. Mary's School, (c. 1885), Robinson, Illinois.[4][38]

High School (c. 1885), Waukon, Iowa.[38]

Court house (c. 1885), Alexandria, Hanson County, South Dakota.[38]

Three-story building for the Home for the Friendless (1885-1886), Lincoln, Nebraska.[2][4][38][55]

Doublehouse for A. Neilds (1886), 3006 Mason, Omaha, Nebraska.[14][17] (DO09:0206-020)

Proposal (unsuccessful) for York County Courthouse (1886), York, Nebraska.[23]

Buildings for Messrs. F. D. Kees, Forbes, Armacost & Co., E. E. Sponable and A. J. Hale (1886), Beatrice, Nebraska.[61]

Plans for Episcopal Church (1886), Fremont, Nebraska.[63]

Christ Episcopal Church (1886-1887), 1217 10th Ave., Sidney, Nebraska.[16] (CN09-042)

Brownell Hall / Grace Bible Institute (1886-1887), 1509 S 10th, Omaha, Nebraska. (DO09:0115-004)

J. W. Griffith house (c. 1887), Omaha, Nebraska.[4]

M. Toft house (c. 1887), Omaha, Nebraska.[4]

Henry W. Yates house (1887-1889), 3120 Davenport, Omaha, Nebraska.[1][5][11][81][102]

Millard Block (1887), 1101-07 Harney, Omaha, Nebraska.[4] (DO09:1-11)

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Buffalo County Courthouse (1887), Kearney, Nebraska.[23]

Equitable Building (1887), Park Avenue and Commercial Street, Waterloo, Iowa.[50]

Commercial Building (1887), 1510 Capitol Ave., Omaha, Nebraska.[17] (DO09:0125-013)

House (1887), 2008 Binney St, Omaha, Nebraska.[17] (DO09:0140-093)

Rowhouse (1887), 2409 Hamilton St, Omaha, Nebraska.[17] (DO09:0217-006)

Morris Mayer house (1887), Norfolk, Nebraska.[13]

School (1887), Villisca, Iowa.[66]

Lancaster County Courthouse (1887-1890), Lincoln, Nebraska.[7][15][18][19][21][23] (LC13:C08-322)

Plans of a high school (1887-1888), Omaha, Nebraska.[42][44][64][72][k]

F. M. Ellis house (1888), Farnam and Smith, Omaha, Nebraska.[3][75]

J. B. McDonald House (1888), Military Ave. and D Street, Fremont, Nebraska.[67][68][r]

Plans for W. De L. Freeman House (1888), Military Ave., Fremont, Nebraska.[70][s]

Linton Block (1888), northeast corner of Thirteenth and Mason Streets, Omaha, Nebraska.[71]

State Deaf & Dumb Institute (1888), Omaha, Nebraska.[2][73]

Love Larson Opera House (1888), 545 Broad, Fremont, Nebraska.[16] (DD05:E-003) National Register narrative

N. A. Rainbolt house (1888), Norfolk, Nebraska.[29] (MD06-190)

Two-story, eight-room school (1888), 9th Street near Bancroft, Omaha, Nebraska.[42][43][k]

Malialieu University Building (1888), Bartley.[4][74]

Swedish Evangelical Mission Church (1889), corner of Davenport and Twenty-third Streets, Omaha, Nebraska.[77]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Omaha City Hall (1889), Omaha, Nebraska.[78][81]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Washington County Courthouse (1889), Blair, Nebraska.[23]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Gage County Courthouse (1889), Beatrice, Nebraska.[23]

West End Hotel (1889), West Kearney, Nebraska.[41]

Poor House for Buffalo County (1889), Kearney, Nebraska.[80]

Superintendent of construction of Commercial National Bank (1889-1890), 16th & Farnam Streets, Omaha, Nebraska.[2][40][81]

Brick school house (1889), Syracuse, Nebraska.[82]

Plans and specifications for a school (1889), Florence, Nebraska.[84]

Broadway United Methodist Church (1890), 11 South 1st St, Council Bluffs, Iowa.[23][88][90][92][u] (78-00244)

Consultation regarding "Episcopal college building"/presumably Trinity Hall of Worthington Military Academy (1890), Lincoln, Nebraska.[91][v]

Pierre National Bank (1890), Pierre, South Dakota.[85]

Brick School (1890) Sterling, Nebraska.[86]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Clinton School (1890), "northeast Lincoln," Nebraska.[87]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Jefferson County Courthouse (1890), Fairbury, Nebraska.[23]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for Cass County Courthouse (1890), Plattsmouth, Nebraska.[23]

Additions to the Hastings hospital for the insane (1891), Hastings, Nebraska.[93]

Building for First National Bank and M. Brugger (1892), Columbus, Nebraska.[94]

Fremont National Bank (1892), Fremont, Nebraska.[12][96]

Taylor County Courthouse (1892-1893), Bedford, Iowa.[21][30:310] (87-00100)

Stucco House (1893), 3618 Farnam, Omaha, Nebraska.[17] (DO09:0319-036)

Proposal (unsuccessful) for $75,000 public school building (1894), Houston, Texas.[97][w]

Building (1895), 1506 Webster St, Omaha, Nebraska.[17] (DO09:0127-022)

Proposal for Marion County Courthouse (1895), Knoxville, Iowa.[51][n]

School (ca. 1897), Rock Rapids, Iowa.[98][x]

Proposal (unsuccessful) for high school (1897), Lincoln, Nebraska.[98][x]


Opera House (n.d.), Sac City, Iowa.[4]

High school (n.d.), Marshalltown, Iowa.[4]

High school (n.d.), Hailey, Idaho.[4]

McDonouth County Asylum (n.d.), Illinois.[2]

Buildings for State Normal School (n.d.), Peru, Nebraska.[2]

Buffalo County Asylum (n.d.), Kearney, Nebraska.[2]


a. See the 1885 Red Oak School, credited to Ellis & Turner, Architects, Marshalltown, Iowa.[21]

b. Wesley Shank records the name of the architect as Frank M. Ellis[21], as do the records of the Iowa SHPO.[23]

c. The last three years of his life he was confined to bed, due to paralysis.[25]

d. An 1889 bird’s eye view of Kearney, Nebraska lists F. M. Ellis & J. H. Kent as local architects; while advertisements in the Kearney Hub in 1889 list "J. H. Kent, Manager and Superintendent, Kearney Office" of F. M. Ellis, architect.[27][79] The Omaha city directory for 1889 lists Ellis as a draughtsman for Ellis. A note in the Kearney Hub of November 8, 1889 reported that Kent had gone to Omaha for three months and that the Ellis office in Kearney would be discontinued in Kent's absence. The paper added "Mr. Kent is a very affable gentleman and an artist and draughtsman of exceptionable merit."[79]

e. The 1870 U. S. Census lists Francis M. Ellis, age 32, as a house carpenter in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, with his wife Martha (26) and six-year-old daughter Bessie. All were listed as born in New York State. The U. S. Census of 1880 lists “Frances M. Ellis,” architect, age 43, residing in Marshalltown, Iowa, born in NY State. His wife was Martha J. Ellis (36). Also in the household was his mother-in-law Ellenor [sic] Davis, age 59. The Iowa State Census of 1885 also found “Francis M. Ellis,” architect, in Marshalltown, age 47, with wife Martha (39) and Elinor Davis (59).[31][32][33]

f. F. M. Ellis and his wife Martha Ellis were both interred in Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa. Their gravestone records his lifespan as July 18, 1837 to January 10, 1899; hers as January 30, 1844 to March 21, 1901.[34]

g. The “Clerk’s Records” of First-Plymouth Congregational Church note that Ellis’ plans were adopted in 1883 “to cost, including frescoing, $15,500.” The building was in use by 1886 at a cost of $27,685.[35]

h. The History of Marshall County, Iowa of 1878 probably exaggerated in crediting Ellis as “architect and superintendent of many fine buildings in Chicago.”[37]

i. Inland Architect mused in its "Mosaics" compendium of news from around the region "What is the matter with the [architectural] profession in Iowa?...F. M. Ellis, of Marshalltown, at Omaha...[and] W. L. Plack has gone to Philadelphia..." Plack had practiced in Des Moines, Iowa before partnering with Ellis in Omaha in 1887.[39]

j. The Omaha World-Herald in June 1890 credited L. J. B. Bourgeois as architect of the bank building while noting: "The superintending of the construction of the building was done by F. M. Ellis, architect."[40]

k. The Omaha Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss Ellis' plans for a building on the high school grounds, which he estimated would cost $35,000. According to Omaha Bee, "His working plans were for a sixteen-room structure with brick walls only a foot thick. This is considered unsafe by members of the board and therefore the matter will be brought before the body." In March of 1888, Ellis advertised for bids for a 16-room High school and an 8-room school at "Omaha View." In April, he advertised for bids for an 8-room school at 9th and Bancroft--perhaps the same as "Omaha View." An article in April 1888 mentioned that the Board of Education discussed Ellis' bill of $700 "due on plans and specifications for a proposed building on the high school grounds...the plans have been abandoned and those for an addition adopted instead." Among the bills recommended for payment by "the committee on claims" of the Omaha Board of Education in May 1888 was "F. M. Ellis, architect, plans for the High school, $450."[42][43][44][64][72]

l. The Waterloo Courier described the planned "edifice for the Baptist society at Vinton" (Iowa) as "in gothic style, built of brick, and similar to the one in this city, only smaller. The contract price is $7,500..."[46]

m. The Sioux City Journal reported in 1884 that Ellis "arrived yesterday to see about the opera house that is to be built at this city. Mr. Ellis designed the opera-house at Marshalltown, Peoria, Oskaloosa and Green's, at Cedar Rapids." Ellis informed them that the Peoria house "cost complete $70,000" and "Marshalltown is to cost $32,000 complete." The newspaper also mentioned as potential designers for the Sioux City opera house "The Des Moines architect, Mr. Foster" and "Mr. Cobb, a Chicago architect of opera houses," the latter of whom they were "yet to hear from."[49]

n. "F. M. Ellis, Omaha" and "Geo. E. McDonald, of Lincoln, state architect for Nebraska," were listed among seventeen competing architects for the Marion County Court House.[51]

o. A Lincoln newspaper noted that Ellis' plans for the Congregational church in Lincoln had been adopted, referring to him as "an architect and building superintendent of Marshalltown, Iowa, who makes a specialty of opera house and church work." Mention was made that "Mr. Ellis has also prepared plans for the new addition to our opera house, and was in consultation yesterday with Mr. Fred Funke in regard to the probable cost of the contemplated improvement."[52]

p. Omaha Bee listed four architectural offices that submitted plans in the initial round of solicitations for Lancaster County (Nebraska) Court House: S. E. Maxon of Council Bluffs, Eckel & Mann of Saint Joseph, Missouri, F. M. Ellis of Marshalltown, Iowa, and E. E. Myers of Detroit, who was said to have submitted three different sets. Myers was selected, but did not receive the eventual commission as bids on his plans all exceeded the budget.[54] Ellis was subsequently selected in a second round in 1887 and his design was constructed by 1890.

q. A Lincoln newspaper reported in 1885 that Ellis "has been awarded the work of preparing plans and specification for the new $12,000 school house" in Norfolk. Also mentioned was "Mr. Ellis' friends are glad to know that his plans were also adopted for the new insane asylum."[55] Omaha Bee published affidavits in November charging that improper materials were being used and opined that "On the face of the evidence so far produced it would seem that the rejection of the work and an order to have the building reconstructed would be justifiable." In response, on December 15, 1885, the Nebraska State Journal published lengthy affidavits defending the soundness of the asylum foundations, refuting charges in the Omaha Bee of November 20, 1885.[58]

The Journal also offered that "There is perhaps no need for Mr. Ellis to be distressed about Bee charges. They are the inevitable inheritance of every man in Nebraska who has any relations to the public and does not pay tribute to the Bee." Ten days later, "F. M. Ellis & Co." began advertising in the Omaha Bee.[59] December 30, 1885, the Bee celebrated that "Upon the urgent solicitation of quite a number of prominent citizens, both here and other parts of the state, Mr. F. M. Ellis has removed his headquarters to Omaha, which will now be his permanent residence....His reputation as an accomplished artist, and thorough business man is beyond a doubt, and he proposed to maintain the high standing he now enjoys, and add to it, if such a thing is possible."[60] Ellis staked out foundations for additions to the Asylum in July 1887.[65]

r. In February 1888, the Fremont Tribune announced that "J. D. McDonald will open the building season of 1888 in Fremont by construction of a splendid brick residence on the sight [sic] of his present residence, corner Military Ave. and D streets. The plan is being perfected by F. M. Ellis of Omaha...The house will be similar in material and construction to the attractive residence of Wilson Reynolds..." McDonald called for bids by March 1888 and in April contracted with "M. A. Ecker of Lincoln, the owner of the Oketo stone quarry," to lay the foundation. On November 20, 1888, a lengthy article described finished structure, "A Magnificent Home."[67]

The McDonald House at 310 East Military Ave. in Fremont was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and is still extant (2020). The National Register nomination cites M. A. Ecker of Lincoln as the architect but does not identify a source of the attribution.[68] Probably it was based on the stone contractor's name, which probably was erroneous as no architect or stone contractor by the name M. A. Ecker has been identified in Lincoln. However, William A. Ecker was a stone merchant and contractor in Lincoln and W. A. Ecker worked on Ellis' Norfolk Insane Asylum in 1887.[69]

s. The Fremont Tribune reported in March 1888 "The plans and elevations for another fine residence have been prepared by Architect Ellis to be placed upon the stone foundation built some time since by W. De L. Freeman on Military avenue. The building is to be of wood, two stories, with hip and gable roof and attic...and the general appearance and style quite like the house built by Judge Usher..."[70]

t. The Nebraska State Journal listed W. R. Parsons & Son as the chosen firm and "Craddock & Hays, Mr. [William] Gray, Mr. [G. W.] Shaffer...and F. M. Ellis of Omaha" as the unsuccessful applicants.[87] The elementary school was dubbed "Clinton Elementary" and stood until replaced in the mid-1920s.

u. A brief article on "The Methodists' New Church" mentioned "The plans submitted by F. M. Ellis & Co." and that "Mr. Cook of the firm of successful architects showed several specimens of Sioux Falls granite" and that "the necessary material for the new structure" was decided to be ordered from the Jasper company. Henry C. Cooke (sometimes mentioned as Harry C. Cook) was Ellis' representative in the Council Bluffs office of the firm.[88]

A notice in an Omaha newspaper in August 1890 announced that "Notice is hereby given that the firm heretofore known as F. M. Ellis & Co. has been dissolved by Retirement of H. C. Cooke. All business pertaining to said firm will be transacted by the remaining partners, F. M. Ellis and J. H. Kent, and all indebtedness owing said firm will be paid to hem. They will continue the business at the old offices."[89] Apparently the Methodist Church project was among the reasons for the firm's dissolution. In late January and early February 1891, the Omaha Bee reported difficulties between Ellis and the building committee and between Ellis and Cooke, which were resolved when the plans were returned to Ellis.[92]

v. A Lincoln newspaper made a brief mention in October 1890 that "F. M. Ellis, architect from Omaha is in the city looking after professional business in connection with the Episcopal college building." The next year 'J. H. W. Hawkins designed "Trinity Hall" for Worthington Military Academy, an Episcopal facility north of Lincoln.[91]

w. A representative of the Omaha Bee interviewed Ellis following the architect's visit to Houston, Texas. Ellis said he had spent four weeks in Houston "for the purpose of submitting plans and specifications for a $75,000 school building." The implication is clear that Ellis did not receive that commission, but the reporter achieved his purpose of eliciting Ellis' praise of "Houston Heights" as an investment prospect.[97]

x. The Lincoln Board of Education attracted proposals from seven architects for a new high school, including five from Lincoln (N. Bishop, J. H. Craddock, M. Leach, J. Tyler, George W. Shaffer, R. W. Grant from Beatrice, and F. M. Ellis from Omaha. The Evening News noted that "Mr. Smith, representing F. M. Ellis of Omaha, had no plans drawn for this building, but submitted the plans for a building the firm had just finished over at Rock Rapids, Ia., that had cost a little less than $25,000."[98] Marcus Leach obtained the commission for an elementary school building adjacent to Lincoln High School.

y. F. M. Ellis & Co. was listed in the Lincoln City Directory only in 1890, addressed at 1204 O Street--the Burr Block. That new, six-story building was popular among Lincoln's architectural firms, housing four of nine firms in the city, including Craddock & Hay, F. C. Fiske, and Roberts & Woods. The "Street Key" which was a feature of that year's directory listed specific room numbers on the sixth floor for the Fiske and Craddock & Hay firms, but not for Ellis, hinting that his "Lincoln office" may have shared office space with one of his competitors.

z. Des Moines Register mentioned in January, 1879, various news items from Marshalltown including "Mr. Ellis, our architect, has given the designs for twenty-four buildings in this vicinity, both public and private, of great beauty and symmetry. He proposes having a branch office in Cedar Rapids."[99]


1. John Grant, Glimpses of Omaha (Omaha : D. C. Dunbar & Co., ca. 1888), 44.

2. Jno Lethem, Historical & Descriptive Review of Omaha (Lethem, 1892), 195.

3. Omaha Illustrated (Omaha: D. C. Dunbar, 1888), 81, 105.

4. “F. M. Ellis,” The (Omaha) Herald (January 1, 1887).

5. Nebraska State Historical Society Photographic Collections, Y32-5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

6. Norfolk Journal (May 15, 1885), 4:3.

7. Ink on Linen Drawings, Nebraska State Historical Society, State Archives (1888).

8. Norfolk Journal (December 17, 1885), 4:4.

9. Norfolk Journal (October 1, 1885), 4:4.

10. Norfolk Journal (October 22, 1885), 4:2.

11. Omaha Herald (January 1, 1887) See Omaha Arch'ts File

12. Fremont Daily Tribune (November 11, 1892).

13. Norfolk Journal (February 24, 1887), 5:3.

14. Landmarks, Inc., An Inventory of Historic Omaha Buildings (Omaha: City of Omaha and Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, 1980), 147.

15. Oliver B. Pollak, Nebraska Courthouses: Contention, Compromise, and Community [Images of America Series] (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 48. [725.1.P771n]

16. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

17. City of Omaha Planning Department, Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, Database, Query on Architects, May 20, 2002; courtesy of Lynn Meyer, Preservation Planner.

18. Tom Kaspar, comp. Inventory of architectural records in the archives of Davis Fenton Stange Darling, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska. 1996. Nebraska State Historical Society, RG3748, Box 16.

19. [Edward F. Zimmer], “F. M. Ellis Omaha Architect (1886-1898),” TS [Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department], n.d.

20. Omaha Daily Republican (December 1, 1889). John Kent and Harry C. Cook are in charge of the Council Bluffs Office.

21. Wesley I. Shank, Iowa’s Historic Architects: A Biographical Dictionary (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1998), 58.

22. Lincoln Illustrated and Lincoln’s Growth (Lincoln: Journal Company State Printers, 1887), 18.

23. Iowa State Historic Preservation Office, Architect files and database search; data from Barbara A. Mitchell, Architectural Historian (Iowa), to Bob Puschendorf, Deputy SHPO (Nebraska), July 19, 2011.

24. “F. M. Ellis, Architect and Designer of Public and Private Buildings,” Norfolk Journal (June 20, 1884), 4:4.

25. “Architect Ellis Dies,” Omaha World-Herald (January 11, 1899), 5:2; "F. M. Ellis," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (January 11, 1899), 8.

26. Industrial Chicago: The Building Interests Vol. 1 (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891), 301; accessed August 2, 2012,

27. Henry Wellge, “Kearney, Neb.,” [bird’s eye view] American Publishing Company, 1889. World Maps Online, accessed July 16, 2013,

28. Norfolk Journal (January 9, 1885), 4:2.

29. Norfolk Daily News (August 28, 1888), 1. [illus. in elec. file]

30. David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. Buildings of Iowa. (Society of Architectural Historians, Buildings of the United States) New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

31. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line], (s.v. “Fred M. Ellis”), Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009.

32. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], (s.v. “Frank M. Ellis,” residing in Iowa), Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.

33. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line], (s.v. “Frank M. Ellis,” residing in Iowa), Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007.

34. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

35. First-Plymouth Congregational Church, “Extract from Clerk’s Records, 1866-1965,” mss., 21.

36. Melodie J. McLean, “Renken, Renke and Wubke (Francen), House,” Parkersburg, Iowa; nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, listed 2014.

37. Chicago city directories, 1872-1877.

38. Inland Architect (October 1885), 47.

39. Inland Architect (April 1887), 48.

40. "Notice to Contractors," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Herald (March 15, 1889), 7; "A Temple to Finance--The Commercial National Banks New Building and Its Distinctive Architecture," Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald (June 1, 1890), 8.

41. "West Kearney--Will Undoubtedly be the Centre of the State's Most Important Manufacturing Interests...West End Hotel," Omaha Daily Herald (April 14, 1889) 13 (description), 14 (illustration).

42. "Notice to Contractors," Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald (March 18, 1888), 4.

43. "Notice to Contractors," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Herald (April 15, 1888), 11.

44. "Two More School Buildings--Contracts Awarded Last Night--Many Construction Claims Allowed," Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald (May 8, 1888), 2.

45. "To Contractors" (advertisement for bids "for the erection of an Opera House and Masonic Temple"), Des Moines (Iowa) Register (April 17, 1879), 3.

46. "Local and Miscellaneous Items," The (Waterloo, Iowa) Courier (May 18, 1881), 5; "Dedicatory Services. The New Baptist Church Devoted, with Solemn Ceremonials, to the Worship of God," The (Waterloo, Iowa) Courier (November 2, 1881), 6.

47. The (Waterloo, Iowa) Courier (August 3, 1881), 5.

48. "The New Hotel. Work Begun--A Plan of the First Floor and Description of the House," The (Waterloo, Iowa) Courier (July 4, 1883), 5.

49. "Opera-House Figures," Sioux City (Iowa) Journal (September 12, 1884), 3.

50. "A Handsome Building," The (Waterloo, Iowa) Courier (September 28, 1887), 5.

51. "Fight Over The Court House. Marion County's Building a Bone of Contention for Architects," Des Moines (Iowa) Register (August 4, 1895), 1.

52. "The Plans Adopted," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (August 11, 1883), 5.

53. The Omaha city directory for 1887 lists Augustus H. Sheppard as "supt F M Ellis, r. 1404 Farnam."

54. "The New Court House," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (February 3, 1885), 7.

55. "Northern Nebraska," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (May 19, 1885), 6.

56. "New State Buildings," Daily Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) (July 18, 1885), 4.

57. "A Magnificent Block. To Be Erected by the Richards Bros. at the Corner of O and Eleventh," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (July 26, 1885), 7.

58. "The New Insane Asylum at Norfolk" and "The New Insane Asylum. Charges that Poor Material is Being Used in Its Construction. Affidavits to Substantiate the Charges--A Thorough Investigation Demanded," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (November 20, 18850, 4; and "The Norfolk Hospital. The Slanders of the Bee Wholly Refuted and Stamped as Lies. Complete Vindication of the Architect and Contractor," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (December 15, 1885), 2.

59. "F. M. Ellis & Co. Architect and Building Superint's Omaha, Neb, and Des Moines, IA." Omaha (Nebraska) Bee (December 25, 1885), 5.

60. Omaha (Nebraska) Bee (December 30, 1885), 8.

61. "Personal," Beatrice (Nebraska) Daily Express (May 19, 1886), 4.

62. "A New Building Association," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (May 28, 1886), 8.

63. "Local News," notice of Ellis "consulting with the Episcopalians concerning plans for their new church," Fremont (Nebraska) Tribune (August 10, 1886), 4.

64. "Board of Education. A Special Meeting to be Held Monday Evening," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (May 22, 1887), 2.

65. "Starting the Insane Asylum," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (July 17, 1887), 1.

66. "Notice for Proposals," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (August 21, 1887), 8.

67. "Will Open the Season," Fremont (Nebraska) Tri-Weekly Tribune (February 23, 1888), 2; "Another Fine Residence," and "Bids Wanted," Fremont (Nebraska) Tri-Weekly Tribune (March 8, 1888), 8;"J. D. McDonald's New Residence Contracted," Fremont (Nebraska) Tri-Weekly Tribune (April 12, 1888), 5; "A Magnificent Home. Description of J. D. McDonald's New Residence," Fremont (Nebraska) Tribune (November 20, 1888), 4.

68. Joni Gilkerson, "J. D. McDonald House," a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, 1980.

69. "Norfolk News," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (November 4, 1887), 7.

70. "W. De L. Freeman," Fremont (Nebraska) Tribune (March 22, 1888), 4.

71. "The New 'Linton Block.' A Sample of What Foreign Capital is Doing for Omaha. Mrs. Linton the owner of Nearly Three-Quarters of a Million Dollars Worth of Omaha Dirt," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (April 8, 1888), 7.

72. "A Quiet Meeting. The Board of Education Discusses School Sites and Plans," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (April 17, 1888), 5.

73. "Notice to Contractors," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (May 10, 1888), 7.

74. Regarding Malialieu university building as a memorial to Rev. George C. Haddock (1888), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (June 6, 1888), 4.

75. "Building Permits. F. M. Ellis, frame dwelling, Farnam and Smith....[$]2,100," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (August 19, 1888), 8.

76. "Level and Square. The Corner Stone of the County Capitol. The Lancaster County Court House the Scene of Impressive Ceremonies," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (November 2, 1888), 6.

77. "Among the City's Churches. The Swedish Citizens Have an Organization and Building....Swedish Evangelical Mission Church," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (March 24, 1889), 7.

78. "Pocketing the Plans. The Unsuccessful City Hall Designs Held By the Committee," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (May 25, 1889), 6.

79. "F. M. Ellis, Architect Omaha and Kearney. J. H. Kent, Manager and Superintendent, Kearney Office." Advertisement in Kearney (Nebraska) Daily Hub (June 3 1889), 2.

80. "County Supervisors," Kearney (Nebraska) Daily Hub (July 10, 1889), 4.

81. "The Merchants Exposition--A Brief Mention of Some of the Important Exhibits," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (September 8, 1889), 5.

82. "Notice to Contractors," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (September 21, 1889), 5.

83. "Personal," Kearney (Nebraska) Daily Hub (November 8, 1889), 1.

84. "Notice to Contractors," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (December 13, 1889), 7.

85. "Notice to Contractors," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (February 12, 1890), 7.

86. "Notice to Contractors and Builders," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (May 20, 1890), 7.

87. "School Board Meeting. Plans Adopted for a School Building in Northeast Lincoln," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (May 23, 1890), 2.

88. "Council Bluffs News...The Methodists' New Church," and "F. M. Ellis & Co., Architects and Building Superintendents" (advertisement), both Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (June 26, 1890), 6.

89. "Dissolution Notice," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (August 14, 1890), 6.

90. "Notice to Contractors," (bids for erection of 1st M. E. Church, Council Bluffs) Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (July 20, 1890), 6.

91. "Personal," Lincoln (Nebraska) Evening News (October 2, 1890), 3.

92. In Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee: "Fighting for Church Plans," (January 27, 1891), 3; "The Church Architects," (January 28, 1891), 3; "Minor Mention," (February 6, 1891), 3.

93. "Plans Accepted," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (May 27, 1891), 4; "Notice to Contractors," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (June 22, 1891), 6.

94. Columbus (Nebraska) Journal (April 27, 1892), 3.

95. "Omaha in Brief," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (May 17, 1892), 6.

96. "Personal," Fremont (Nebraska) Tribune (November 11, 1892), 4.

97. "A View of the South Land--Architect F. M. Ellis' Opinion of Houston Heights and its Prospects," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (January 28, 1894), 14.

98. "Board Looks Over Plans--Seven Architects Submit Drawings of a New High School Building," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (April 22, 1897), 6; "Look Over the Plans--Board of Education Will Push High School Building," (Lincoln, Nebraska) Evening News (April 22, 1897), 1.

99. "Marshalltown...Improvements," Des Moines (Iowa) Register (January 15, 1879), 3.

100. "To Contractors," (call for bids on Oskaloosa opera house and Masonic Temple), Des Moines (Iowa) Register (April 17, 1879), 3.

101. “John Latenser, Sr., is Taken by Death,” Lincoln State Journal (December 7, 1936), 1:3.

102. "Hillside, Yates' Old Stone Home, Now Fraternity Hall," Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald (March 8, 1942), 7-D.

Page Citation

D. Murphy & E. F. Zimmer, “Francis M. Ellis (1837-1899), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, July 19, 2020. Accessed, August 13, 2022.

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