Fred M. Ellis (ca. 1845-1899), Architect

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Marshalltown and Council Bluffs, Iowa; Omaha, 1885-1896, and Lincoln, 1890, Nebraska

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

Born in New York, ca. 1845, Fred M. Ellis established his office in Omaha in 1885 after having practiced eleven years in Pennsylvania, five in Chicago and nine years in Marshalltown, Iowa.[2][12][b] He is listed as the architect for a number of buildings in the region.[2][12][30] He advertised an office in Norfolk, Nebraska, via the Norfolk Journal office, 1884, then in 1885 removed from Marshalltown, Iowa and opened his office in Omaha in 1886.[8][24] In 1889 Ellis opened a second office, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.[8][20] He was an elected 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] He died January 10, 1899.[25]

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, 1887-1889, 1891-1896

Educational & Professional Associations

ca. 1860-1871: practicing in Pennsylvania.[2]

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

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

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

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

1886-1896: F. M. Ellis, Architect, Omaha, Nebraska.[c]

1896-1898: architect and partner, Ellis & Findley, Architects, Omaha, Nebraska.

Other Associations

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

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

1889: John H. Kent employed in the Council Bluffs, Iowa office.[20][d]

1889: employed Harry C. Cook in the Council Bluffs, Iowa office.[2]

Buildings & Projects


Baptist Church (ca. 1880), Waterloo, Iowa.[21]

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] (LC13:C09-049)

First Congregational Church (1883-1886), 13th & L, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4][19][23]

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]

School (ca. 1885), Norfolk, Nebraska.[6][23]

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

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

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

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][a]

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

State Industrial School Bldg (1885), Kearney, Nebraska.[2][4][21]

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

State Insane Asylum (1885), Norfolk, Nebraska.[2][4][6][9][21]

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

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

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

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

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 (b. 1887), Omaha, Nebraska.[4]

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

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

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

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

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]

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

F. M. Ellis house (b. 1888), Omaha, Nebraska.[3]

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)

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

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

Broadway United Methodist Church (ca. 1890), 11 S 1st St, Council Bluffs, Iowa. [23] (78-00244)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Opera House and Masonic Temple (n.d.), Oskaloosa, Iowa.[4]

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

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

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

Grand Opera House (n.d.), Peoria, Illinois.[4]

St. Mary's School, Robinson (n.d.), Illinois.[4]

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

Malialieu University Building (n.d.), Bartley.[4]

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

State Deaf & Dumb Institute (n.d.), Omaha, Nebraska.[2]

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

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

Buildings for the Home for the Friendless (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[2][4]

Commercial National Bank (n.d.), Omaha, 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. J. H. Ellis & Kent as local architects.[27]


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.

26. Industrial Chicago: The Building Interests Vol. 1 (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891), 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.

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Fred M. Ellis (ca. 1845-1899), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, December 4, 2014. Accessed, May 25, 2019.

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.