Fred Petersen (1886- ), Architect

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Omaha, Nebraska, 1908-1917; later Wall Lake, Iowa; Schuyler, Nebraska, 1926; Ventura, California, 1927-circa 1934

Fred Petersen was born in Omaha on October 8, 1886 to Lena and William Petersen. His father was listed as an Omaha contractor in the 1910 U. S. Census when 23-year-old Fred was in his household, identified as an architect. Fred married Lillian Dworak of Schuyler, Nebraska in 1910.[23][e] He initially worked for his father (Petersen & Sons), then practiced both independently and in partnerships, principally designing houses. His WWI draft registration card of 1917 noted that he had a wife and child who relied on his support.[4] Fred, wife Lillian C., and daughter Margaret relocated to Wall Lake, Iowa by 1920; then to Los Angeles, California; Fort Myers, Florida; and Mrs. Petersen's hometown of Schuyler, Nebraska; then returned to California in the late 1920s. For several years they resided in Ventura, California. Ventura city directories reflect the family's presence as early as 1928, but in 1934 Lillian was listed, while Fred was not.[9][10] In 1935 he married Amalia Potter (nee Rohacek) in Glenwood, Iowa. The marriage record notes that this was a second marriage for both of them, that Fred resided in Omaha and he was an architect. Their marriage apparently was of short duration, ending before 1940. Fred's WWII draft registration card listed "Board of Education" as his employer and the Omaha city directories listed him as a draftsman through 1942.[5][6][11][c][d] At the time of his father's death in 1943, Fred was mentioned as a resident of Los Angeles.[28] His place and date of death are currently unknown.[g]

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

Omaha, Nebraska, 1909-1912, 1914-1917, 1940-1942

Educational & Professional Associations

1908-1910: architect, Petersen & Sons, 538 Paxton Blk, Omaha, Nebraska.[a]

1911-1912: architect, 311 Brandeis Theater Building, Omaha, Nebraska.

1912-1913: architect and partner, Petersen & Dodds, Omaha, Nebraska.[7][b]

1913: architect and partner with Max Rudolph Nippell as Nippell & Petersen.[2]

1914-1915: architect, 703 State Bank Building, Omaha, Nebraska.

1920: carpenter, Wall Lake, Sac County, Iowa.[19]

by 1923: family in Los Angeles area.[21]

1926-1927: Fred Peterson [sic], architect formerly of Omaha, recently of Fort Meyers, announced he would locate and practice in Schuyler, Nebraska.[21]

1927-1930: architect, Ventura, California.[31][22]

1940-1942: draftsman, Board of Education, Omaha, Nebraska.

Buildings & Projects

Early Petersen Projects

Although Petersen and Dodds jointly published many house plans in Omaha newspapers in the 1912-1913 period, it is noteworthy that Petersen began the practice before that association began. During and after his years with Dodds, Petersen undertook several projects in Schuyler, Nebraska, his wife's hometown, apparently independent of Dodds.

House (1909), 1809 Spencer St., Omaha, Nebraska.[1] (DO09:0140-064)

Rowhouse (1909), 2744-50 S. 9th St., Omaha, Nebraska.[1] (DO09:0109-003)

Published dozens of residential plans in Omaha Daily News (1909-1912).[b]

House (1910), 1306 S. 9th St., Omaha, Nebraska.[1] (DO09:0117-143)

House (1911), 1926 Spencer St., Omaha, Nebraska.[1] (DO09:0140-020)

Three Residences for William C. Hansen (1911), Omaha, Nebraska.[3]

McLeod Building (1912), "in which the post office is located," Schuyler, Nebraska.[24][26]

George Birkens building (1912), Schuyler, Nebraska.[24]

Daicek & Dudek building (1912), Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][25][f]

Petersen & Dodds, 1912-1913

Petersen had an early association with Everett S. Dodds that was brief but productive, including publication of numerous house plans in Omaha Daily News between May 1912 and May 1913. They also designed a city hall and fire station for the Village of Dundee and the Bosworth Apartments, still extant (2023) at 2217 Howard in Omaha. The projects and publication of their association are listed on the page Petersen & Dodds, Architects.

Schuyler Harness Co. (1912), Schuyler, Nebraska.[24]

Kopac garage (prior to 1915), Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][f]

Mrs. Dworak's building (prior to 1915), "in which the Schuyler Cigar Co. are located," Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][f]

Residence of Gerald Ehernberger (prior to 1915), Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][f]

Residence of Anton Kopac (prior to 1915), Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][f]

Residence of Mrs. Julia Dworak (prior to 1915), Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][f]

Michaelson Cafe (prior to 1915), Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21][f]

Nippell & Petersen, 1913

Petersen had a even briefer partnership (of only a few months duration) with Swiss-born Max Nippell. One Omaha building and a few house designs published in Omaha newspapers in mid-1913 can be credited to these partners--SEE Nippell & Petersen.

Later Petersen Projects

Jaroslav Folda house (1915), 905 Chicago, Schuyler, Nebraska. (CX06-074)[17]

"Tel. Jed. Sokol Turners' auditorium" (1915), Schuyler, Nebraska.[13][14][15]

"New modern cottage" for J. M. Simmons (1915), "on the lots just east of the O. J. Smith residence," Schuyler, Nebraska.[18]


"A Modern Omaha Home," 1911.(F. Petersen forOmaha Daily News, July 2, 1911)

Fred Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...$6,000 will build this duplex dwelling," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (April 4, 1909), 20.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...This Modern House Can Be Built Complete for $2,000," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (May 16, 1909), 58.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (April 24, 1910), 23.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...Cottage Built in Omaha for $3,800," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (June 26, 1910), 32.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...A $3,800 Residence," (photo and floor plans by Fred Petersen), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (July 17, 1910), 27.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...A Modern Residence," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (April 23, 1911), 39.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...A House of Brick," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (May 7, 1911), 25.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions by Omaha Architects...Brick Veneered Cottage," (photo and floor plan), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (May 21, 1911), 19.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions...$1,250 will Build this Cottage," (perspective sketch and floor plan), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (June 4, 1911), 38.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions...An Example of Omaha Architecture," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (June 18, 1911), 31.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions...A Modern Omaha Home," (elevation sketch and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (July 2, 1911), 14.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions...Fine Exampole of a Modern Cottage," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (July 16, 1911), 14.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions...A Beautiful Omaha Home," (photo and floor plans), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (August 13, 1911), 14.

F. Petersen, "New Home Suggestions...Brick Veneer Residence," (wash perspective and floor plans of Tudor revival 2.5-story house), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (May 5, 1912), 10.


a. First Omaha directory listing, 1908, with his father's contracting firm, William Petersen & Son (Fred). Not yet listed among Architects & Superintendents in 1908 Business Directory. Listed among Architects & Superintendents in 1909, employed by William Petersen & Sons.

b. Omaha Daily News frequently published numerous residential designs by Petersen from 1910 to 1912. On May 5, 1912, the newspaper featured a wash perspective and floor plans of a Tudor revival style residence, credited to Petersen. Two weeks later, the same newspaper began publishing a series of house plans by Petersen & Dodds as well as publishing advertisements for Petersen & Dodds as "associated architects."[7] The association was short-lived. The 1913 Omaha city directory listed Petersen and Dodds, and the associates published a house plan in an Omaha newspaper in early April of 1913. But later that same month, Petersen was advertising with Max Rudolph Nippell, Architect and in May of 1913, The American Contractor noted that Dodds had opened his own office and Petersen had associated with Nippell.[2][8][27]

c. The U. S. Census of 1940 listed Amalia Rohcek, age 49, born in Nebraska, as a divorced woman living in Omaha, working as a stenographer.[11] She died in 1974 in Omaha and her grave marker is inscribed "Amalia Petersen/May 23, 1890/November 9, 1974."[12] Fred Petersen was listed with a spouse "Mollie" in the 1942 Omaha city directory. His WWII draft registration card (c. 1942) listed his father as the contact person who would always know his address.

d. Fred Petersen was listed as a draftsman for the Omaha Board of Education in city directories of 1940-1942. In 1942 his wife was listed as Mollie. Information on a marriage between Fred and Mollie has not been found, nor are either clearly listed in the 1945 Omaha city directory, although a "Fred Petersen" was listed without notation of either spouse or occupation.

e. Fred Petersen's wife Lillian was daughter of Julia Dworak of Schuyler.[16] In 1915, Schuyler newspapers regularly reported that Fred would be spending Sundays at his home in Omaha, implying that his work-weeks were largely spent in Schuyler. In the early 1920s, Mrs. Dworak visited the Petersens several times in Iowa, then in 1923 a Schuyler newspaper reported that Mrs. Peterson [sic] and daughter Margaret would be leaving for Los Angeles "where they will join Mr. in making their future home."[20]

f. A Schuyler newspaper mentioned in 1915, while Petersen was visiting in connection with the Sokol auditorium project, that "Mr. Peterson [sic]...has planned several of our finest buildings. Not only private residences, but the Kopac garage, the McKeod building, in which the post office is located, the building owned by Mrs. Dworak, in which the Schuyler Cigar Co. are located, the Schuyler Harness Co.'s building...," and also residences of Gerald Ehernberger, Anton Kopac and Mrs. Julia Dworak; and Michaelson Cafe and Daricek & Dudek Building; all in Schuyler, Nebraska.[15][21]

g. Fred Petersen probably was deceased by the time of his sister Hilda's death in 1971, as her brothers Percy and David are mentioned as her survivors, but Fred is not.[29]


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

2. Omaha World Herald (April 27, 1913), 3. (advertisement for "Nippell & Petersen Architects...Formerly: Nippell & Bellas...[and]...Petersen & Dodds").

3. "Omaha, Nebraska," American Contractor 32:21 (May 27, 1911): 63.

4. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, s.v. "Fred Petersen," [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

5. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, s.v. "Fred Petersen, b. 1886," [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

6. Iowa, U.S., Marriage Records, 1880-1947, s.v. "Fred Petersen," [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

7. "Fred Petersen and E. S. Dodds Associated Architects," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (September 8, 1912), 32.

8. "The Home Builders Page...An Attractive Square Residence," (photo and floor plans by Petersen and Dodds), Omaha (Nebraska) Daily News (April 6, 1913), 18.

9. 1930 United States Federal Census, s.v. "Fred Peterson, b. Nebraska, architect," [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.

10. Ventura (California) City Directory, 1928, 1930, 1934.

11. 1940 United States Federal Census, s.v. "Amalia Petersen," [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

12. U.S., Find a Grave® Index, 1600s-Current, s.v. "Amalia Petersen," [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

13. "Some Omaha Architects Work Out In the State," Sunday Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald (March 21, 1915), 8.

14. "The New Sokol Auditorium proposed for Schuyler, Nebraska," The Colfax County Press and the Clarkson (Nebraska) Herald Consolidated (June 15, 1916), 4 (illustrated with perspective).

15. "Building Committee Working on Plans--Sketches Have Been Drawn and General Idea of New Hall Outlined--Fred Peterson [sic] is Architect," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (March 26, 1915), 1.

16. "Local and Personal...Fred Peterson [sic] and family of Omaha came to visit with Mrs. Peterson's mother, Mrs. Julia Dworak," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (January 2, 1914), 5.

17. "Local News...Fred Peterson [sic] and his father of Omaha were in Schuyler on Saturday on business relative to the erection of Jaroslav Folda's new residence," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Messenger (March 26, 1915), 6.

18. "Neighborhood News and Notes...J. M. Simmons has begun preparations for the erection of a new modern cottage...," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (November 5, 1915), 2.

19. 1920 United States Federal Census, s.v. "Lyllian C. Peterson," [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

20. "Local News Notes...Mrs. Fred Peterson [sic] and daughter, Miss Margaret..." The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (October 18, 1923), 5.

21. "Fred Peterson [sic], Architect will locate in Schuyler," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (August 19, 1926), 1; and same edition, page 5, adds Michaelson Cafe and Daricek & Dudek Building.

22. "Fred Peterson [sic] has Los Angeles...and Mrs. Peterson will leave soon for that state, where they expect to make their home," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (February 17, 1927), 1 (column 4).

23. "Marriage Licenses," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Messenger (September 2, 1910), 13.

24. "Fred Peterson an architect of Omaha was in Schuyler Friday and Saturday. He is superintending the new Schuyler Harness Co., McLeod and the George Birkens building," The Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (August 02, 1912), 5.

25. "Fred Peterson of Omaha spent Friday in Schuyler looking after the construction of the new Daricek and Dudek building," Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (August 16, 1912), 5.

26. "McLeod Building, Schuyler, Nebraska," Schuyler (Nebraska) Sun (September 13, 1912), 5 (description, illustrated with photograph).

27. "Personal....Architect E. S. Dodds" and "Architects M. R. Nippell and Fred Petersen..." The American Contractor (May 24, 1913), 96J.

28. "William Petersen, 85, died Sunday at his home..." (Omaha, Nebraska) Evening World-Herald (August 23, 1943), 8.

29. "Petersen--Hilda, age 89 years...Survived by sister Mrs. Hanna Holdmes, Omaha, Elsei Yetter of Omaha; brothers Percy Petersen, Omaha and David Petersen, San Antonia, Texas..." Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald (April 26, 1971), 28.

Page Citation

E. F. Zimmer & D. Murphy, “Fred Petersen (1886- ), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, September 2, 2023. Accessed, December 3, 2023.

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