Gray & Placey, Architects

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Lincoln, Nebraska, 1885-1886


William S. Gray (1851-1927), Architect, Lincoln, Nebraska

Otis H. Placey (ca. 1829-1892), Architect, Lincoln, Nebraska

The partnership of Gray & Placey, Architects apparently commenced soon after Placey came to Lincoln in 1885, and dissolved June 1, 1886.[4][c]

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.

York County Courthouse, 1885-1888 (D. Murphy)

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1886

Educational & Professional Associations

Buildings & Projects

York County Courthouse (1885-1888), York, Nebraska, demolished.[1][5][6][a] (YK11-001)

Three eight-room elementary schools for Lincoln (1885-1888): Bryant at 18th & Q (1886), Everett at 11th & C (1887), Elliott at 26th & O (1887-1888); all in Lincoln, Nebraska.[2][b]


a. The Daily State Journal of Lincoln reported on March 9, 1886 that "The reporter was misinformed as to who has the contract for building the York county court house. Messrs. Gray & Placey, architects of this city, furnished the plans, but did not bid on the putting up of the work."[1] The York Republican report on June 23, 1886, that a bond of architects Gray and Placey was rejected and "the [county] clerk was instructed to notify Mr. O. H. Placey to file a good and sufficient bond..."[6]

b. An abstract of the minutes of the Board of Education of Lincoln Public Schools noted that in 1885: "The great increase in the enrollment during the past three years had kept the schools constantly crowded, even though new buildings were being built almost annually. In April, the board again saw the necessity of additional buildings. The original plans for 4-room buildings were discarded and on April 21, it was voted that the president and the secretary make contracts with Architects Gray and Placey for plans and specifications for two new 8-room school buildings. The end of the fiscal year occurred at this point and the work was carried on as planned by the next board."

Bryant (elementary) School at 18th & Q was the next 8-room school built, in 1886. In 1887 the district built an elementary school (eventually called Everett School) on land at 11th & C Streets dedicated for that purpose in the 1867 Original Plat of the capital city. Next in sequence was the original "Elliott School" at 26th & O Streets. "The plans and specifications used in the construction of 'Everett' school were adopted with minor changes....O. H. Placey was named Architect and Superintendent of construction at the 'Elliott' school, as it came to be known."[2][3]

c. A notice in the classified advertisements of June 1, 1886 of the Daily State Journal announced "Notice is hereby given that the copartnership heretofore existing between William Gray and O. H. Placey is on this day dissolved by mutual consent. William Gray assumes all indebtedness of the firm. O. H. Placey, architect, can be found at 1163 O street."[4]


1. "Mere Mention," (Lincoln, Nebraska) Daily State Journal (March 9, 1886), 8.[1][a]

2. Carl Yost, “History of the Lincoln Schools, 1864-1925," typescript abstract of School Board minutes, by a University of Nebraska student as a NYA project, 1936, 33-38. Copy at Lincoln Planning Department.

3. "Notice to Contractors," (Lincoln, Nebraska) Daily State Journal (May 23, 1886), 5.

4. "Dissolutions," (Lincoln, Nebraska) Daily State Journal (July 1, 1886), 7.

5. "A Good Showing. The Record of Mr. O. H. Placey as a First Class Architect" and "Large and Many Contracts. All Faithfully Fulfilled," [account of 1886-1887 work of contractor J. V. Consaul], (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (January 1, 1888), 8.

6. "Supervisors' Proceedings," The York (Nebraska) Republican (June 23, 1886), 4.

Page Citation

D. Murphy and E. Zimmer, “Gray & Placey, Architects,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, December 23, 2017. Accessed, March 27, 2023.

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