Heinrich Ernst Wagner (1849-1887), Architect

From E Nebraska History
Jump to: navigation, search

Lincoln, 1883-1885; and Kearney, Nebraska, 1886-1887

DBA: H. E. Wagner

H.E. Wagner
Heinrich Ernst Wagner was born in Prussia to Heinrich Friedrich Wagner and Auguste Mathilde Hertel on September 1, 1849.[1][2] Nothing is known of his education, but when he emigrated to the U. S. in 1872 (through New Orleans on “Vandalia” out of Hamburg), he was already listed as an “architect.”[3] A drawing of 1875 inscribed “H. Ernst Wagner, architect, Berlin” indicates he travelled back to Germany. When he married Margaret (Maggie) Robine in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, in April, 1882, he was identified as a draftsman in civil engineering for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Lincoln.[4] His wife died in October of that year.[5] He married again by 1885 to Ida C. Waterman of Plattsmouth, still residing in Lincoln.[6][b] The next year he inscribed drawings in Kearney, Nebraska. Wagner died in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, September 30, 1887.[7]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the Format and contents of Nebraska architect entries page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Wagner-Wheeler House, 1884, Lincoln (Nebraska State Historical Society)

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1884-1885

Kearney, Nebraska, 1886

Educational & Professional Associations

1872: architect, [Berlin].[3]

1875: architect, Berlin, Germany.[9]

1883: draftsman, Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4]

1885: architect, office 1105 O St, “upstairs,” Lincoln, Nebraska.[a]

1886-1887: architect, Kearney, Nebraska.[9][11]

Buildings & Projects

Wagner-Highland H. Wheeler house, Lincoln, Nebraska. (Nebraska State Historical Society)
Hanson-Downing house (1886), Kearney, Nebraska. (John E. Carter)
Buffalo County Courthouse (1887-1890, Kearney, Nebraska. (Nebraska State Historical Society)

Project for a boat house (1875), Berlin, Germany.[9]

Wagner-Highland H. Wheeler house (1884), 1517 H St, Lincoln, Nebraska.[8][9]

Hanson-Downing house (1886), Kearney, Nebraska.[10] (BF05-165)

Catholic Church project (1886), Kearney, Nebraska.[9]

Buffalo County Courthouse (1887-1890), Kearney, Nebraska.[11][c]


a. A photograph [8] of the Wagner-Wheeler House in Lincoln shows a sign by the front entrance “H. E. Wagner Architect Office Here,” indicating the Wagner family not only owned and designed the house, but occupied it at least briefly. The Lincoln City Directory of 1885 lists Wagner as “architect” with an office downtown at 1105 O St., “upstairs,” and a residence at 1307 H Street—not the Wagner-Wheeler House.

One of the drawings for the Wagner-Wheeler House is inscribed “Copied by C. E. Robine, Draughtsman, Sept. 1884.” Clarence Robine, “cl[er]k”, boarded with Wagner at 1307 H in 1885; the 1880 U. S. Census lists Clarence Robine as the 13-year-old brother of Wagner’s late wife Margaret Robine.[9]

b. Ida Waterman, second wife of H. E. Wagner, was daughter of John and Maggie Waterman of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. In the 1880 U. S. Census, she was enumerated both at school in Jacksonville, Illinois and at home in Plattsmouth with her parents. The 1885 Nebraska Census listed Henry Ernst Wagner, 35, in Capital, Lancaster, Nebraska, with wife Ida C. Waterman Wagner (21) and son Stuart Wagner, age 2 weeks. By the time of the 1900 U. S. Census, Ida resided with John Waterman in Plattsmouth, with son, “Carl (?).” In the 1920 U. S. Census, widow Ida Wagner (56) resided with John Waterman (83) in Plattsmouth; by 1930 widow Ida Wagner, (67), was in Ferndale, Michigan.

c. In Temples of Justice, Goeldner lists both Wagner and H. T. Fuehrman as architects for Buffalo County Courthouse.[11] Henry Theodore Julius Fuehrman was another native of Prussia, born in 1858 and a resident of Grand Island, Nebraska from 1885. Contemporary accounts include the Buffalo County Courthouse among his works.[12][13]


1. Inscribed on gravestone, Oak Hill Cemetery, Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

2. “Germany, Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898,” index, FamilySearch, accessed February 4, 2013, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NFQJ-NFC

3. Personal correspondence from P. J. Scott to E. Zimmer, referencing Ancestry.com: New Orleans, Passenger Lists 1813-1945, January 5, 2013.

4. “Wagner-Robine,” Daily Nebraska State Journal (April 22, 1882), 4: 3. See also “Married in Nebraska…At Hastings, April 20…,” Daily Nebraska State Journal (April 23, 1882), 3:6.

5. “Died,” (notice of death of Maggie, wife of Ernest [sic] Wagner), Daily Nebraska State Journal (October 20,1882), 4:4.

6. Nebraska State Census, 1885.

7. “Died—Heinrich Earnest (sic) Wagner,” The Daily (Plattsmouth, Nebraska) Herald (September 30, 1887), 4:1.

8. See L741-613 and 614; Nebraska State Historical Society, Photographic Collections.

9. Electronic scans of H. E. Wagner drawings in private collection, provided to Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Dept.

10. Attribution by the editors; see the correspondence between D. Murphy and E. F. Zimmer concerning H. E. Wagner architectural drawings for sale on eBay, April, 2000.

11. Paul Kenneth Goeldner, Temples of Justice: Nineteenth Century Courthouses of the Midwest and Texas [PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1970] (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1970), 434.

12. Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska, Comprising a Condensed History of the State (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1890), 631.

13. Historical and Descriptive View of Nebraska (Omaha: Jno. Lethem, 1892), 2:121.

Return to Top of Page

Page Citation

E. F. Zimmer and D. Murphy, “Heinrich Ernst Wagner (1849-1887), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, June 26, 2013. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, December 9, 2018.

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.