James C. Stitt (1866-1949), Architect

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Norfolk, Nebraska, 1884-1948
Stitt_1937_RG081.jpg
James Stitt, ca. 1937.


James C. Stitt was Norfolk’s most prominent and prolific architect, responsible for hundreds of architectural designs during some sixty years of practice. His substantial body of work included schools, residences, libraries, churches, and business buildings, both in Norfolk and around the state.

Stitt was born in Medusa (Mitchell Hollow), New York on September 28, 1866, to Ransom and Elvira P. (Cooper) Stitt. He learned architecture from his father, Ransom Stitt (1840-1911), a master builder. His grandfather, James J. Stitt was also a master builder in Albany County, New York.[18][21] He never formally studied architecture, but apprenticed with Syracuse, New York architects E. G. Hall and N. Dillenbeck.[1][19][24]

He arrived in Norfolk in 1889, intending to go to Omaha to pursue his trade. While stopping in Norfolk, he was asked to draft a plat for a new subdivision. Before he had finished, he was asked to design a house, followed by a request to design yet another.[1] He decided to locate in Norfolk. His first major architectural commission was that of the Norfolk High School building (1890, not extant), having competed with twenty-one architects nationwide for the commission.[5][24]

He practiced in Norfolk until his death in 1949. Over his long career, he worked in many of the prominent architectural styles of the period. Stitt’s works are represented in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Norfolk and Plainview Carnegie libraries, Miller Hall and the former library at Chadron State College, and the Cedar County Courthouse in Hartington. His obituary noted that “(h)e designed some of Norfolk’s finest homes including those now occupied by A.T. Hutchinson, Byron Ballantyne, Dr. C.J. Verges and Mrs. A.F. Ballah.”[1][24]

Stitt married Cora May Holt on March 8, 1870, and together they had four children. Stitt was a Democrat who held many other positions, including City Clerk (1896-1900), and vice president and president of the Norfolk Building and Loan Association (1914-1932). He was a member, director, and president of the Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Kiwanis Club, a Mason, Knight Templar, and Elk, and belonged to the YMCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, First Congregational Church, Norfolk Country Club, and the Nebraskana Society. He died on January 10, 1949.[1][21][24]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for details on the compilation and organization of the pages.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Norfolk, Nebraska, 1884, 1889, 1890-1891, 1893, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1922-1923, 1938-39, 1940-1948

Educational & Professional Associations

1882-1885: High School, Canastota, New York.[18][21]

1882-1885: part-time mechanic and foreman, Ransom Stitt, builder, New York.[18]

1886-1888: draftsman and student, architectural offices of E. G. Hall, and N. Dillenbeck, Syracuse, New York.[18][19]

1889-1948: architect, Norfolk, Nebraska.[18][20][c]

1937: Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, November 23, 1937, A-1.[18]

1949: Stitt practice succeeded by Watson & Strong, Architects, Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Buildings & Projects

School (1889), Humphrey, Nebraska.[16]

House for Mr. Dorsey (1889-1890), railroad conductor.[1]

House for Mr. Boble (1889-1890), conductor.[1]

1890s

J. E. North Building (1890), 2502-2506 13th St, Columbus, Nebraska.[5][11] (PT01-126)

Pierce State Bank (1890), Pierce, Nebraska.[5][16] (PC05-032)

Creighton State Bank (1890), Creighton, Nebraska.[5][16]

Randolph State Bank (1890), Randolph, Nebraska.[16]

Randolph School District (1890), Randolph, Nebraska.[16]

Norfolk High School (1890), 6th & Phillip, Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][2][5][22]

Alcova Hot Springs Hotel (1891), Alcera, Wyoming.[16]

Cedar County Courthouse (1891-1892), Hartington, Nebraska.[9][11] (CD07-002) National Register narrative

Fremont School District (1892), Fremont, Nebraska.[16]

Fremont School District (1892), Fremont, Nebraska.[16]

Madison County Poor Farm (1892), Battle Creek, Nebraska.[16]

District No. 20 School (1893), Madison County, Nebraska.[16]

John Hein Opera House (1893), Madison, Nebraska.[16]

Norfolk Distilling Company Building (1893), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Creighton City Water Works (1894), Creighton, Nebraska.[16]

Plainview Normal College (1894), Plainview, Nebraska.[16]

Methodist Church (1895-1896), NW corner 4th & Phillip, Norfolk, Nebraska.[3][16]

Hartington High School (1895-1896), Hartington, Nebraska.[16]

Dixon School District (1895-1896), Dixon, Nebraska.[16]

East Unit, Male Cottages 10-12-14 (1897-1898), Norfolk State Hospital, Norfolk, Nebraska. [18]

Sacred Heart Church (1898-1899), 100 S 5th, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2][16] (MD06-57)

Wakefield High School (1899), Wakefield, Nebraska.[16]

F. Warrant Opera House (1899), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

1900s

Sheridan First National Bank (1900), Sheridan, Wyoming.[16]

Tilden Catholic Church (1901), Tilden, Nebraska.[16]

Collins & Hejpse Store (1901), Wakefield, Nebraska.[16]

Wakefield Opera House (1901), Wakefield, Nebraska.[16]

Catholic Church (1902), SW corner 3rd & Hale, Battle Creek, Nebraska.[8] (MD01-4)

Salem Swedish Lutheran Church parsonage (1902), Wakefield, Nebraska.[16]

Elkhorn Valley Bank (1902), Centre & Second, Tilden, Nebraska.[16][6]

Osmond M. E. Church tower (1902), Osmond, Nebraska.[16]

Niobrara Valley Bank (1902), Niobrara, Nebraska.[16]

Presbyterian Church (1903), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Plainview Congregational Church (1903), Plainview, Nebraska.[16]

St. Teresa Catholic Church & Parsonage (1904), Clearwater, Nebraska. (AP02-003)

Meadow Grove State Bank (1905), Meadow Grove, Nebraska.[16]

Farmers National Bank (1905), Madison, Nebraska.[16]

Walthill State Bank (1905), Walthill, Nebraska.[16]

Gregory National Bank (1905), Gregory, South Dakota.[16]

Norfolk Carnegie Library (1907), Norfolk, Nebraska.[10] (MD06-10)

St. Paul Lutheran Church (1907) NW corner 11th & Georgia, Norfolk, Nebraska.[4][16] (MD06- 246)

Norfolk L. D. Telephone Office (1907), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Norfolk Country Club Clubhouse (1909), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Norfolk Public Library (1909), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

1910s

Plainviewcarnegielibrary 2w.jpg
Plainview Carnegie Library (1916-1917) (D. Murphy)

Butte High School (1910), Butte, Nebraska.[16]

Lincoln Public School (1911), 3rd & Park Ave. Norfolk, Nebraska.[13][16] (MD06-76)

Factory Building for Robert Klug (1911), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Nehoco Hotel (1912), Neligh, Nebraska.[16]

Valentine Auditorium (1912), Valentine, Nebraska.[16]

Saloon for D. Grady (1912), Ewing, Nebraska.[16]

Winside Public Library (1912), Winside, Nebraska.[16]

Salter Hospital (1914), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Norfolk Junior High School (1914), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Stanton Carnegie Library (1914-1915) 1009 Jack Pine, Stanton, Nebraska.[10][16] (ST02-001)

Farmers State Bank (1915), Winside, Nebraska.[16]

Plainview Carnegie Library (1916-1917), Plainview, Nebraska.[10][16][25][e]

Masonic Temple (1916), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][16] (MD06-011)

Female Cottage 15 (1916-1917), Norfolk State Hospital, Norfolk, Nebraska.[18]

Baptist Church (1917), Tilden, Nebraska.[16]

Battle Creek Valley Bank (1917), Battle Creek, Nebraska.[16]

Stanton City Hall (1917), Stanton, Nebraska.[16]

A. E. Stubbs-A. F. Ballah house (ca. 1917), Norfolk, Nebraska.[11][12] (MD06-222)

Hospital (1917-1918), State Industrial School, Kearney, Nebraska.[1][15][16][17] (BF00-049)

Ballantyne Furniture Store, storefront (1918) 407 Norfolk Ave., Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][16]

District No. 80 School (1918), Pierce, Nebraska.[16]

Scofield & Wetzel Store (1918), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

W. W. Wasson Company filling station (1918), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

District No. 4 School, (1918), Long Pine, Nebraska.[16]

Redesign (1919), J. C. Stitt house, 410 S 8th, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2][16] (MD06-131)

First National Bank (1919), Gregory, South Dakota.[16]

Gymnasium, State Normal College (1919-1920), Chadron, Nebraska.[11][16][18] (DW03-093)

1920s

Norfolk Senior High School (1920-1923), Norfolk, Nebraska.[18]

Niobrara State Bank (1920), Niobrara, Nebraska.[16]

Miller Hall, Chadron State College (1920), Chadron, Nebraska (DW03-89)

Kitchen and Employees Unit, Norfolk State Hospital (1920-1922), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][18]

Gymnasium (1921), Peru Normal College, Peru, Nebraska.[16]

Holt County District No. 88 School (1922), Holt County, Nebraska.[16]

Hooper High School (1923), Hooper, Nebraska.[16]

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School (1924), Hoskins, Nebraska.[16]

Sacred Heart School (1925), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

J. A. Ballentyne house (1925), 108 S 10th, Norfolk, Nebraska.[12][16]

Norfolk Junior High School (1926), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Assembly Hall and Employees Unit, Norfolk State Hospital (1926-1927), Norfolk, Nebraska. [18]

Dormitory (1927), Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska.[16]

City of Randolph Fire Station (1927), Randolph, Nebraska.[16]

Madison County Land Company Dance Hall (1928), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Masonic Building (1929), Newman Grove, Nebraska.[16]

Chadron State College Stadium (1929), Chadron, Nebraska.[16] (DW03-89)

Library, Chadron State College (1929), Chadron, Nebraska.[11][18] (DW03-089) (DW03-096)

1930s

Nebraska State Bank (1930), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Addition and alterations (1931), Cedar County Courthouse, Hartington, Nebraska.[16]

Lincoln School (1932), Norfolk, Nebraska.[7][16][18] (MD06-07)

Grant School (1932), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Jefferson School (1932), Norfolk, Nebraaska.[16]

Plainview City Hall & Fire Station (1932), Plainview, Nebraska.[16]

Plainview Ball Park Grandstand (1932), Plainview, Nebraska.[16]

City of Randolph Municipal Building (1932), Randolf, Nebraska.[16]

City of Hartington Municipal Building (1932), Hartington, Nebraska.[16]

Pierce City Hall & Fire Station (1932), Pierce, Nebraska.[16]

Masonic Temple (1933), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16][18]

Huse Publishing Company Building (1934), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Ice Plant (1935), Madison, Nebraska.[16]

City of Norfolk Auditorium (1939-1940), with E. B. Watson, swc Braasch & 1st St., Norfolk, Nebraska. [1][16][22] (MD06-233)

1940s

Nebraska Building & Loan Association Building (1940), Madison, Nebraska.[16]

City Auditorium (1941), Madison, Nebraska.[16]

2 Hospital Ward Buildings (Male/Female), Norfolk State Hospital, Norfolk, Nebraska.[23][d]

Thabor Lutheran Church addition (1943), Wausa, Nebraska.[16]

First Congregational Church (1945-1946), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Consumers Public Power District Utility Building (1945-1946), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Blair Department Store (1945-1946), Creighton, Nebraska.[16]

American Legion Auditorium (1945-1946), Bancroft, Nebraska.[16]

Farmers Lumber & Supply Store and Shop (1945-1946), Bassett, Nebraska.[16]

Norfolk Airport Administration Bldg. (1946-1947), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16][b]

American Legion Club (1947), Madison, Nebraska.[16]

Congregational Church (1947), Pierce, Nebraska.[16]

Knights of Columbus Hall (1948), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

St. Peter’s Lutheran School (1948), Battle Creek, Nebraska.[16]

First Trinity School (1948), Bloomfield, Nebraska.[16]

Immanuel Lutheran School (1948), Osmond, Nebraska.[16]

St. Paul’s Lutheran School (1948), Norfolk, Nebraska.[16]

Assembly Hall, Norfolk State Hospital (1949), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1]

Kitchen, Norfolk State Hospital (1949), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1]

Power house, Norfolk State Hospital (1949), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1]

Ward buildings (5), Norfolk State Hospital (1949), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][22]

Farm ward structures, Norfolk State Hospital (1949), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][22]

Undated

Addition to residence of F. A. Long (n.d.), M. D., Madison, Nebraska.[14]

Hospital Unit (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1]

Power Plant, Chadron State College (n.d.), Chadron, Nebraska.[1]

DeLay National Bank (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][22]

Ommerman Building (n.d.), Nebraska.[1][22] (MD06-003)

Healey Pharmacy (n.d.), 430 Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, Nebraska.[1]

Uptown Market (n.d.), 406 Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, Nebraska.[1]

Alterations, Huse house (n.d.), 1812 Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, Nebraska. (MD06-210)[2] [b]

Bullis Drug Store (n.d.), 409 Norfolk Ave., Norfolk, Nebraska.[1] (MD06-003?)

Dr. C. J. Verges house (n.d.), 906 Prospect, Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][12] (MD06-221)

Episcopal Rectory-Byron Ballentyne house (n.d.), 1207 Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2] (MD06-17)

C. E. Burnam-A. T. Hutchinson house (n.d.), 1201 Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, Nebraska.[1][2][12][22] (MD06-14)

Christian Science Building (Sol Mayer house) (n.d.), NE corner 12th & Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2] (MD06-245)

D. Mathewson house (n.d.), 1102 Koenigstein, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2] (MD06-189)

W. H. Johnson house (n.d.), 1228 (6) Koenigstein, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2] (MD06-204)

A. J. Johnson house (n.d.), 1224 Koenigstein, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2] (MD06-203)

Johnson house (n.d.), 1222 Koenigstein, Norfolk, Nebraska.[2] (MD06-243)

H. H. Hake house (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5]

G. M. Thompson house (n.d.), S 8th Street (?), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5]

T. B. Kail house (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5]

W. N. Huse house (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5]

Lew Barris house (n.d.), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5]

Judge Larimer house (n.d.), Sioux City, Iowa.[5]

Chadron State Teachers' college (n.d.), Chadron, Nebraska.[22]

Hastings State Hospital (n.d.), Hastings, Nebraska.[22]

Notes

a. Reference [16] includes a listing of all projects, plans, and tracings on file in the office of Howard J. Strong Associates, Architects, successor firm to Watson & Strong, Architects, which in turn was successor to J. C. Stitt’s practice. Only a small sampling of buildings have been culled from this publication for inclusion in the listings on this page. These are primarily new and major buildings, excluding additions, remodelings, outbuildings, and residences. See the original for a complete listing.

b. Possibly done in association with E.B. Watson, Architect.

c. Reference [18] does not give a date for the start of his Norfolk practice, but reference [20] has him establishing an office in the Norfolk National Bank Building when he moved to Norfolk in 1889. The 1889 date is confirmed by a listing in the 1889 Norfolk City Directory (from private sources), and by reference [21].

d. In association with E.B. Watson, Architect.

e. A reference for the page of J.P. Eisentraut, Architect inferred that he was considered as the architect for the Plainview Carnegie Library in 1908, but sources [10],[16],&[25] show that the building was built in 1917 and designed by J.C. Stitt.

References

1. “James C. Stitt, Architect Here 60 Years, Dies,” The Norfolk Daily News (January 11, 1949), 1:7-8.

2. "A Nostalgic Tour & Trivia of Norfolk (Before 1900)", researched by Mrs. Chandler Cobb, compiled by Mrs. Arnold Robinson, Oct 1979, on file at Norfolk Public Library; copy in SHPO “Norfolk Miscellaneous” file.

3. Harry E. Hess, Methodism in Norfolk: A History (1947), 36.

4. "Norfolk Church, 70 years old, to Celebrate," Norfolk News (May 22, 1936).

5. The Norfolk Daily News Industrial Edition (Nov 1, 1890), 9:2-3.

6. The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal (April 25, 1902), 8:2.

7. The Norfolk Daily News (February 16, 1932), 5:2.

8. Norfolk Weekly News-Journal (April 11, 1902), 9:5.

9. Oliver B. Pollak, Nebraska Courthouses: Contention, Compromise, and Community [Images of America Series] (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 60. [725.1.P771n]

10. State Library Commission files.

11. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

12. L. Robert Puschendorf, “Ballah house,” TS (December 2, 2010).

13. Copy of plans on file, Nebraska State Historical Society, H673.5-4554.

14. Plans on file, Nebraska State Historical Society, Museum Collections, 8045-57.

15. Plans on file, State Historic Preservation Office.

16. "Howard J. Strong Associates, Architects [Norfolk, Nebraska] " NP:nd [ca. 1966] Photocopy on file in the State historic Preservation office.[a]

17. The American Contractor (March 23, 1918), 60 (This is a fireproof building of brick, terracotta, and concrete; four storeys with a basement, measuring 89 by 139 feet.), accessed through Google Books, January 12, 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=UCJYAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA10-PA64&lpg=RA10-PA64&dq=f+w+clarke,+architect,+york+hotel,+nebraska&source=bl&ots=-QV--qNAlx&sig=yQZ--Gvu9ph8VGJ7unfHB-6P9QU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=whYPT97eOov9iQLF9M3fDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=f%20w%20clarke%2C%20architect%2C%20york%20hotel%2C%20nebraska&f=false

18. Application for Registration to Practice Professional Engineering and Architecture, Nebraska State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Architects, November 17, 1937. Nebraska State Historical Society, RG081 SG2.

19. Historical and Descriptive Review of Nebraska (Omaha: Jno. Letham, 1892).

20. “Bank Building Was Built 48 Years Ago: J. C. Stitt Has Been Tenant in Structure for 43 Years,” Norfolk Daily News (November 21, 1933?).

21. “James C. Stitt,” in Sara Mullin Baldwin and Robert Morton Baldwin, eds., Nebraskana (Hebron, Nebraska: The Baldwin Company, 1932), 1148.

22. “J. C. Stitt Looks Back Over Fifty Years in City,” Norfolk Daily News (January 9, 1939), 5.

23. "Two Hospital Buildings to be Built, 1942," The Norfolk Daily News (August 20, 1941) 11:2.

24. "The Architect's Home: the J.C. Stitt House," Elkhorn Valley Echo Vol. 35, Iss. 2 (Summer 2018), 1,4-6.

25. "Carnegie Library Erected in 1917" Plainview Pride of the Plains 75th Anniversary Book (1961).

Page Citation

D. Murphy and L. Robert Puschendorf, “James C. Stitt (1866-1949), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, August 28, 2018. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, December 13, 2018.


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