John Peter Helleberg, Sr. (1890-1980), Architect

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Columbus, 1914-1923, and Kearney, Nebraska, 1923-1969

DBA: John P. Helleberg, Architect

John P. Helleberg, Sr. was born in Thisted, Denmark on November 28, 1890.[1][4][5][6] He moved to the United States as a young man, becoming a draftsman for the firm of Wurdeman & Grabe in Columbus, from 1912-1914. He was made a partner in the firm Grabe & Helleberg, also in Columbus, from 1914-1923. The partnership dissolved in 1923, and Helleberg moved to Kearney, Nebraska to establish his own practice there. In 1946 he took his son, John P. Helleberg, Jr., as a partner in the firm Helleberg & Helleberg. From 1946-1964, Helleberg was an architect and partner in this firm. Another of his sons, Rex Staal Helleberg, became a partner in 1956. Helleberg died July 1, 1980.[1][3]

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

Kearney, Nebraska, 1924, 1937-1980

Educational & Professional Associations

1909: Teknisk Skole, Thisted, Denmark.[4][5][6]

1912-1914: draftsman and architect, Wurdeman & Grabe, Architects, Columbus, Nebraska.[2][4][5]

1914-1923: architect and partner, Grabe & Helleberg, Architects, Columbus, Nebraska.[2][4][5]

1923-1946: architect and owner, John P. Helleberg, Architect, Kearney.[3][4][5]

1938: Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, A-23.

1946-1967: architect and partner, Helleberg & Helleberg, Architects, Kearney, Nebraska.[4][5][6]

1968-2000: retired, Kearney, Nebraska.

Architectural Study Travel

Four trips to Europe.[4]

Buildings, Projects & Principal Works

Overton Grade and High School (1924), Overton, Nebraska.[9]

Alda Grade and High School (1924), Alda, Nebraska.[9]

Rockville Grade and High School (1925), Rockville, Nebraska.[9]

Odessa Grade and High School (1925), Odessa, Nebraska.[9]

Lexington High School (1926), Lexington, Nebraska.[9]

Poole Grade School (1927), Poole, Nebraska.[9]

Anselmo Grade School (1927), Anselmo, Nebraska.[9]

Ravenna Grade School (1928), Ravenna, Nebraska.[9] (BF11-004)

Public School (1928), Amherst, Nebraska. (BF01-001)

Amherst Grade and High School (1928), Amherst, Nebraska.[9]

Loomis Grade and High School (1928), Loomis, Nebraska.[9]

Litchfield Vocational School (1929), Litchfield, Nebraska.[9]

District 52 School (1929), St. Michael, Nebraska.[9]

Addition (1929), State of Nebraska Tuberculosis Hospital, U.S. Hwy 30, Kearney, Nebraska.[7]

Hayes County High School & Auditorium (1930), Hayes Center, Nebraska.[7][9] (HY02-017)

Farnam Grade School (1930), Farnam, Nebraska.[9]

Remodel (1930), Kearney High School, Kearney, Nebraska.[9]

Remodel (1930), Ravenna Grade School, Ravenna, Nebraska.[9]

Addition (1930), Merna Grade School, Merna, Nebraska.[9]

Addition and remodel (1930), Kenesaw School, Kenesaw, Nebraska.[9]

Addition (1933), Wauneta Grade School, Wauneta, Nebraska.[9]

District 12 School (1933), Overton, Nebraska.[9]

Auditorium and Gymnasium (1933), Henderson, Nebraska.[9]

District 21 School (1934), Overton, Nebraska.[9]

Addition (1934), Ravenna Vocational School, Ravenna, Nebraska.[9]

Remodel (1934) Kearney Senior High School, Kearney, Nebraska.[9][b]

Eddyville Grade and High School (1934), Eddyville, Nebraska.[9][b]

Lexington Community Hospital (1935), 17th & Washington, Lexington, Nebraska.[7]

Mason City Grade and High School (1935-1936), Mason City, Nebraska.[9][b]

Gibbon Grade School and Auditorium (1936), Gibbon, Nebraska.[7][9][b]

Security State Bank (1937), Broken Bow, Nebraska.[8]

Consolidated School District 23 (1937), Gates, Nebraska.[8][9]

Auditorium and Shop (1938), Shelton, Nebraska.[8][9]

Auditorium (1938), Farnam, Nebraska.[8][9]

Steven Building (1938), Broken Bow, Nebraska.[8]

Building for J. A. Christiansen (1938), Kearney, Nebraska.[8]

Spaulding Municipal Auditorium (1938), Spaulding, Nebraska.[8]

Young House (1938), Lexington, Nebraska.[8]

Axtell Grade and High School (1939), Axtell, Nebraska.[9][b]

Home Economics Addition (1939), Wauneta School, Wauneta, Nebraska.[8][9]

Grade School (1939), Hayes Center, Nebraska.[8][9][b]

Wauneta Falls Bank (1939), Wauneta, Nebraska.[8]

Blue Bell Dairy (1940), Kearney, Nebraska.[8]

B. A. Winquest house (1940), Holdrege, Nebraska.[8]

Charles K. Niehaus house (1940), Holdrege, Nebraska.[8]

Addition (1940), St. Catherine of Sienna Hospital, McCook, Nebraska.[8]

Alda School (1940), Alda, Nebraska.[8]

Safeway Store (1940), Kearney, Nebraska.[8]

Buffalo Grove Church (1940), rural Lexington, Nebraska.[8]

F. C. Gumprecht house (1940), Kearney (?), Nebraska.[8]

Elementary School (1940), Kearney, Nebraska.[8]

Black Building (ca. 1940), Broken Bow, Nebraska.[8]

Safeway Store (1941), Grand Island, Nebraska.[8]

Clinic for Carl G. Amick (1945), Loup City, Nebraska.[8]

Helleberg’s career continues in partnership with his son, John Peter Helleberg, Jr., then later, with Rex Staal Helleberg. Listed below are some of his principal works from this period. See the buildings and projects of Helleberg & Helleberg, Architects for more.

Consumers Headquarters Building (1947), Kearney, Nebraska.[4][5][a]
Three Elementary Schools (1952), Kearney, Nebraska.[4][5][a]
Elementary School and Auditorium (1953), St. Paul, Nebraska.[4][5][a]
Sacred Heart Hospital (1953), Loup City, Nebraska.[4][5][a]
Jensen Memorial Library (1954), Minden, Nebraska.[4][5][a]
Methodist Church (1954), Oxford, Nebraska.[4][5][a]


a. Architect of record, Helleberg & Helleberg.

b. A Public Works Administration project.[9]



2. Columbus Telegram (July 24, 1914), 1.

3. AIA Historical Directory of American Architects: A Resource Guide to Finding Information About Past Architects, accessed May 3, 2010,

4. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory First Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1956), 240, accessed March 3, 2010,

5. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory Second Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1962), 303, accessed April 4, 2010,

6. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory Third Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1970), 395, accessed April 4, 2010,

7. Thomas Lee Kaspar (1951-____), Architect, comp. Inventory of architectural records in the archives of Davis Fenton Stange Darling, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska. 1996. Nebraska State Historical Society, RG3748, Box 16.

8. “Project Listings,” TS ([Kearney, NE]: Rex S. Helleberg, Architect, [1985]). Copy in Nebraska State Historical Society, Historic Preservation Division, Architect file.

9. “Helleberg & Helleberg, Architects & Engineers,” TS ([Kearney, NE]: The firm, [1985]). Copy in Nebraska State Historical Society, Historic Preservation Division, Architect file.

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “John Peter Helleberg, Sr. (1890-1980), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, January 20, 2015. Accessed, March 7, 2021.

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.