John Philip Eisentraut (1870-1958), Architect

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Sioux City, and Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; Hot Springs, Hill City, Rapid City, and Custer, South Dakota
John Philip Eisentraut (Reference 11)

John Philip Eisentraut was born on April 12, 1870 in Makoqueta, Jackson County, Iowa. His parents were Philip Eisentraut and Mary Stumpe. He attended Woodbury County public schools and then graduated from Morningside College in 1889. He was an apprentice under Charles Brown from 1891-92, and then in 1892 enrolled at Northwestern University, from which he received his architectural degree. In the same year that Eisentraut graduated from Northwestern, 1894, he married Susie Kniffen.[4][11] He was later married to Nora Alice Crum.[13] For the rest of his career, Eisentraut moved often, practicing primarily throughout South Dakota. Eisentraut died May 1, 1958.[4][13[e]

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.

Educational & Professional Associations

1889: graduated, Morningside College.[4][11]

1891-1892: apprentice to Charles Brown, Architect, Sioux City, Iowa.[11]

1892: with James Walker as Walker & Eisentraut, Architects, Carroll, Iowa.[4]

1892-1894: architecture degree, Northwestern University.[4][11]

1894-1902: with the Iowa Architectural Company, Des Moines, Iowa.[4][11]

1902-1904: John Eisentraut, Architect, Sioux City, Iowa.[4]

1904-1909: principal with Eisentraut Pottenger & Colby, Architects, Sioux City, Iowa.[4]

1907-1909: opened Kansas City, Missouri office of Eisentraut Pottenger & Colby, Architects.[4]

1909: John P. Eisentraut, Architect, Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas city, Missouri.[4]

1909-1912: principal, The Black Hills Company, Deadwood, South Dakota.[4]

1911-1912: affiliated with the Fall River Company, Architects, Hot Springs, South Dakota.[c]

1913: John P. Eisentraut, Architect, Hill City, South Dakota.[4]

1913-1914: John P. Eisentraut, Architect, Rapid City, South Dakota.[4]

1914-1915: Eisentraut & Bartholz, Architects, Rapid City, South Dakota.[4]

1915-1919: John P. Eisentraut, Architect, Rapid City, South Dakota.[4]

1919-1928: John P. Eisentraut, Architect, Custer, South Dakota.[4][a]

1928-1936: Postmaster and proprietor at Blue Bell, South Dakota.[4]

1936-1940: John P. Eisentraut, Architect, Custer, South Dakota.[4]

Buildings & Projects

Sacred Heart Church (1891-1893), Boone, Iowa.[8:168-69]

First Congregational Church (1903), NW corner Martha & Hwy 12, Newcastle, Nebraska. (DX07-028)

Farmers State Bank (before 1904), Osmond, Nebraska.[5][11]

Tilden Public School (before 1904), Tilden, Nebraska.[5][11]

Catholic Church (before 1904), Sioux City, Iowa.[11]

Methodist Episcopal Church (before 1904), Ireton, Iowa.[11]

Methodist Episcopal Church (before 1904), Centerville, Iowa.[11]

First Swedish Baptist Church (ca. 1904), Sioux City, Iowa.[11]

Pawnee City Carnegie Library (1904-1907), Pawnee City, Nebraska.[1][5]

Tecumseh Carnegie Library (1904-1907), Eastside 5th n of Broadway, Tecumseh, Nebraska. [1][3][5] (JO07-030)

First United Presbyterian Church (1906-1907), Auburn, Nebraska.[b] (NH01-086)

Methodist Episcopal Church (before 1907), South Auburn, Nebraska.[5]

Methodist Episcopal Church (before 1907) Albion, Nebraska.[5]

Laurel School (1907), Laurel, Nebraska.[5]

Albion Carnegie Library (1907-1909), NE corner 3rd St. & Prairie, Albion, Nebraska.[1][5] (BO02-006)

Maywood School (1908), Maywood, Nebraska.[5]

Consideration for Plainview Carnegie Library (1908), Plainview, Nebraska.[5][d]

Loomis School (1909), Loomis, Nebraska.[5]

House (1909), Falls City, Nebraska.[5]

Hotel (1909), Gordon, Nebraska.[5]

Albion City Hall (1909), Albion, Nebraska.[5]

Table Rock Town Hall (1909), Table Rock, Nebraska.[5]

Roman Catholic Church (1909), Falls City, Nebraska.[5]

Plainview School (ca. 1909-1910), Plainview, Nebraska.[5]

Morrill County Courthouse (1909-1910), Northeast corner 6th & M, Bridgeport, Nebraska.[2][3][5] (MO04-002) National Register narrative

Alliance Carnegie Library (1909-1912), 204 W. 4th St., Alliance, Nebraska.[1][5] (BX01-042)

Pierce Carnegie Library (1909-1912), Pierce, Nebraska.[9][c] (PC05-025)

Bank (1910), Bridgeport, Nebraska.[5]

Gothenburg High School (1910), Gothenburg, Nebraska.[5]

Parsonage for Rev. J. B. Glynn (1910), Hartington, Nebraska.[5]

School District 45 (1910), Randolph, Nebraska.[5]

Shelton School (1910), Shelton, Nebraska.[5]

Building (1910), Holdrege, Nebraska.[5]

Potter County Courthouse (1910-1911), Gettysburg, South Dakota.[c]

Cheyenne County Courthouse (1911), Sidney, Nebraska.[10]

Elks Theatre (1912), 512 Sixth St, Rapid City, South Dakota.[6]


a. Note that the United States Federal Census, 1920, Custer, South Dakota, lists Eisentrout [sic] as a contractor.[7]

b. Architect of record, Eisenbrant Pottenger & Colby, Architects, Sioux City, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri.

c. Quoting from the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Potter County Courthouse, 1996: "John Philip Eisentraut was an Iowa native who practiced architecture in South Dakota between 1909 and 1928. One of the state's most noted architects of the period, he prepared designs for a variety of major projects in South Dakota and surrounding states. Among his other South Dakota commissions were the Walworth County Courthouse , several commercial buildings in Hot Springs and Rapid City, and the Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park. Eisentraut worked under several partnerships and business entities throughout his career, living in Deadwood, Hot Springs, Rapid City, and Custer. He bagan the Potter County project while a principal in the firm "Black Hills Company" of Deadwood; by the time the project was finished, however, Eisentraut was affiliated with "The Fall River Company," an architectural firm in Hot Springs." Potter County Courthouse, in Historic Places: The National Parks Service, Register of Historic Places lists eight (8) places within Potter County, SD. Accessed July 7, 2017.

d. According to Reference [5], John Philip Eisentraut must have been considered at one point as the architect for the Plainview Carnegie Library in 1908, but its National Register Nomination shows that when the building was built in 1917, the architect was most likely James C. Stitt (1866-1949), Architect.[12]

e. Source # [4] has Eisentraut's death date as May 8, and [13] has his death date as May 1.


1. State Library Commission files.

2. Oliver B. Pollak, Nebraska Courthouses: Contention, Compromise, and Community [Images of America Series] (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 76. [725.1.P771n]

3. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

4. Jim Wilson, Vermillion, South Dakota, to D. Murphy, email, March 20, 2012; information supplied from research in preparation for an article on Eisentraut and his career.

5. Jim Wilson, Vermillion, South Dakota, to D. Murphy, email, March 13, 2012; information supplied from research in preparation for an article on Eisentraut and his career.

6. “John P. Eisentraut,”, accessed April 10, 2012,

7. 1920 United States Census, s.v. “John Eisentrout,” Custer, Custer County, South Dakota, accessed through

8. David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. Buildings of Iowa. (Society of Architectural Historians, Buildings of the United States) New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

9. "How Pierce Secured a Carnegie Library," Pierce Call (November 21, 1940). Fall River Company, Hot Springs, South Dakota, architects. See also, "A Visit to the Past," Lied Pierce Public Library. Accessed July 7, 2017.; and The Western Contractor 20:541 (May 24, 1911): 16.

10. The Western Contractor 20:541 (May 24, 1911): 16. The Fall River Company, Hot Springs, South Dakota, architects.

11. Constant R. Marks, ed. Past and Present of Sioux City and Woodbury County, Iowa. (Chicago: Clarke Publishing Company, 1904): 284, 287.

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

13. "John Philip Eisentraut" FindaGrave Accessed October 16, 2018 via

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “John Philip Eisentraut (1870-1958), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, October 16, 2018. Accessed, July 10, 2020.

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