Knox F. Burnett (1903-1943), Architect

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Omaha, 1924-1925, and Lincoln, Nebraska, 1925-1933, 1942-1943

The only son of the Dr. Edgar Albert Burnett, chancellor of the University of Nebraska, Knox F. Burnett was born on August 19, 1903.[1] He graduated from the the University of Nebraska first in 1920, then again in 1924 with a major in architectural engineering.[1] He subsequently became a civil engineer for the Latenser firm of Omaha, and the following year returned to Lincoln to work for Davis & Wilson, Architects.[1]

From 1928-1929, Burnett served as the business manager of the "Lincoln Little Symphony."[1][6] He married Lela Randall on June 15, 1929.[1] The couple moved to New York in 1933 so that Burnett could work for the architectural firm Parsons-Clapp-Binkerhoff-Douglas.[1] In 1940, Burnett traveled to Trinidad, Port of Spain and the Caribbean, doing work for the American government.[1] He returned to Lincoln to work with the Olson Construction Company.[1]

Burnett was a member of the American Association of Engineers; the Knights of the Order of King Carol; and the First-Plymouth Congregational Church.[1]

He died August 13, 1943 and was survived by his mother, Nellie Burnett; his wife, Lela; and one son, Knox Robert.[1]

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.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1934

Educational & Professional Associations

1924-1925: civil engineer, John Latenser & Sons, Architects, Omaha, Nebraska.[1]

1925-1933: architect, Davis & Wilson, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

1933-1939: architect, Parsons-Clapp-Binkerhoff-Douglas, Architects, New York.[1]

1940-1942, defense work in British West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Antigua.[1][7]

1942-1943: architect, Olson Construction Company, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

Buildings & Projects


Stuart Theatre (1927-1929), southeast corner of 13th & P, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

Gold’s Building (1929-1930), 1033 O Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

E. J. Junge House (1930), 1035 Fall Creek Road, Lincoln, Nebraska.[2]

Revised original specifications for First-Plymouth Church (1930), 2000 D Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[3][a]

Burnett House (1932), 2545 Van Dorn Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4]

"Executive head of engineering & architectural division," New York World’s Fair, New York.[1][5][b]


Lincoln Water Plant, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

University Buildings, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

North Platte Project.[1]


a. In January of 1930, to keep costs within the $500,000 limit originally set by the congregation, a building committee member reported "Certain specifications...are being adapted at the present time to western methods of building whereby further considerable economies can be effected. This adjustment of bids to specifications that have been Lincolnized is a decided advantage to both the church and western contractors." Knox Burnett of the Davis & Wilson firm of Lincoln assisted the committee in this effort "...and said that a considerable saving over the original figures would be possible by adopting local building practices. This can be done without any detriment to the working efficiency or the esthetic merit of the plans."[3]

b. A Lincoln newspaper reported in 1939 that "Knox Burnett...has been made a Knight of the Crown of Rumania for his work in connection with the New York world's fair..." Burnett noted that he "appreciates the honor even if I never get to Rumania to take advantage of it."5]


1. “Knox Burnett Dies After Long Illness,” Lincoln Star (August 13, 1943), 1:7.

2. City of Lincoln Building Permit #19051, issued May 20, 1930, estimated cost of construction $10,000; W. G. Fullagar, contractor.

3. "Build New Church Within Limit Set--First-Plymouth People Hear Report," Lincoln (Nebraska) Evening Journal (January 16, 1930), 15.

4. City of Lincoln Building Permit #20780, issued September 13, 1932, estimated cost of construction $3,000; Knox F. Burnett, architect, contractor, owner.

5. "Knox Burnett Gets Accolade of King Carol," Evening State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) (November 6, 1939), 7.

6. "Knox Burnett is Named Manager Little Symphony," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (March 28, 1928), 14.

7. "Knox Burnett family now in New York City," Evening State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) (August 31, 1942), 5.

Page Citation

D. Murphy & E. F. Zimmer, “Knox F. Burnett (1903-1943), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, June 28, 2019. Accessed, October 16, 2019.

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