Lawrence Albert Enersen (1909-1983), Architect and Landscape Architect

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Lincoln, Nebraska, 1946-1983

Lawrence Albert Enersen was born in Lamberton, Minnesota on July 5, 1909 to Albert and Ethel Enersen.[1][9][10] In 1931, around the age of 22, Enersen earned his Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College, and his Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University in 1935, where he was also awarded the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship.[1] While at Harvard, Enersen wrote a Modernist Manifesto which outlined his post Beaux Arts modernistic views. He also worked at the Mt. Vernon Site with one of his Harvard Professors during his time at Harvard.[10] Subsequently, Enersen participated in study-travel through Europe from 1936-1937. Upon finishing his travels, Enersen practiced in the offices of Fletcher Steele and Frederick Law Olmstead, in New York, until 1939. It was at this time he married Eleanor Vail and took up work at BAC for Cassiere.[10]

A year following, Enersen became a faculty member at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, as well as the Boston Architectural Center, until 1945. Another notable aspect of Enersen’s teaching career includes his time as a faculty member at the Universities of North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Nebraska, from 1942-1979.[1] He took a break from architecture from 1943 to 1946 to serve as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.[9] It was in Lincoln, Nebraska where Enersen established his architectural firm, Clark & Enersen, in 1946. With some changes in partnership, Enersen continued with his independent practice until his death. He met partner Kenneth Clark at Harvard, who had convinced him to move to Lincoln. Clark later said about Enersen, "It soon became clear to me that he saw things differently than most. Wherever Larry went, he could not resist seeing the possibility for improvement in the environment."[24]

Enersen’s career achievements were substantial and numerous; he was the only individual to be recognized as a Fellow in both the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects.[12] Enersen was also involved in a myriad of civic and philanthropic endeavors, serving as President, Chairman or Co-Chair of the Lancaster County Mental Health Association, the Mayor’s Committee on Human Relations, the Better Lincoln Committee, the Mayor’s Committee on Urban Design and Natural Beauty, the Lincoln Arts Council, the Corps of Engineers Advisory Council on Environment, the Wilderness Park Committee, the Old City Hall Committee, the Professional Advisory Council of the University of Nebraska College of Architecture, Area of Excellence Program, and the Neihardt Fellow Program.[1][7][17] In addition to his already expansive resume, Enersen was also a member of the Masons, A.S.L.A., Lincoln Communtiy Playhouse Foundation, Lincoln Sertoma Club, Lincoln Housing Authority, Nebraska Roadside Council, Arbor Day Foundation, and the Capitol Murals Commission.[1][9]

Enersen died in 1983, survived by his wife, Eleanor, and his sons David, Stephen and Philip, as well as four grandchildren.[1] At the time of his death, an award was created in Enersen's honor by the National Arbor Day Foundation, which is presented each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the planting of trees.[16] A bronze plaque was erected in his honor at the east entrance to the City-County Building during the dedication of the Lincoln Mall, which he designed, in April of 1983.[13] It says in part: “…one of Lincoln’s greatest champions of improving life through architectural quality, design excellence, and environmental order.”[2][4]

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

1927-1931: student at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.[15]

1931: Bachelor of Arts, Carleton College.[1][9][15][16]

1935: Master of Liberal Arts, Harvard University Graduate School of Design.[1][8][9][16]

1935: awarded the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship, Harvard University.[8][16]

1935: American Houses, Inc., New York.[15]

1935: draftsman, New York City Park Department, New York.[15]

1935-1936: research, Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Mount Vernon, Virginia.[15]

1936-1937: study travel in Europe.[5]

1937-1938: Boston Architectural Club.[15]

1937-1939: designer-draftsman for the Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects, in Brookline, Massachusetts.[15]

1938-1939: designer for the office of M.J. Williams, Alexandria, Virgina.[15]

1940: designer for Fletcher Steele, Landscape Architects, in Boston, Massachusetts.[15]

1940-1942: instructor, University of Michigan College of Architecture.[9][15]

1940-1945: faculty, University of Michigan, Harvard, and Boston Architectural Center.[5][8][e][f]

1942-1943: assistant professor, Harvard University.[9]

1943-1946: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, World War II.[9][16]

1946: architect and partner, Clark & Enersen, Architects; February 1, 1946.[5]

1946-1962: architect, landscape architect, and partner, Clark & Enersen, Lincoln, Nebraska.[5]

1948-1952: professor, University of North Carolina.[9][e]

1962-1970: architect, landscape architect and partner, Clark & Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska.

1971-1976: architect, landscape architect and partner, Clark & Enersen, Hamersky, Schlaebitz, Burroughs & Thomsen, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska.

1977-1983: head of landscape architecture, The Clark Enersen Partners, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska.[5][22]

Architectural Study Travel

Charles Eliot Travel Fellowship (1936-1937).[9]

Foreign Travel: Europe, Africa.[9]

Principal Works

Enersen's work was all accomplished on behalf of the firm that bore his name, Clark & Enersen, et seq. See the Clark & Enersen buildings and projects lists for more information.


Hebron Public School (1954), Hebron, Nebraska.[9][a]

Harvard Public School (1955), Harvard, Nebraska.[9][a]

Hastings Public School (1955), Hastings, Nebraska.[9][a]

Lincoln Clinic (1956), Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][a]

Arnold School (1959), Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][a][b]

1st Continental National Drive-in Bank (1960), NE corner 13th and L Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][a]

Capehart Housing. Air Force Academy, AA (1960), with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Bellevue, Nebraska.[9]

Student Center, Peru State Teachers College (1960), Peru, Nebraska.[9][a]

Student Center, Chadron State Teachers College (1961), Chadron, Nebraska.[9][a]

Master Plan College of Agriculture, University of Nebraska (1961), Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][a]

First National Bank Building (1961), with Davis & Wilson, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][a]

C.Y. Thompson Library (1963), University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][c]

Peru State College Student Center, Dorms & Art Center (1968), Peru, Nebraska.[9][c]

County-City Building (1969), with Hemphill 6 Vierk, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][c]

Centennial Mall (1969), Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][c]

Lincoln Mall (1983), J Street between Capitol and the County-City Building, Lincoln, Nebraska [1][18][19][d]


Centennial Mall (n.d.), 15th St., Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][8][14][16][18][19][20]

13th Street beautification project (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][8]

Lincoln Foundation Gardens (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][8][16][20

Folsom Children's Zoo (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][8][16][19]

Wilderness Park (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][16][19][20]

Lincoln Community Playhouse Theatre (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][19]

Pioneers Park, Pinewood Bowl Stage (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][19][20]

Crescent Green Park Concept (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][8][16]

Interstate 180 Park (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

John G. Neihardt Museum (n.d.), Bancroft, Nebraska.[1]

The Apple House (n.d.), Arbor Lodge, Nebraska City, Nebraska.[1]

House Beaut (n.d.), 48th and A, Lincoln, Nebraska.[10]

Lawrence Enersen Foundation Garden (n.d.), downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. [16]


Award of Merit, A.A.S.A. (1955), Harvard Pubic School.[9]

St. Elizabeth Hospital Service Award (1971).[23]

Contributor to The Nebraska Capitol and Environs Plan (1975).[6]

Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award (1977).[23]

First Award—Urban Design and Planning, P/A 25th Annual Awards Competition, Progressive Architecture (January, 1978).[6]

Honorary Degree from Doane College (1979).[16][23]

Governor's Art Award (1980).[16]

Harry F. Cunningham Award, AIA (1995).[16]


a. These were done on behalf of Clark & Enersen.

b. With William D. Schlaebitz.

c. These were done on behalf of Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen.

d. This was done on behalf of The Clark Enersen Partners.

e. Citation [1] also has him teaching at North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Nebraska between 1942-1979.

f. Citation [8] has him teaching at the University of North Carolina as well.


1. “Lawrence Enersen dies: noted architect was 74,” Lincoln Journal (July 9, 1983): 1.

2. “Enersen’s legacy seen everywhere,” Sunday Lincoln Journal (July 10, 1983): 2B.

3. “Mall Architect Enersen Praised During Dedication,” Lincoln Journal (April 22, 1983): 1.

4. “The Garden Larry Built,” Sunday Lincoln Journal (April 17, 1983): 1B.

5. Dennis Scheer and Kent Munster, “The Clark Enersen Partners: Six Decades of Design,” Preservation Association of Lincoln, Brownbag Lecture Series, Museum of Nebraska History (April 8, 2003).

6. “State Capitol Plan Wins First Award,” Arch@UNL #10 (Winter 1978).

7. “Professional Advisory Council, College of Architecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln,” (Lincoln: n.d).

8. “An Interview with Lawrence Enersen,” Arch@UNL #6 (Fall 1976).

9.The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects, s.v. “Lawrence Albert Enersen,” (ahd1012725), (accessed February 3, 2017).

10. Cary Thomsen, “The Invisible Landscape Architect-Larry Enersen FASLA, FAIA (1909-1983),” Preservation Association of Lincoln, Brown Bag Lecture, Nebraska State Historical Society (February 12, 2008).

11. Rodd Cayton, “Partners Filter Clients’ Dreams Through Workers’ Diverse Skills,” Lincoln Journal Star (December 18, 2003).

12. City of Lincoln and Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, “Dedication of Lincoln Mall” (Lincoln, April 22, 1983).

13. NEBCO, “Chronology of NEBCO Activity on the Lincoln Mall,” (Lincoln, May 1, 2003).

14. Kathryn Cates Moore, “Building on the Past: Architecture in Lincoln Strengthens the fabric of the City,” Lincoln Journal Star May 23, 2004, 1K.

15. “From the Files,” The Nebraska Professional Newsletter of the State Board of Examiners for Engineers and Architects (August 1996), 5.

16. Kyle MacMillan, “Enersen's Projects Left an Enduring Legacy,” Sunday World Herald (September 17, 1995), 6R.

17. “Neihardt post to Enersen,” Lincoln Journal (November 4, 1978), 3; 5-6.

18. Kathryn Cates Moore, “Building on the Past,” Lincoln Journal Star (May 23, 2004). 1K-2K.

19. Glenda Peterson, “New Lincoln Mall debuts on Friday,” Sunday Journal Star (April 17, 1983), 1B.

20. Matt Truell, “Mall architect Enersen praised during dedication,” Lincoln Journal (April 22, 1983), 1,12.

21. NEBCO, “1 Landmark Centre” (May 1, 2003).

22. Ryan R. Horner, The Clark Enersen Partners: 50 Years of Design [in three parts]. [Lincoln: The Clark Enersen Partners, ca. 1996].

23. "Lawrence Albert Enersen", Nebraska State Historical Society (June 29, 2009). Accessed on November 12, 2014 at

24. "Larry Enersen:1909-1983", Dimensions: Journal for Architecture and Planning, (October 1983), 4:4.

Other Sources

Lawrence Albert Enersen, Nebraska State Historical Society Official Nebraska Government Website, (June 2009), accessed November 2014 at

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Lawrence Albert Enersen (1909-1983), Architect and Landscape Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, February 5, 2019. Accessed, December 7, 2022.

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