Nebraska Building & Investment Co., Architects

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Lincoln, Nebraska, 1916-1920

Nebraska Building & Investment Company was incorporated in February 1916 as a vertically integrated company for purposes of the finance, design, and construction of "Better Homes" and other buildings.[3] Fred. E. Schaaf was president. Advertisements by the Nebraska Building & Investment stated "Our architect is at your service free of charge, in case we construct your building."[18] At least three designers have been identified as the company's architect, only one of whom, J. W. Salmon, is known to have had an extensive architectural practice separate from his brief tenure with this company. Schaaf also organized an associated business by 1917, Nebraska Hotel Company, to build hotels in several Nebraska communities.[4] Nebraska Hotel Company acquired interest in such substantial, existing hotels as the Lincoln Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska and Hotel Fontenelle in Omaha.[19] Both of Schaaf's companies went bankrupt in the early 1920s, resulting in a flood of litigation.[12][13][14] Among the claims were that the two companies created "paper" profits by selling various hotel properties between themselves for false values.[20] Schaaf was convicted of securities and banking crimes and sentenced to a year in prison.[15]

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

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1917-1920

Educational & Professional Associations

1916, John R. Kruse, listed as architect for Nebraska Building & Investment Company.[5][c]

1917, Arthur Bandy, architect, signed plans for Nebraska Building & Investment Company's Oikema Apartments.[10][11][12][d]

1918, J. W. Salmon, architect in charge of "The Architectural and Building Department of The Nebraska Building and Investment Company."[1][2][a][b]

Buildings & Projects

Birkner House (1916), 2009 Sewell, Lincoln, Nebraska. (LC13:D05-227)

Sorensen House (1916), 2451 Park Ave., Lincoln, Nebraska. (LC13:D05-360)

Remodeling bungalow for Dell B. Justice (1916), 3052 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][6][a][c]

Oikema Apartments (1916-1917), 12th & R Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][9][10][a][d]

Lincoln Hotel, garage, theater and bank building (1917-1918), Table Rock, Nebraska.[1][17][a]

Lincoln Hotel (1917-1918), 519 15th Avenue, Franklin, Nebraska.[1][a][b]

Lincoln Hotel (1917-1918), 1421 Broadway, Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[12][e] (SF11-211)

Silver Lynx Fraternity House (1917), 348 N. 14th (SE corner 14th & R), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][22][a]

R. W. Johnson house (ca. 1917), probably Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][a]

E. O. Gregg house (1919), 2400 C Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[23]

Miller House (1919), 2425 South St., Lincoln, Nebraska. (LC13:D05-055)


a. Two-page advertisement for Nebraska Building and Investment Company of Lincoln includes photo of "Mr. Jos. W. Salmon, architect," noting "The Architectural and Building Department of The Nebraska Building and Investment Company is in personal charge of one of the most alert and competent architects in the middle west in the person of Jos. W. Salmon." Eight buildings of the company are also included in the advertisement. Only one of these buildings (Hotel Lincoln in Franklin) has so far been documented as a Salmon project, while other designers are associated with some of the other projects of the company. [1]

b. The design of Lincoln Hotel (sometimes Hotel Lincoln) was credited to J. W. Salmon in The Bridgemen's Magazine of 1917. The building in Franklin, Nebraska is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

c. A 1916 article on the Company mentions J. H. Krause as the firm's architect. One of the projects listed (and illustrated) in a 1918 advertisement for the Company is a bungalow at 3052 R Street, for which a building permit of 1916 for a remodeling lists the contractor as J. R. Kruse. The Lincoln city directories list John R. Kruse (wife Grace) as a draftsman. By 1930 John and Grace had relocated to Pleasant Grove, Iowa, where he worked as a building contractor.[1][5][6][7][8]

d. Little has been found about Arthur Bandy beyond his association with Lincoln-based building projects in 1916-1917. Bandy and his wife Eileen were listed in the Lincoln City Directory of 1917, their sole entry in those publications. He was listed as foreman for M. C. Shurtleff, a developer and owner of apartment houses. Bandy was listed as architect on Shurtleff's building permit application of August 1916 for a 4-story concrete and brick apartment house at 1341-1345 H Street, and "A. Bandy, Architect" was inscribed on the building plans.[21] Bandy signed as architect on plans for Nebraska Building & Investment Company's Oikema Apartments at 345 N. 12th Street in December 1916.[10] A. Bandy is also credited as the architect of the Lincoln Hotel in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[11][12]

e. When the Nebraska Building & Investment Company and the Nebraska Hotel Company became embroiled in litigation in 1921, architect Salmon "former architect of the Building and Investment company, was called to the witness stand. He said the Lincoln hotel at Scotts Bluff, owned by the two corporations, cost more than it should have on account of the lack of finances. Mr. Salmon also said the base of the Scottsbluff hotel was faulty in construction, and was not made according to his plans."[12]


1. "Nebraska Building and Investment Company" advertisement, Sunday State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) (March 3, 1918), A6-7 (illustrated, two-page spread).

2. "Nebraska....Franklin.--Hotel. Nebraska Bldg. & Investment Co. had plans prepared by J. W. Salmon, architect...Lincoln...About $50,000," The Bridgemen's Magazine (October 1917), XVII:10, 560.

3. "Builds Homes and Loans on Realty--Nebraska Building and Investment Firm Operates in Broad Field," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (August 12, 1917), 10 (State Fair Section).

4. "Big Building Enterprise--Lincoln the Home of One of the Largest and Best Building and Investment Institutions in Nebraska--High Class Men, High Class Business" and "The Nebraska Hotel Company," Lincoln (Nebraska) Herald (March 15, 1918), 1 & 2.

5. "'Better Homes' is Company's Slogan--Nebraska Building and Investment Company Fills Its Mission--Builds to Meet the Exact Wishes of Particular People," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (August 13, 1916), 6 (Society Section).

6. City of Lincoln Building Permit #6655, remodeling, J. R. Kruse, contractor.

7. Find a Grave website illustrates the gravestone of John R. Kruse (1860--1944) and Grace A. Kruse (1865-1953) in Pleasantville Cemetery, Pleasantville, Iowa. Accessed April 21, 2018 at via U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

8. 1930 United States Federal Census, s.v. "John R. Kruse" and spouse "Grace," [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.

9. "Want Pound Loaf Again" [report of meeting of City Commissioners], (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (November 14, 1916), 3 (mentions F. E. Schaaf plans to build $30,000 apartment house of four stories at 14th & R Streets).

10. City of Lincoln Building Permit #6899, issued December 26, 1916, with associated plans signed "A. Bandy, Architect."

11. District Court foreclosures, (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (February 2, 1917), 5 (German Building & Loan association vs. Arthur Bandy et al); Real estate transactions, (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (June 10, 1917), 27 (Arthur Bandy & wife to Nebraska Bldg & Inv. Co.).

12. "Lohmeyer Would Surrender Stock--Hotel Director Says He is 'Sick and Tired of Litigation.' Architect Salmon Declares Scottsbluff Hotel Not up to Requirements," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (April 27, 1921), 1.

13. "Barkley Claims Stockholders to Lose Everything--Receiver for Hotel Properties Appointed by Morning Says Sale was Best Move. Under Latest Supreme Court Decision Fearful Investors Will Lose Every Cent," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (June 30, 1922), 2 & 7.

14. "Unhappiness All Around--Hotel Stockholders Hold a Lodge of Sorrow. Nebraska Building and Investment Affairs Are in a Bad Way and a Compromise May Be Possible," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (October 17, 1922), 1.

15. "Hotel Case Near An End--Mr. Eppley Makes New Bid for the Properties. Less than His First Offer. No Other Bidders Appearing the Creditors Insist Upon Accepting--Stockholders Have Little Left," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, (December 9, 1923), 1 & 12.

16. Clayton B. Fraser, "Lincoln Hotel," (nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, 1997, listed February 6, 1998); see also "Lincoln Hotel," Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary, Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, accessed on-line April 21, 2018, at

17. "The Lincoln Hotel" and "Lincoln Hotel Block," Table Rock Historical Society, with historic images, accessed on-line April 21, 2018 at and

18. "Financial Statement February 28, 1917 The Nebraska Building and Investment Company" (advertisement), Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (March 11, 1917), 3.

19. "New Syndicate Takes Over Hotels--Lincoln and Old Capital Site Passes to Control of Nebraska Hotel Co. Will Build New Building at Eleventh and P Within Next Year," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (September 1, 1917), 1.

20. "Calls for Showdown--Judge Morning Tells Litigants in Nebraska Building and Investment Company to Agree on Manager. Otherwise will Appoint Receiver--Court Outlines Views on Case and Roundly Scores Management--Says Company Profited on Transfers of Property," Lincoln (Nebraska) Star (January 27, 1921), 1.

21. City of Lincoln Building Permit #6721, issued August 8, 1916; estimated cost $30,000.

22. City of Lincoln Building Permit #7107, issued May 31, 1917; estimated cost $7,000.

23. City of Lincoln Building Permit #7738, issued March 20, 1919; estimated cost $4,000.

Page Citation

D. Murphy & E. F. Zimmer “Nebraska Building & Investment Co., Architects,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, February 25, 2019. Accessed, October 31, 2020.

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