Otto John Hehnke (1870-1944), Architect

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Scottsbluff-Gering, Nebraska, 1892-1944

DBA: O. J. Hehnke Company, Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Otto J. Hehnke, ca. 1938
Otto John Henke was born on May 29, 1870 in Hamburg, Germany.[3] He came to America with his parents, arriving in Grand Island in 1881.[3] Henke learned the ways of carpentry from his father and practiced his skills under the employ of Rittenhouse & Bragg.[3] His formal education occurred at the Grand Island Academy of Architecture and Building, and architecture schools in St. Louis and Chicago.[3] Hehnke married Pauline M. Schultz in Grand Island of April 14, 1894; they went on to have eight children, including the Scottsbluff-Gering architect Arthur Hehnke.[3] He was construction superintendent for the Standard Beet Sugar Company in Aimes from 1899-1906, designing sugar mills and housing for the workers.[3] Back in Scottsluff, Hehnke built the town's first brick building sometime before 1910.[3] As an architect, he was known for designing many schools.[3] Hehnke was the organizer and charter member of the Scottsbluff Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Elks Lodge, a member and former director of the Nebraska Architects Association, and a member of the Methodist Church.[3] He died in 1944.[4]

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

Scottsbluff-Gering, Nebraska, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1926-1928, 1938-1943

Educational & Professional Associations

1882-1886: student, Grand Island Public Schools, Grand Island, Nebraska.[3]

1888-1890: office work and drafting, Rittenhouse & Bragg, Contractors, Grand Island, Nebraska.[3][a]

1890-1892: student, Academy of Architecture and Building, St. Louis, Missouri.[3][b]

1892-1899: draftsman and construction, Hehnke ___ Company, Grand Island, Nebraska.[3][c]

1899-1906: draftsman and construction superintendent, Standard Sugar Company, Leavitt [Ames], Nebraska.[3][d]

1906-1908: draftsman and construction superintendent, Tri-State Land Company, Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[3]

1908-1910: architect and contractor, Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[3][d]

1910-1944: principal, O. J. Hehnke Company, Architects, Scottsbluff-Gering, Nebraska.[3]

1935: associated with Wayne K. Harrison (1909-1951), Architect.

1938: Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, August 26, 1938; A-68.[3]

Buildings & Projects


Union Block (ca. 1910), Gering, Nebraska.[1]

Fontenelle Apartments (1917, 1941), 1424 4th Ave, Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[2] (SF11-165) National Register narrative

Public Library Addition (1936), Scottsbluff, Nebraska. (SF11-010)


Scottsbluff High School (n.d.), Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[3][d]

Longfellow School (n.d.), Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[3][d]

Theodore Roosevelt School (n.d.), Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[3][d]


a. Evening work; during the day he worked construction.[3]

b. Attended Bryant and Fulton Business College, St. Louis, during the evenings.[3]

c. The second name of the company is given in illegible handwriting; the first available directory for Grand Island is 1903; listed therein is a Hehnke Company, hardware.

d. See undated obituary attached to Hehnke’s State Board file.[3]


1. Gering Courier (February 4, 1910), 1 [front elevation drawing].

2. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

3. Application for Registration to Practice Professional Engineering and Architecture, Nebraska State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Architects, November 5, 1937 Nebraska State Historical Society RG081 SG2.

4. “Arthur Hehnke, Sr.,” Scottsbluff Star Herald (August 31, 1980), 11:1.

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Otto John Hehnke (1870-1944), 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, September 30, 2022.

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