Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects
This topic is a contribution to the larger theme of Architecture in Nebraska.
This portal to the Historic Nebraska - People, Places and Landscapes wiki site provides access to Nebraska history by the names of architects and listings of their buildings. As one group of professionals responsible for the design and construction of places in Nebraska, these pages also contribute to the larger topic of settlement, linking to the many places that have been created here to facilitate settlement. Because of the role architecture plays in habitation, the cumulative postings will reach into every locale, and connect to most of the state's major historical themes.
A strong material culture and place-based focus initiated the research for this project, and produced an emphasis on the design and construction of buildings and related concerns. Buildings are listed on the pages of each known contributor or participant in its production, delineating, where possible, the roles of each practitioner. The listings include dates, locations, and citations, and will ultimately include links to images, or links to descriptive pages with multiple images. Others will provide access to National Register of Historic Places narratives. Images and other enhancements will be added as the postings mature.
In addition to production, architect pages present background, training, and personal associations that inform the creative, practical, and intellectual relations among architects. The firms and individuals included here prominently reveal the heterogeneity of backgrounds and priorities that characterize practice over the course of the state's first century. The evolution of architectural practice generally follows that of the nation as a whole, as influenced by technological developments and the changing dynamics of apprenticeship, education, professional organization, and business practice. Readers, then, will note the inclusion of carpenters, masons, builders, engineers, superintendents, and others who advertised and functioned as architects in the earlier years alongside those legally defined as architects after passage of the state's registration law in 1937. It is hoped that, in time, other of the aligned architectural trades and professions will be researched and posted in this wiki.
Biographical and other historical information is included as available, with some architects being well-represented in biography. Others will display only the outlines of the practioner’s career. Research is complicated by the need to access local sources, which are scattered all over a very large state. Further complications arise from the national and international nature of the research, not only due to the emigration of foreign-born architects in the early years, but by the establishment of national and international practices by some Nebraska architects in the twentieth century. The establishment of the world wide web is changing access to many sources, but has not and perhaps will not eliminate the need for research in local space.
Readers using this publication will uncover professional genealogies more than personal ones, and while the ultimate goal is the concise profiling of each practioner, users will generally find the entries more a guide to the current knowledge base and a primer for further research than a definitive historical work. It is hoped this publication will spur further interest in the topics presented or implicit here, and lead to additional research and publication.
Scope and content
The core of this publication is a compilation of individual Nebraska architects and architectural firms, both those that were self-defined in the early years, and those regulated by registration in later years. The focus on places designed and built by them, however, takes these pages beyond the local to include others who designed and built here. The terminal date for inclusion in the initial listing is registration by the year 2000, producing an index of approximately 2300 names. This surprisingly large figure reflects work done over a 150-year period, the numbers of non-Nebraska architects who built here, the dynamic evolution of local architectural firms over the years, and the expansion of architectural practice, especially since 1950, as the state’s population became increasingly urban. The inclusion of the more recent registrants in the index opens a window to the next generation of research.
Individual pages range from those with only skeletal levels of information to those that are quite extensive. In addition to buildings, background, associations and biography, posted data potentially includes education, study travel, publications, exhibitions, and honors and awards, with notes and references to support the data. Better information is generally available for architects and firms who practiced in earlier times, those who have designed buildings that have been selected for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or those that have been subject of other scholarly research. More is likewise known about contemporary firms that have widely promoted their output.
Please refer to the format and contents page for important details on scope and content, and on how the compilation was assembled and arranged.
The content of this wiki publication began as a working file initiated by the principal investigator in 1975. That effort was supplemental to the establishment of a systematic Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey for the state historic preservation division. No source on architectural practice in Nebraska was then available. The compilation began as a humble card file. Information was added as it came to light until about 1990, when the project languished; all active participants in the effort had by then taken other jobs. The cards were retrieved early in 2005, beginning an effort to put the material into a more useful and publicly-available form. Work since that time has been more systematic in nature, as time has allowed; the final push to bring this to publication began again in 2011.
Multiple contributors have enhanced this project. Work benefitted greatly in the 1970s and 1980s from contributions made by historic preservation historians Penelope Chatfield Sodhi and Janet Jeffries, and historic preservation intern architect James D. Fagler. Building data was significantly expanded due to the research and contributions of Lincoln and Omaha historic preservation planners, Edward F. Zimmer and Lynn Meyer, respectively, both of whom are direct contributors to this publication. Other direct contributors include historical society architectural historian, Diane Laffin, and Nebraska state historic preservation associate, Patrick Haynes. Thanks also go to state historic preservation office administrators and staff, Bob Puschendorf, Teresa Fatemi, Jill Dolberg, and Grant Landreth for assistance. Other contributors are acknowledged in citation on individual pages of this publication.
Since coming online, the project has also benefited from multiple external contributions, all of which are acknowledged on the respective pages. Special thanks goes to George Haecker of BVH Architects, and to the staff and management of Restoration Exchange Omaha (REO) for multiple contributions concerning Omaha practitioners. Particular mention needs to be made of REO architectural historians Patrick Thompson and Matt Pelz, and historian Brian Whetstone.
Many have provided assistance in data entry, collation of materials, library research, and other support. These include Nebraska State Historical Society volunteers Ray Tiemeyer, Jason Gilmore, James Schurr, Alan and Mary Lou Eastman, Kara Harms, and master image-scanner, Von A. Innes; and work study students Kylie Morrison-Sloat, Kylie Kinley, Kelly McIlvride, Karla Pick, Samantha Hogan, Carlos Velasco, Anna Poudel, and Lydia Allen. Dale Bacon and Dell Darling, digital imaging specialists at the historical society, did other of the image scanning for the project. David Bristow was instrumental in giving the project publication priority, Lynne M. Ireland facilitated its movement into publication, and Tom Mooney and Karen Keehr helped to make archives and photographic collections materials available for use. Finally, Nick Hennecke set up and customized the wiki site and provided links to the best tutorials for use by wiki participants, and Jay Shaeffer has continued to facilitate IT needs.
Index - Contents
Browse architects by firm or surname
The names included herein represent all those identified through sources, as stated above. The posting of pages is ongoing, and is prioritized for those in practice fifty or more years ago; the more contemporary practitioners will be posted when practical. Live links, of course, lead to posted pages; dead links indicate pages in queue. Names that do not presently show links are either recent practitioners, or very little other than the name is presently known. In the latter cases, the names will only be recorded in this index, at least until such time as research justifies otherwise.
The following selections are illustrative of the scope of this publication, from fully developed pages through those that vary widely in their stage of development. The samples will provide readers an idea of what to expect while navigating this publication.
Contact the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office with questions or comments concerning this page, including any problems you may have with broken links (see, however, the Disclaimers link at the bottom of this page). Please provide the URL to this page with your inquiry.