Smith & Tyler, Architects

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Lincoln, Nebraska, 1880-1883


G. A. C. Smith, Architect, Lincoln, Nebraska

James Tyler, Lincoln, Nebraska

Smith & Tyler worked together on Lincoln's U. S. Courthouse and Post Office in the late 1870s, with Smith directing the work as superintendent of construction and Tyler serving as "master mechanic." With that building completed in 1879, they organized an architectural partnership in 1880, although Andreas stated in 1882 that they had been engaged in similar work separately previous to that time.[1][a]

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, 1880-1883

Educational & Professional Associations

James Tyler & Son, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska

Tyler & Brandt, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska

Tyler, Brandt & Tyler, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska

Buildings & Projects


State Journal Building (1880-1881), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4][9][d]

Quick's Block (1880), corner of 10th & P, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][3][9][a][d]

Extension of Commercial Hotel (ca. 1880), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][a]

Leighton & Brown's Wholesale Drug House (1880), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][9][d]

Veith Building (1880) 909 O Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][9][d]

Grimes Building (1880), 926 P Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][6]

L. E. Cropsey house (c. 1880), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

Windsor Hotel (c. 1880), Seward, Nebraska.[1]

City Block (c. 1880), Pawnee City, Nebraska.[1]

Dave Stevenson house (c. 1880), Falls City, Nebraska.[1]

C. M. Leighton house (c. 1880), Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

"Second Ward" (Park Elementary) School (c. 1880-1882), 8th & F Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][10]

Aaron S. Raymond house (1881), 1642 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4]

Walsh & Putnam's addition to the Academy of Music (1881), 11th & O, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4]

Fitzgerald Block (1881), east side of 10th between O and P, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4]

Humphrey Brothers Hardware Store (1881), O Street at 9th, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4][5][b]

Webster & McMurtry Block (1881), 11th & M, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4][c]

Osborne's three-story, brick warehouse (1881), 8th & O, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4]

First Ward (T Street Elementary) School (1881), 9th & T, Lincoln, Nebraska.[4][10]

Phillips & Barnes Building (1881), 10th between P & Q, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4]

Burr & Muir Block (1881), west side of 9th Street, north of P, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][4]

Opera House project (c. 1882), Fairbury, Nebraska.[1]

Opera house with upper floors housing Jefferson County Courthouse (1882), Fairbury, Nebraska [1][11][e]

Carlos C. Burr house (1883), 1530 L Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][2][7][8]


a. The Daily State Journal of March 6, 1880, reported that T. P. Quick "let the contract, yesterday, for the erection of a three-story brick business house, on the corner of P and Tenth streets, to Col. Smith, ex-Superintendent of the Government building, and his partner, James Tyler." The paper goes on to mention that "The third floor will be divided into small rooms, and in all probability leased to Mr. Imhoff of the Commercial [hotel], for lodging rooms..." The cost was stated as $9,500.[3]

b. Reportedly the "Largest Hall in Lincoln" (in 1881) "will be located in the third story of the Humphrey Brothers' new building on the corner of O and Ninth streets."[5]

c. Andreas identifies Smith & Tyler as architects of the Webster & McMurtry (aka Courthouse) Block, while a more contemporary source of 1882 credited them with superintending its construction, according to designs by J. J. Butler.[1][4]

d. Nebraska State Journal reported in mid-1880 "We paid a visit yesterday afternoon to the rooms of Smith & Tyler, architects, and examined the plans and specifications for the contemplated business houses of The Journal Co., Veith, Leighton & Brown, Quick, and others. Mr. Smith informed us that the firm is head over heels in business and more coming in every day."[9] The building for "Veith" presumably was Henry Veith's hardware store at 909 O Street, not his brother Louis' grocery store, extant (in 2022) at 814 P Street, with the date "1884" on its cornice.(EFZ)

e. Andreas offers an extensive list of Smith & Tyler projects in his History of the State of Nebraska of 1882, including 22 completed buildings or wings, then adds "They are now preparing plans for C. C. Burr's residence, C. M. Leighton's residence, Second Ward School, opera house and courthouse, at Fairbury, and many other smaller buildings." He notes that all of this work was carried out in the last two years, except for the earlier Post Office and additions to the State Insane Asylum. The confusing reference to "opera house and courthouse, at Fairbury" reflects a unique moment in Jefferson County history. The National Register nomination for the Jefferson County Courthouse of 1890-1892 explains that when the county outgrew its original "small two story brick building erected in 1873...the county offices were moved into the top two floors of the 'Opera House' which had just been built in November of 1882."[1][11]


1. A. T. Andreas, History of the State of Nebraska, "Wholesale and Manufacturing Establishments...Smith & Tyler, architects and builders...," (Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1882), 1056. Accessed November 15, 2022 on-line at

2. Jim McKee, “Lincoln’s fabulous Burrs for all seasons,” Lincoln Journal-Star (June 24, 2012), D7.

3. "The First Gun. The First Contract this Season, for the Erection of a Business House, Let to Smith & Tyler," Daily (Lincoln, Nebraska) State Journal (March 6, 1880), 4.

4. "The Year 1881. It is a Successful and Booming One for the Capital City of Nebraska. A Review of Its Building Interests and Other Industries. Nearly $600,000 Expended in Business Building During the Past Year. The Value of Realty Upon which the Magnificent Business Block Rest is Fully $200,000," Lincoln (Nebraska) Daily News, (January 2, 1882), 4.

5. "The Largest Hall in Lincoln," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (March 29, 1881), 4.

6. (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (April 7, 1880), 4; Advertisement for "Grimes' Stove Store, 936 P st., north side of P. O. Square," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (June 10, 1883), 8.

7. "C. C. Burr's Residence. A Handsome Residence Beautifully Adorned," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (April 13, 1884), 4.

8. "A Building Boom. A A Brief Mention of the Principal Improvements in the City This Year...The C. C. Burr mansion on the corner of L and Sixteenth...without a doubt this is the finest residence erected in Lincoln for several years...Completed will cost $25,000," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal(December 11, 1883), 6:4,5.

9. "The City...We paid a visit yesterday to the rooms of Smith & Tyler, architects...," (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal (July 13, 1880), 4:2.

10. Charles Yost, "Extracts from Board of Education Minutes," typescript, Lincoln Public Schools Archives, 25-27.

ll. Persijs Kolberg, "Jefferson County Court House...Fairbury, Nebraska" (a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places), 1972, accessed on-line November 15, 2022, at

Page Citation

D. Murphy & E. F. Zimmer, “Smith & Tyler, Architects,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, November 15, 2022. Accessed, July 22, 2024.

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