Difference between revisions of "William Donald Schlaebitz (1924-2011), Architect"

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c. These projects were done on behalf of [[Clark & Enersen, Architects|Clark & Enersen]].
c. These projects were done on behalf of [[Clark & Enersen, Architects|Clark & Enersen]].
d. This building was designed on behalf of  [[Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen, Architects and Engineers|Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen]].
d. This building was designed on behalf of  [[Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen, Architects|Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen]].

Revision as of 10:55, 15 September 2016

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1954-1987

William Schlaebitz was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on April 9, 1924, to William A. and Ruth Schlaebitz. Before studying architecture, Schlaebitz worked as a navigator for the U.S. Air Force from 1943-45, after which he became a student architect with Clark & Enersen until 1947. He received his Bachelor of Arts and his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1949.[3][5][6][7][a] He then became a draftsman for Clark & Enersen. In 1954, Schlaebitz was made an architect in the firm, staying there until 1956, when he opened his own practice, Wight & Schlaebitz, Architects. Schlaebitz left this firm to return to Clark & Enersen, with whom he stayed for the rest of his career. He reached the position of vice president of the firm's board before he retired. Schlaebitz specialized in designing schools, churches, and banks.

In his personal life, Schlaebitz was married for 53 years to Shirley Brigham, with whom he raised four children. Schlaebitz was a volunteer to many community organizations, including the Salvation Army, Lincoln Community Playhouse, YMCA, Nebraska Wesleyan, Lincoln Community Arts Council, the restoration of Old City Hall, and the Museum of Nebraska Art. He was also on the council or borad for the Nebraska Weslyan Arts Council, the Southeast YMCA, the Salvation Army, the United Way, Lincoln Arts Guild, Lincoln/Lancaster Landmarks, and the Lincoln section of the American Institute of Architects. At one point, Schlaebitz was the president of the Lincoln Community Arts. He was a talented artist (drawings and watercolors), even having an art studio at his home.[2] After retirement, he traveled to classrooms across Nebraska for the Nebraska Arts Council’s Artist-in-Residence program. Schlaebitz passed away in Lincoln on June 4, 2011. [7]

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, 1954-1955, 1958-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1987, 2000

Educational & Professional Associations

1942: graduated from Lincoln High School, Lincoln, Nebraska.[7]

1943-1945: navigator, U. S. Air Force.[5][6][7]

1945-1947: student architect, Clark & Enersen, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][5]

1949: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Architecture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.[3][5][6][7][a]

1949-1953: draftsman, Clark & Enersen, Lincoln, Nebraska.

1954-1956: architect, Clark & Enersen, Lincoln, Nebraska.[2]

1956-1958: architect and principal, Wight & Schlaebitz, Architects, Lincoln, Nebraska.[2][5][6]

1958-1963: architect, Clark & Enersen, Lincoln, Nebraska.

1963-1970: architect and partner, Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen, Lincoln, Nebraska.[2,6]

1971-1972: architect and partner, Clark, Enersen, Hamersky, Schlaebitz & Burroughs, Lincoln, Nebraska.

1973-1976: architect and partner, [[Clark, Enersen, Hamersky, Schlaebitz, Burroughs & Thomsen, Architects and Engineers|Clark, Enersen, Hamersky, Schlaebitz, Burroughs & Thomsen]], Lincoln, Nebraska.

1977-1987: architect and partner, The Clark Enersen Partners, Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

1988: retired consultant to The Clark Enersen Partners and an independent artist.[2]

Principal Works


Merle Beattie School (1951), Lincoln, Nebraska.[5][c]

Hastings High School (1954), Hastings, Nebraska.[5][c]

Chadron State College Men’s Dormitory (1955), Chadron, Nebraska.[5][c]

First National Bank Drive-in (1959-1960), Lincoln, Nebraska.[5][6][c]

First Congregational Church (1961), Norfolk, Nebraska.[5][c]

Scottsbluff High School (1961), Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[6][c]

City-County Building (1969), Lincoln, Nebraska.[6][d]


Lincoln Community Playhouse Children’s Wing (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[2]

Salvation Army Center (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[2]

Harvard Public High School (n.d.), Harvard, Nebraska.[5]

Children’s Theater Wing, Lincoln Community Playhouse (n.d.), Lincoln, Nebraska.[2]

Honors& Awards

1948: AIA Design Award by Nebraska Chapter.[5]

1949: AIA award of merit for superior design.[6]


a. Citation [2] gives NU graduation date of 1950.

b. Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, A-291.[4]

c. These projects were done on behalf of Clark & Enersen.

d. This building was designed on behalf of Clark, Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen.


1. Scheer, Dennis, 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.

2. Kelly, Gene, “Architect captured by new career in art,” Sunday Journal Star (June 18, 1989), 2C.

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

4. Sixty-second Annual Report, Nebraska State Board of Engineers and Architects: July 1, 1999-June 30, 2000 ([Lincoln: 2000]), 149.

5. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory Second Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1962), 620, accessed April 4, 2010, http://communities.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki/Wiki%20Pages/1962%20American%20Architects%20Directory.aspx

6. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory Third Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1970), 808, accessed April 4, 2010, http://communities.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki/Wiki%20Pages/1970%20American%20Architects%20Directory.aspx

7. “Schlaebitz [obituary],” Lincoln Journal-Star (June 7, 2011), B4.

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “William Donald Schlaebitz (1924-2011), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, March 11, 2015. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, August 15, 2022.

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.