Willoughby J. Edbrooke (1843-1896), Architect

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Chicago, Illinois, 1867-1896

Willoughby J. Edbrooke was born in 1843 in England. By 1867 he was practicing architecture in Chicago, and from 1891-1893 was Supervising Architect of the U. S. Treasury.[5] His two known Nebraska commissions were built while he was working in the latter capacity, one of which was completed shortly before his death in 1896. Much earlier, in 1879, he was invited to "submit sketches" for the proposed Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, a proposition he declined.[1] He was a Fellow of the Western Association of Architects, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, 1889.[3]

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.

U. S. Post Office, Fremont, 1892-1895 (D. Murphy)

Educational & Professional Associations

1867-1896 architect, Chicago, Illinois.[4][5]

Selected Buildings & Projects

Omaha Post Office, 1892-1906 (Nebraska State Historical Society)

U. S. post Office and Courthouse (1891-1899), Washington, D. C.[6]

U. S. post Office and Courthouse (1891-1899), Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[7]

U. S. Post Office and Courthouse (1889, 1892-1906), 16th St at Capitol Ave, Omaha, Nebraska.[7][a]

U. S. Post Office (1892-1895), 605 N. Broad, Fremont, Nebraska.[2] (DD05:E-002) National Register narrative


a. Retired Omaha architect A. R. Dufrene told Sunday (Omaha, Nebraska) World-Herald in 1891 that he was "well acquainted" with Edbrooke. "When Mr. Dufrene had the contract for putting up the buildings along the line of the Union Pacific Mr. Edbrooke supervised the construction of the buildings. 'He is a first class architect,' said Mr. Dufrene, 'and a practical architect, and I have no doubt the new federal building is Omaha will be a fine one. Edbrooke built the Georgia state house, which is a model structure of its kind.'"[8]


1. W. J. Edbrooke to J. M. Woolworth, Apr 28, 1879. From church files; copy of letter in site file DO09:0126-009. The submittal of sketches as part of an interview process was common at the time, but was considered “free work” and unethical by many architects who refused to participate. The cathedral was ultimately designed by Henry G. Harrison (1813-1895), Architect.

2. "Old Fremont Post Office," National Register of Historic Places nomination.

3. AIA Historical Directory of American Architects: A Resource Guide to Finding Information About Past Architects, accessed April 27, 2010, http://communities.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki/Wiki%20Pages/ahd1012234.aspx

4. 1870 United States Census, s.v. “W. J. Edbrooke,” Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, accessed through HeritageQuestOnline.com.

5. Henry F. Withey and Elsie Rathburn Wiley. Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased). Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970, 189.

6. "Overview," Old Post Office Redevelopment Website. Accessed June 18, 2016. http://oporedevelopment.com/overview (also available from GSA website, http://www.gsa.gov/portal/ext/html/site/hb/category/25431/actionParameter/exploreByBuilding/buildingId/803); and James F. Steele, Jr., "Final Environmental Impact Statement, Restoration and Modernization, Old Post Office Building, Washington, D. C. (Statement Number EDC 78003) [Washington]: General Services Administration, Region 3, [ca. 1978], 1-2. Accessed June 18, 2016. https://books.google.com/books?id=FDM3AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=old+omaha+post+office&source=bl&ots=ajm6rF0Hy6&sig=U9EGsfagaPK9kE0NknKRCtjRIN0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZjZnM8vXNAhWCSCYKHXyfCME4FBDoAQhMMAk#v=onepage&q=old%20omaha%20post%20office&f=false

7. J. P. Stadtmueller, "History of US Courthouse and Federal Building in Milwaukee," Federal Judges Association Newsletter (February 28, 2006). Accessed from United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin website, June 18, 2016. http://www.wied.uscourts.gov/history-us-courthouse-and-federal-building-milwaukee

8. "Architect Edbrooke. He Was Once with Dufrene and Supervised Union Pacific Buildings," Sunday (Omaha, Nebraska) World-Herald (May 10, 1891), 14.

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Willoughby J. Edbrooke (1843-1896), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, December 4, 2014, revised July 18, 2016. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, September 28, 2022.

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