The Mrs. H.J. Bartenbach House
By Kelli Bacon, Certified Local Government Coordinator
I have an affinity for Art Deco and Moderne architecture and have traveled out of state just to see these styles. Nebraska doesn’t have many residential examples of the Moderne style, but we do have a beautiful one in the Mrs. H.J. Bartenbach House in Grand Island. Interestingly, this house did not begin as a Moderne house, but as a 1-story Victorian built by Mrs. Bartenbach’s husband, Henry, in 1893. Henry died in 1933, and his wife remodeled the house between 1937 and 1938. It was then that the house became what we see today. The house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Bartenbach House before the remodel. Photo courtesy of History Nebraska.
So what exactly do I like about this house? I like the double curved stairs leading to the front door, the rounded corner windows in the sun room, the light fixtures flanking the front door, the vertical indentations in the stucco above the sun room, and the round windows in the garage. As you can see from the photos below, very little has changed on the exterior of the Moderne house, except for the landscaping.
Bartenbach House in November 1976. Photo courtesy of History Nebraska.
Bartenbach House in October 1985. Photo courtesy of History Nebraska.
What else is interesting about this house? It was owned by a woman. Mrs. Bartenbach remodeled the Victorian style house into the current Moderne style house after her husband died. This house is one of only a small percentage of resources in Nebraska that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and are noted for their association with a woman.
Bartenbach House in April 2021. Photo courtesy of Kelli Bacon.