Nebraska State Historical Society Blog

Why Architect Thomas R. Kimball Belongs in the Nebraska Hall of Fame

left: St. Cecilia Cathedral; Right: Thomas R. Kimball ca. 1900

Despite his high regard among architects and fans of historic buildings, Thomas Rogers Kimball (1862-1934) isn’t exactly a household name. His recent election to the Nebraska Hall of Fame, and forthcoming induction in 2019, raises the question: Why is this guy such a big deal?

The short answers: Kimball’s mastery of the classically-influenced styles of his day; his wide influence on other architects; and of course his buildings themselves.

Here is a sample of Kimball’s buildings, including some that remain more-or-less as he designed them.

Top of page: Left: Saint Cecilia Cathedral (1905-1916), 701 North 40th Street, Omaha (Photo by Lynn Meyer); Right: Thomas R. Kimball, ca. 1900

 

Hall County Courthouse, Grand Island

Hall County Courthouse (1904), Grand Island. David Murphy, NSHS

 

Keystone Community Church

Keystone Community Church (1908), Keystone, Nebraska. The little church is noteworthy for having a Catholic altar on one end, a Protestant lectern at the other, and hinged pews to make the seats reversible. David Murphy, NSHS (1978)

 

Burlington Station, Hastings

Burlington Station (1900-1902), First Street and St. Joseph’s Avenue, Hastings. David Murphy, NSHS (1978)

 

Oscar Roeser House, Grand Island

Oscar Roeser House (1908), Grand Island. David Murphy, NSHS (1981)

 

Nebraska Telephone Company Building (1894-1896), 128-130 S. 13th, Lincoln.

Nebraska Telephone Company Building (1894-1896), 128-130 S. 13th, Lincoln. David Murphy, NSHS

 

Omaha Public Library (1891-1894), 1823 Harney Street, Omaha. Lynn Meyer

Omaha Public Library (1891-1894), 1823 Harney Street, Omaha. Lynn Meyer

 

Trans-Mississippi Grand Court, Omaha

Some of Kimball's most famous buildings were only meant to be temporary. The Grand Court at the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha (1898) was built of plaster and lath.

 

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