HISTORY NEBRASKA MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG6034.AM: James C. Stitt, 1866-1949
Norfolk, Madison County, Neb.: Architect
Size: 1 item
James C. Stitt was Norfolk’s most prominent and prolific architect, responsible for hundreds of architectural designs during some sixty years of practice. His substantial body of work included schools, residences, libraries, churches, and business buildings, both in Norfolk and around the state.
Stitt was born in Medussa (Mitchell Hollow), New York on September 28, in 1866, to Ransom and Elvira P. (Cooper) Stitt. He learned architecture from his father, Ransom Stitt (1840-1911), a master builder. His grandfather, James J. Stitt was also a master builder in Albany County, New York. He never formally studied architecture, but apprenticed with Syracuse, New York architects E. G. Hall and N. Dillenbeck. He arrived in Norfolk in 1889, intending to go to Omaha to pursue his trade. While stopping in Norfolk, he was asked to draft a plat for a new subdivision. Before he had finished, he was asked to design a house, followed by a request to design yet another. He decided to locate in Norfolk. His first major architectural commission was that of the Norfolk High School building (1890, not extant), having competed with twenty-one architects nationwide for the commission.
He practiced in Norfolk until his death in 1949. Over his long career, he worked in many of the prominent architectural styles of the period. Stitt’s works are represented in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Norfolk and Plainview Carnegie libraries, Miller Hall and the former library at Chadron State College, and the Cedar County Courthouse in Hartington. His obituary noted that “(h)e designed some of Norfolk’s finest homes including those now occupied by A.T. Hutchinson, Byron Ballantyne, Dr. C.J. Verges and Mrs. A.F. Ballah.” Stitt married Cora May Holt on March 8, 1870, and together they had four children. Stitt was a Democrat who held many other positions, including City Clerk (1896-1900), and vice president and president of the Norfolk Building and Loan Association (1914-1932). He was a member, director, and president of the Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Kiwanis Club, a Mason, Knight Templar, and Elk, and belonged to the YMCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, First Congregational Church, Norfolk Country Club, and the Nebraskana Society.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection consists of one item, a plan showing the design by Norfolk architect, James C. Stitt, for the Lincoln School building at Norfolk built in 1911. The item includes two photographs showing the first phase as built and the plans reflect a second wing that was built at a later date.
Lincoln Public School (Norfolk, Neb.)
Stitt, James C., 1866-1949