First Governor’s Mansion

Nebraska has had two official gubernatorial mansions, the first purchased in 1899, the second built in 1956. The first building was a two-and-one-half story, gabled-roofed frame residence on the southwest corner of Fifteenth and H streets in Lincoln, immediately east of the present mansion. Peg Poeschl’s “Housing Nebraska’s Governors, 1854-1980,” which appeared in the Fall 1980 Nebraska History magazine, described the neoclassical revival structure and the official life which filled it for over fifty years.

The outside featured “a two-tiered, wrap-around veranda of Doric columns linked by balustrades. The first floor consisted of a reception hall and stairway finished in oak, a front parlor and sitting room in maple, a sunporch, a dining room, a small luncheon room, the kitchen, and the pantry. The second story contained four bedrooms, two with adjoining Mexican onyx bathrooms, a smoking-room, and servants’ quarters. The entire third floor was given over to a ballroom and the basement contained a laundry, wine cellar, and manservant’s quarters. The house, served by six fireplaces, was sold to the state with many of its late 19th-century furnishings intact, including most of the silverware, china, table linen, carpets, curtains, tapestries, rugs, and even a piano.”

Poeschl noted, “Nebraska’s first Governor’s Mansion was the site of a multitude of events, local, national, and international in character. From 1900 through World War II, Lincoln, with the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion at its center, was a hub of great social and political activity.” In the course of fifty-seven years (1899-1956), the first mansion served seventeen of nineteen governors. During these years the Nebraska Legislature repeatedly allocated money for the building’s upkeep and improvement. However, by 1953 the mansion was showing its age and deemed too small for many official functions. It was decided to construct a new mansion rather than to again purchase and refurbish an existing house, and in 1955 the Legislature passed LB 361 to provide for the planning, construction, landscaping, equipping, and furnishing of a new residence for Nebraska’s governors.

The old mansion was demolished, but its paneling and one fireplace were salvaged, as were bath and plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, range tops, and lumber. At least one settee, two chairs, and a piano were transferred to the new mansion. The Nebraska State Historical Society received a few items, and the rest of the furnishings, nearly three hundred pieces, were sold at auction in 1956. A citizen unable to attend the auction could write to Governor Victor E. Anderson for a memento, perhaps a piece of wallpaper or possibly a gavel carved from the wood of the old mansion.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.