Thomas Rogers Kimball became nationally known for his architectural work on the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha. He came with his family to Nebraska while in his early teens after his father became an executive for the Union Pacific Railroad. Kimball attended the University of Nebraska for two years, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture from 1885 to 1887, and then studied in Paris for a year.
In 1889 Kimball opened his own architectural office and in 1891 went into partnership with C. Howard Walker, his former instructor at MIT. The firm expanded to Omaha, and Kimball and his wife moved there. Among the buildings in Omaha designed by Kimball are the Omaha Public Library, the Burlington Station, Hotel Fontenelle, St. Cecelia’s Cathedral, Monmouth Park School, and the Omaha World-Herald Building. He designed residences for several prominent Omaha families, including one for merchant Gurdon Wattles.
Kimball also designed the Hall County Court House and the First National Bank in Grand Island, the Hastings Railroad Station, and the University of Nebraska Administration Building in Lincoln. In 1897 he and Walker were chosen as architects-in-chief for the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. Kimball prepared the layout for the park and designed the Arch of the States, the Administration Building, Transportation Building, and the Boys’ and Girls’ Building.
Although the partnership was dissolved after the Omaha exposition, Kimball and Walker were together again from 1900 to 1903, when they worked on the layout and design of the park for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904. Kimball also served as an advisor in the Nebraska State Capitol competition, which led to the selection of Bertram G. Goodhue as architect. In later years Kimball was a consultant in the designing of the Omaha Federal Office Building. He worked in various architectural styles, including Italian Renaissance Revival, Classical Revival, and Spanish Mission. Although Kimball did not go beyond accepted designs, he planned interesting, functional, and beautiful structures.