October 29, 2022 | Last updated Jun 14, 2023

Silly Structures or Artful Architecture?

Can you tell what this building is supposed to be? 

A strange alien, a bizarre monster? It is a restaurant shaped like a mug (or at least it’s supposed to look that way). The Mug Restaurant was near Thirty-third and O streets in Lincoln, Nebraska during the 1950s. (NSHS RG2158.PH-2264)

Mug Restaurant (RG2158.PH2264)

Long before ecologically friendly building materials became the rage, Nebraskans used similar techniques.

Sod houses were common, and a sod high school was built in Nebraska during the Great Depression. The Lakeland Sod High School, believed to be the only one in the nation, was built near Ainsworth, Nebraska, in 1934. (NSHS RG3183.PH4-5 )

Lakeland Sod High School (RG3183.PH4-5)

More unusual materials were used for some buildings, such as the Pilgrim Holiness Church, in Arthur, Nebraska, built of baled hay.

Pilgrim Holiness Church (RG3011.PH1-2,3)

How about this miniature house built of corn cobs, called the Grand Island Corn Palace. (Source: Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer)

Grand Island Corn Palace (photo courtesy of Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer)

Or the Sugar Palace, a Grand Island building covered with sugar beets and items from the sugar beet industry. (Source: Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer)

Grand Island Sugar Palace (photo courtesy of Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer)

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