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 (1904), Grand Island. David Murphy, NSHS
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 (1900-1902), First Street and St. Joseph’s Avenue, Hastings. David Murphy, NSHS (1978)
Oscar Roeser House (1908), Grand Island. David Murphy, NSHS (1981)
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
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.