Historic Walking Tour, Downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, South of O Street
Hike past historic commercial buildings & the governor's house, visit the State Capitol & the Kennard House.
This three-story building was built in 1894 for the Nebraska Telephone Company and is believed to be the first purpose-built structure designed to hold the heavy equipment needed to operate a telephone exchange. The Renaissance Revival style building housed the Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Company from 1912 to 1927. The structure was later home to many area businesses. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The building's facade includes alternating lotus and palmette, a design that was also used in the Acropolis in Greece. The ground floor is now occupied by the Francie & Finch Bookshop.
The Woods Brothers Companies was formed in 1889 by Mark, George and Frank Woods. The real estate company was a major player ion the early development of many Lincoln neighborhoods. Woods Brothers had this building constructed by 1916 from their design. The Neo-classical style is evidenced by a number of architectural details. The ears of corn above the balcony are an homage to Nebraska. The building housed the brothers' company until 1939, and has been used for commercial purposes since then. The Woods Brothers Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Today, Woods Bros Realty continues the tradition after 130 years in the Lincoln area, in other offices.
Built in ten years between 1922-1932, the Nebraska State Capitol was the country's first vernacular architectural styled state capitol building. It marked a departure from typical designs where state capitol buildings emulated the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. Instead, the architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, chosen from ten submissions, designed a building with an enormous tower rising to a height of 400 feet, making it the second tallest state capitol in the country after Louisiana's. Atop the tower stands a 19-foot statue called "The Sower," which depicts a man gesturing as if he is planting seeds, honoring the importance of agriculture to the state. The building combines elements of the Gothic Revival, Art Deco, and Classical styles. The Nebraska State Capitol was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Located across the street from the state capital building, the Nebraska Governor's Mansion has been the official home of Nebraska governors since it was built in 1957. The Classical Revival building was designed by the Selmer Solheim & Associates firm. It features 31 rooms (five of which are bedrooms), 12 bathrooms, 4 fireplaces and a 3-stall garage. It underwent extensive renovations beginning in 1997 that were completed the following year. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
The Thomas P. Kennard House is the oldest surviving house in the original plat of Lincoln. It was built in 1869 in the Italianate style for its namesake, Thomas P. Kennard, who was elected Nebraska's first Secretary of State in 1867, the same year the federal government granted Nebraska statehood. The house is a museum operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society which offers tours of the house by appointment. Visitors will learn about the process that resulted in Lincoln becoming the state's new capital, Victorian life, and the archaeological excavations that shed light on the house's history. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.