Nebraska has had three state capitols!
When Nebraska became a state, a bitter dispute arose over the location of the new capital. Would it remain north of the Platte River in Omaha? Or would it be moved south of the river to a new town? A majority of legislators finally decided that the capital would be moved to newly founded Lincoln. Very few people lived in the area, and many people complained about the new location. A capitol building needed to be built before the first regular session of the state legislature. If the first state capitol had not been completed by January 1, 1869, the plan to make Lincoln the new capital might have failed.
The view from the first state capitol shows how few people lived in Lincoln in the early 1870s. The large house across the street was the home of Thomas P. Kennard, Nebraska's first secretary of state. To inspire confidence in the new capital of Lincoln and to encourage others to move there, Kennard built this showplace.
Over 100 years later the Kennard House still stands, a reminder of Lincoln's "childhood." Today it is a museum of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and you may visit it.
Because the first capitol building was built so hurriedly and with poor materials, it soon fell into disrepair. A replacement was needed. A second state capitol was begun in 1879 and completed in stages over the next ten years. With the growth in the government and in the entire state, this larger building was too small almost as soon as it was finished.
In 1919 the people of Nebraska had decided to build a third capitol. Workers began clearing ground around the second capitol in 1922, when this photograph was taken.