In 1869 Nebraska was a newly formed state and the capital city of Lincoln an isolated village on the prairie. To demonstrate their own confidence in the future of the prairie capital and to instill confidence in others, the three principal officials of the state government constructed imposing masonry houses. These three buildings of permanence were in a town otherwise uncertain of its future economy, even of its future physical existence.
Thomas P. Kennard House, 1870 or 1871
Of these three buildings, only the residence of Secretary of State Thomas P. Kennard still stands. It is the oldest house within the original plat of Lincoln. In 1966-68 it was dedicated as the Nebraska Statehood Memorial. Renovated and partially restored, it remains a monument to all the men and women who had the optimism and courage to build a future on the treeless prairies of Nebraska.
The Kennard House hosts hundreds of Nebraska adults and school children each year who come to learn more about Nebraska statehood, the location of the capital, the story of the commissioner's homes, Thomas P. Kennard, life in 1870s Lincoln, Italianate architecture, the renovation of the Kennard House, and more. Special events are held each year at the house. In December the house is decorated for a Victorian Christmas complete with a tree decorated with candles, examples of toys and presents, and Christmas cards from the 1870s. A holiday open house is held every December.
If you would like to schedule a school tour, learn more about these events, or have any other questions, just ask the curator
Return to Thomas P. Kennard House