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Second Territorial Capitol

The second territorial capitol building was erected in Omaha in 1857-58 at a cost of about $130,000. Situated on what came to be called Capitol Hill, it continued to serve as the seat of territorial government until the removal of the capital to Lincoln in 1867. The Omaha Nebraskian on October 3, 1855, said: "[T]hrough the politeness of Wm. Rumbold, the gentlemanly and accomplished architect by whom the plan was designed and who is now in this city superintending the work, we are enabled to give our readers a more perfect description of the building than has yet been published.

"The building will be of brick, with a tin roof surmounted with a beautiful observatory and the whole is calculated to be done in the most thorough, substantial manner. The extreme length is 137 feet, extreme width 93 feet. The body of the building is 109 l/2 feet by 65 l/2 feet wide, and 62 l/2 feet in height to the apex, presenting 4 fronts with a colonnade portico on each 14 feet wide and 65 feet long. All the ornamental portions on the outside are of iron and the capitals of the columns are of the Corinthian order with modillion cornice.

"The basement is 5 feet above the ground and 8 feet in the cellar and will be occupied for the offices of the district attorney, marshal, etc. On the first floor above basement are the supreme court room, library, offices of the auditor, treasurer, librarian, the senate chamber, hall of representatives and offices of the governor and secretary. The senate chamber is 35 by 60 feet with a gallery and is to be of the Roman order, and the ark cornice over the speaker's seat is to be surmounted with three eagles, the coat of arms of the territory and the territorial motto, 'Popular Sovereignty,' inscribed beneath them. The supreme court room is to be finished in the Doric style.

"The whole plan reflects great credit on the skill of the designer, Mr. Rumbold; and the energy with which our worthy Executive, Governor Izard, is pressing the work for admirable adaptation to the uses for which it is designed, as the 'State House of Nebraska,' occupying its commanding position on Capitol Hill, the building, will be a conspicuous ornament to Omaha City, and a monument of refined taste, foretokening the glorious future of Nebraska which the people of our whole territory may regard with emotions of patriotic pride."

In 1869 the building and grounds were presented to the city of Omaha. By 1872 it had been completely torn down and replaced by Omaha High School.

(March 2009)



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