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Nebraska State Historical Society

125th logo R Street Building

A New Home for Nebraska History
The R Street Building

This year (2003) marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Nebraska State Historical Society's R Street building, dedicated September 27, 1953. Opening the building, seventy-five years after the Society was founded, finally fulfilled a dream of those who first gathered to organize a state historical society.

1500 R Street site
The University of Nebraska agreed to provide a site at 1500 R Street, between the Nebraska Union and the faculty club.

ground breaking
Ground was broken August 25, 1951. (Left to right): Society board member and Nebraska Chief Justice Robert G. Simmons; Society Superintendent James C. Olson; Society board member Professor James L. Sellers; Society President James E. Lawrence, Society Treasurer Nathan J. Gold, and University Chancellor Reuben G. Gustavson.

Ellery Davis design
Ellery Davis of the Lincoln architectural firm, Davis and Wilson, designed the building, although the façade was changed from that shown in this early rendering.

By June 25, 1952, the steelwork was rising. All bids were awarded to Lincoln firms: Olson Construction, general contractor; Reinhardt Brothers, heating, ventilating, and plumbing; and George E. Knapp, electrical.

The cornerstone was laid on July 16, 1952. State Senator Daniel Garber of Red Cloud (standing left, in front of the cornerstone) introduced the 1943 legislative bill that provided funding for the building. The total cost, including exhibits, was $598,538.65.

Invitation to the R Street dedication.

Governor Robert Crosby
On September 27, 1953, Governor Robert Crosby officially dedicated the building. To his right are Nathan J. Gold, Society President James E. Lawrence, Superintendent James C. Olson; and Robert Taft of the University of Kansas.

guest book
Governor Crosby, along with many others, signed the guest book on dedication day.


125th exhibit

Here Open to All
is the History
of This People

A New Home for
Nebraska History

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Last updated 14 March 2003  

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