The central room of the 14th Floor Observation Level is the Memorial Chamber, it is “dedicated to the forms of heroism called for in the public service and in devotion to humanity”.
The dignity of the Chamber is derived from the monumental use of black marble—Black Belgian, Italian Porto Oro, and Vermont Verde Antique. The inscription beneath the murals is taken from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. The dome quietly represents the evening sky, and the chandelier the evening star shining in it.
Eight murals representing “heroic enterprises associated with Nebraska history” were added to the Chamber in 1996. The murals were painted by Nebraska artist Stephen Roberts and represent four military themes and four civic themes.
The Ideal of Universal Peace
Americans and Nebraskans have fought to bring about the conditions which promote peace.
The Scourge of Plague
Recognition of those who attend to the health of the people.
The Ideal of Self-Determination
Americans and Nebraskans have respected the rights of peoples to establish and determine their own governments.
The Scourge of Poverty
Recognition of heroic service to society and devotion to humanity through providing relief for the poor and oppressed.
The Ideal of Freedom
Americans and Nebraskans have gone to war to advance the rights of people.
The Perils of Fire
Recognizing the service and devotion of professionals and volunteers who protect the lives and property of their fellow citizens.
The Ideal of International Law
Americans and Nebraskans have fought to preserve a sense of justice in the relationships of nations.
The Scourge of Famine
Recognition of the endeavors of citizens to preserve and enhance the natural environment against natural and man-made forces.
The eight sided Memorial Chamber sits atop the square office tower of the Nebraska State Capitol. The 14th floor observation decks are located at the top of the square office tower around the perimeter of the Memorial Chamber.
The Observation Deck Views
In his plan for Nebraska’s third capitol, Goodhue suggested on-axis boulevards radiating from the Capitol site into the city. Centennial Mall connects the Capitol with the State Historical Society and University of Nebraska. State and federal office buildings, and museums are located along this pedestrian corridor through downtown Lincoln.
Centennial Mall looking north in Winter
The Department of Labor is one of several buildings surrounding the Capitol which house state agencies. Lincoln High School, the city’s first high school, is at the intersection of J Street and Capitol Parkway. Domed tennis courts shine brightly above the tree canopy at Woods Park. Growth in Lincoln was originally to the east, but recently has expanded in all directions.
J Street looking east in Summer
The area south and southeast of the Capitol contains some of the oldest homes in Lincoln. To the southeast is the Thomas P. Kennard House- Nebraska’s Statehood Memorial- constructed in 1867. The Governor’s Residence was opened in 1958. McPhee Elementary took the place of the Capitol School. At the edge of the city, grain elevators serve agricultural interests.
Goodhue Boulevard looking south in Autumn
Lincoln Mall connects the seat of state government with the seat of county and city government. Beyond the overpass of Rosa Parks Way, the railroad yard routes coal trains from western mines to eastern markets. To the northwest, remnants of the salt marshes which once dotted the area can be seen as lakes.
Lincoln Mall looking west in Spring
Are You Interested in Seeing the Building in Person?We're open 7 days a week, so plan a visit here. Then, explore some photos and perhaps read more about the Memorial Chamber.
Capitol quick facts
- Construction started in 1922, completed in 1932.
- The architect was Bertram G. Goodhue.
- There are 15 floors above ground.
- The building is 400 feet tall.
- It is the third Nebraska State Capitol.
- It cost $9.8 million in 1932 dollars.
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