Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was born in Pomfret, Connecticut on April 28, 1869. His early years were spent studying the arts and humanities at home. From his study of the classics, Goodhue learned of the great architectural styles and monuments of the ages. He later used this classical foundation in the design of the Nebraska State Capitol.
Goodhue’s architectural career began in 1884 with his apprenticeship at Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell of New York City. There Goodhue learned drafting and elements of design and composition. Upon his affiliation in 1891, with Cram and Wentworth, Goodhue refined his use of the Gothic form, bringing its design elements into the 20th Century with recognizable modern iconography.
In 1914, Goodhue established his own firm, wishing to expand his creativity beyond the confines of the Gothic. Goodhue refined classical architectural form with an eye toward a simpler more contemporary American architectural style. However, Goodhue was reluctant to abandon ornamentation completely for the strict geometry of Modernism displayed by his European contemporaries. Goodhue’s creative genius updated traditional architecture maintaining a belief that architecture should inspire and enrich rather than just enclose.
Goodhue’s artistic genius was allowed full creative freedom in the competition for the design of the third Nebraska State Capitol. Other major works by Goodhue include the U.S. Military Chapel and campus design at West Point, St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew’s churches in New York, the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C., and the downtown Los Angeles Public Library. The Nebraska State Capitol is seen by many as the pinnacle of Goodhue’s career. A career cut short by his untimely death in 1924.