History of the Nebraska Capitol Building

In response to westward migration and the call for a trans-continental railroad Franklin Pierce signed the Nebraska-Kansas Act on May 30, 1854 creating the Nebraska Territory. The ensuing controversy over the location of the Territorial Capital in Omaha was not resolved until after Statehood in 1867, when the Legislature voted to move the State Capital … Continued


The location of Nebraska’s capital city was determined by an act of the Nebraska Legislature on June 14, 1867. Moving the capital away from the eastern edge of the state in Omaha and further out into the new state was to encourage accessibility to the capital city from all parts of the newly created state. … Continued

The Building Team

Program and Commission Statement

Program Final Stage of Competition for the Selection of an Architect to Design and Supervise the Construction of a Capitol for the State of Nebraska Competitors Bliss & Faville, Balboa Bldg. San Francisco Ellery Davis, Security-Mutual Bldg. Lincoln Bertram G. Goodhue, 2 West 47th New York City John Latenser & Sons, Peters Trust Bldg. Omaha … Continued

Concept and Advisor’s Statement

The Capitol of a State is the outward sign of the character of its people. Their respect for its traditions and history, their belief in its importance and worth, and their love of its fair name; all find expression in its Capitol. Of Nebraska highway of progress, provider of man’s necessities, battle-ground of freedom, distributor … Continued

Jury Decision

Early construction photo

Project Phases and Timeline

Phases and Timeline In response to the competition requirement that the new Capitol be built in a fiscally responsible manner, Bertram Goodhue’s “cross within square” floor plan allowed construction to begin around the old Capitol while still occupied, and workers still conducting state business. After the north and south sections of the outer square of … Continued

The Grounds

In 1999 the Nebraska State Capitol Landscape was co-listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the National Historic Landmark. This designation recognizes Bertram Goodhue’s intent that the setting for the Capitol play an important role in its monumental stature. Ernst Herminghaus, Nebraska’s first professionally trained Landscape Architect, designed the Capitol Landscape … Continued

The Courtyards

Capitol architect Bertram Goodhue’s design for the Nebraska State Capitol included four interior courtyards. The courtyards served several purposes. The cross in a square floor plan design allowed for the phased and cost saving construction of the new building around the old. Built without air conditioning, the courtyards with their fountains would provide a cooling … Continued

Abe Lincoln Statue

Lincoln Monument

The Lincoln Monument on the West Plaza of the Nebraska State Capitol is the only structure on the grounds that predates Bertram Goodhue’s “Tower on the Plains” begun in 1922. When Daniel Chester French received the commission to produce the Lincoln statue in June 1909, he was one of America’s leading sculptors with works like … Continued