Thomas Rogers Kimball

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Thomas Rogers Kimball
Thomas Rogers Kimball, 1854-1904 Nebrasans.png
Thomas Rogers Kimball
BornApril 19, 1862
Linwood, Ohio (now a neighborhood within Cincinnati)
DiedSeptember 7, 1934 (aged 72)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater University of Nebraska (now U of N–Lincoln)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
École des Beaux-Arts
Occupation Architect
Spouse(s)Annie McPhail Kimball

Thomas Rogers Kimball (April 19, 1862 September 7, 1934) was an American architect in Omaha, Nebraska. An architect-in-chief of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha in 1898, he served as national President of the American Institute of Architects from 1918–1920 and from 1919-1932 served on the Nebraska State Capitol Commission. [1]

Contents

Kimball was credited with pursuing 871 commissions, which included designing 167 new residential buildings and 162 new non-residential structures, served as architectural adviser to commissions responsible for erection of Missouri and Nebraska state capitols, the Kansas City Liberty Memorial, and the Indiana state war memorial in Indianapolis, and was member of national council of fine arts established by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt to evaluate all plans for public buildings, monuments, and statutes. [2] [3] [4]

Biography

The Hotel Fontenelle in Omaha, Nebraska, designed by Thomas Kimball Hotelfontenelle.jpg
The Hotel Fontenelle in Omaha, Nebraska, designed by Thomas Kimball

Born April 19, 1862 in Linwood, Cincinnati, Ohio, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska with his parents when he was in his early teens. After graduating from high school in 1878, he attended the University of Nebraska (currently the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) for two years, but did not graduate. He next went to Boston, where he worked with a private tutor for another two years. Kimball then entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied architecture until 1887. He did not graduate, but was later given an affiliation with the School of Architecture.

Kimball then moved to Paris, where he spent a year studying art at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts. Returning to Boston in 1888, he began working for a publishing company. The following year, Kimball married Annie McPhail in Boston. [5]

Walker and Kimball

In 1891, Kimball formed an architectural firm with MIT instructor C. Howard Walker and architect Herbert Best. Best soon retired. Walker remained in Boston to run the office there; Kimball moved back to Omaha and opened an office. Both operated under the name Walker and Kimball. In 1892, Kimball was commissioned to design a public library building in Omaha. Although Kimball had been able to get the job through connections established by his father, railroad executive Thomas Lord Kimball, the younger Kimball was in fact well qualified for the work. He was also something of a curiosity in 1890s Omaha, since he had been educated in the East and had studied architecture both in the United States and in France. Kimball began attracting many high-profile projects in Omaha, including St. Frances Cabrini Church and the Burlington Train Station. In 1893, some of his architectural plans were shown in Chicago at the World Columbian Exposition. [6]

Trans-Mississippi Exposition

The 1898 Trans Mississippi and International Exposition was a World's Fair-like event that required the construction of many buildings. Kimball and Walker were named co-architects-in-chief for the event. The two men were responsible for the overall site development, including perimeter buildings. They designed several major buildings, some smaller structures and the Arch of States (a main entrance). "The other 'name' architects who were there did a main building and nothing else," Batie said.

The buildings were constructed of strips of wood covered with staff, which was a mixture of plaster and horsehair. They were temporary by design, built at about half the cost of permanent buildings. The lower cost allowed the construction of larger structures. Kimball was already successful, but his Exhibition work made him even more so. Kimball won commissions for major new projects, such as St. Cecilia Cathedral and the Fontenelle Hotel in Omaha, and the Electricity Building at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. [7]

Late career

By 1918, he had gained tremendous stature among his peers and was elected national president of the American Institute of Architects, an office he held until 1920. Kimball was involved in many architecture-related activities, including supervision of the 1920 design contest that selected Bertram Goodhue as architect of the Nebraska State Capitol.

In 1927, Kimball went into a partnership with architects William L. Steele (1875–1949) and Josiah D. Sandham (1880–1969) to form the firm Kimball, Steele, and Sandham. Among other commissions, the firm designed the Second Church of Christ Scientist (Minneapolis, 1930) and with George B. Prinz were associate architects on the Federal Office Building (Omaha, 1933). However, Kimball functioned primarily as a consultant, having stopped working as an active architect. [8] [9]

Death and legacy

Kimball's success could not survive the Great Depression, which hurt him financially. He died a pauper in 1934. Upon his death, partner William L. Steele remarked that Kimball "did not...as the majority of his contemporaries did, absorb a repertoire of French tricks and come home. He studied architecture as building, not as merely drawings of the buildings. He seemed to have acquired at an early age that grasp of fundamental principles which was to keep him from being stampeded by passing fads." [10]

In 2017, Kimball was selected as the 26th member of the Nebraska Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was formally inducted with the creation of a bust of his likeness to be displayed in the Nebraska State Capitol. [11]

Notable designs

Burlington Station, Hastings, Nebraska, 1908 19950723 01 Burlington Northern Hastings, Nebraska (5361370446).jpg
Burlington Station, Hastings, Nebraska, 1908
Keystone, Nebraska Community Church, 1908 Keystone, Nebraska Little Church from SW.jpg
Keystone, Nebraska Community Church, 1908
The Nash Block, a 1905 design in Downtown Omaha. Nash Building.jpg
The Nash Block, a 1905 design in Downtown Omaha.
One of Kimball's earliest, this is the 1929 remodeling of his 1898 Burlington Station. OmahaBurlingtonStation.jpg
One of Kimball's earliest, this is the 1929 remodeling of his 1898 Burlington Station.
Oscar Roeser House, Grand Island, Nebraska, 1908 Roeser house from NE 2.jpg
Oscar Roeser House, Grand Island, Nebraska, 1908
The 1908 Webster Telephone Exchange in North Omaha shows a change in styles. Webster Telephone Exchange-Afro-American Museum, North Omaha.jpg
The 1908 Webster Telephone Exchange in North Omaha shows a change in styles.
St. Cecilia took more than 50 years to construct. OmahaNE StCecilia.jpg
St. Cecilia took more than 50 years to construct.
Notable designs by Thomas Rogers Kimballalphabetical order
NameBuiltLocationNotes
All Saint's Episcopal Church190626th and Dewey AvenueKimball took the contract for designing this building away from John McDonald, another influential architect in Omaha, after a fire destroyed the original church. He designed a parish house and church, both of which were demolished in 1966 when the church moved to another location. [12]
Battle Mountain Sanitarium 1898 Hot Springs, South Dakota Designed in a star pattern for sun and air, today the building is known as the Domiciliary at the Hot Springs Medical Center of the VA Black Hills Health Care System. [13]
Breckenridge/Gordon Residence 19093611 Jackson Street, OmahaA family residence listed on the NRHP. [14]
Burlington Headquarters Building 18791002-1006 Farnam Street, OmahaThis Downtown Omaha landmark sits on the Gene Leahy Mall, and was rehabilitated by Kimball in 1879. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places, or NRHP. [15]
Burlington Station 1900First Street and St. Joseph's Avenue, Hastings, Nebraska Added to the NRHP in 1978. It was renovated in 1966 and 2000.
Burlington Train Station 1898925 South 10th Street, OmahaAdded to the NRHP in 1974; currently used as the studio facility for Omaha's ABC affiliate, television station KETV (channel 7).
Dome Lake Club189556 Dee Drive, Sheridan, Wyoming This private fishing club is located near the Bighorn National Forest. [16]
F.P. Kirkendall House19013727 Jackson Street, OmahaRanking among the largest of the Gold Coast Historic District homes, this house has won several awards. [17]
Gallagher Residence1904513 South 38th Street, OmahaA prominent home throughout its life, it was designed for Ben Gallagher, the founder of the Paxton and Gallagher Wholesale Grocery Company in pioneer Omaha. It was demolished in 1967. [18]
Hall County Courthouse 1904422 West 1st Street, Grand Island, Nebraska This building serves Hall County government offices, and was added to the NRHP in 1977. [19]
Hotel Fontenelle 19141806 Douglas Street, OmahaThis building was demolished in 1983.
Keystone Community Church1908 Keystone, Nebraska The church has a Catholic altar on one end, a Protestant lectern at the other, and hinged pews to make the seats reversible. [20]
Mary Rogers Kimball House 19052236 St. Mary's Avenue, OmahaBuilt close to her son's home, this house is the only remaining example of the numerous upscale homes that used to sit on St. Mary's. It is listed on the NRHP. [21]
Medical Arts Building192617th and Dodge Streets, OmahaOriginally designed as an all-in-one medical office and laboratory facility, Kimball withdrew when the builders went bankrupt. He eventually sold the plans to John McDonald, a local competitor. The building was demolished in 1999. [22]
Monmouth Park School 19034508 North 33rd Street, OmahaAdded to the NRHP in 1983, this building was converted to apartments in 1985.
Nash Block 1905902 Farnam Street, OmahaAdded to the NRHP in 1985, this building is currently apartments. [23]
Nebraska Telephone Company Building 1894128-130 S. 13th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska Listed on the NRHP. [16] [24]
Old Administration Building1903 University of Nebraska at Lincoln campusThis building was razed in 1963. [1] [25]
Omaha Country Club 1900 [16]
Omaha Public Library 18921823 Harney Street, OmahaCalled "one of the most significant structures in Nebraska", this building sits on land originally donated to the city by local real estate mogul Byron Reed. It was Kimball's first commission in Omaha, and served as the public library in Omaha until 1977, when afterwards it was converted to offices, in which capacity it still serves. It is listed on the NRHP. [26]
Oscar Roeser House1908721 W. Koenig Street, Grand Island, Nebraska
Packers National Bank 19074939 South 24th Street, OmahaLocated in the South Omaha Main Street Historic District, this building serves as offices today, and is listed on the NRHP individually. [27]
Park School 19181320 South 29th Street, OmahaNamed for its proximity to Hanscom Park, this building was sold by Omaha Public Schools in 1988 and converted to apartments. [28]
Paxton and Gallagher Warehouse 1908901-909 Jones Street, OmahaCurrently serves as apartments. [29]
Richard R. Kimball Residence 19011235 Park Wild Avenue, OmahaBuilt for Kimball's brother, a prominent automobile dealer, this house was demolished in the mid 1960s. [30]
St. Cecilia Cathedral 1905701 North 40th Street, OmahaCompleted in 1959, Kimball's original designs were altered by later architects.
St. Francis Cabrini Church 19081335 South 10th Street, OmahaBuilt as St. Philomena's Cathedral, this structure retained cathedral status until St. Cecilia's Cathedral was substantially completed around 1916. [31]
St. Philomena's Catholic Church 19081335 South 10th StreetConsidered one of Kimball's best works, this building is listed on the NRHP, and is currently named St. Francis Cabrini. [32]
Second Church of Christ Scientist (now Ivy Hotel) 19301115 2nd Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota A locally designated landmark, this building is a rare example of the Ziggurat form in the city. [33]
South Omaha Public Library 19042302 M Street, OmahaThis Carnegie library was designed to be reminiscent of a small Italian Renaissance palazzo. It was demolished in 1953 and replaced with a modern library at the same location. [34]
Thomas R. Kimball Residence 19052450 St. Mary's Avenue, OmahaCurved drives, elevated gardens and illustrious landscaping surrounded this multi-towered, seven-chimneyed building with design elements from many styles. It was demolished six years after Kimball's death and replaced with a grocery store and parking lot. [35]
Wattles House 1895320 South 37th Street, OmahaBanker Gurdon Wattles lived here for 25 years, during which time he planned the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, among his many ventures. [36]
Webster Telephone Exchange Building 19072213 Lake Street, OmahaServing as a telephone exchange, emergency morgue, community center, and museum has not saved this building from disrepair. [37]
William F. Baxter Residence 1926410 South Elwood BoulevardOne of the last large residential plans by Kimball before he died, this home is on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus and is threatened by a student housing project. [38] [39]

Kimball also designed the original Omaha World-Herald building, the First National Bank in Grand Island and the Hastings, Nebraska Railroad Station. At the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition he prepared the layout for the park and designed the Arch of the States, the Administration Building, Transportation Building, and the Boys' and Girls' Building. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

Architecture in Omaha, Nebraska represents a range of cultural influences and social changes occurring from the late 19th century to present.

Webster Telephone Exchange Building United States historic place

The Webster Telephone Exchange Building is located in North Omaha, Nebraska. It was designed by the well-known Omaha architect Thomas Rogers Kimball. After the Easter Sunday Tornado of 1913, the building was used as the center of recovery operations. In 1933, American Bell donated the building to the Omaha Urban League.

Flatiron Hotel United States historic place

The Flatiron Hotel is located at 1722 St. Mary's Avenue in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Designed by architect George Prinz and originally constructed in 1912 as an office building, in 1914 it was renovated for use as a hotel. Today the building serves as office and commercial space, as well as housing an upscale restaurant, Flatiron Cafe, in downtown Omaha. The Flatiron Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Magnolia Hotel (Omaha) United States historic place

The Magnolia Hotel, formerly the Sheraton Omaha, was originally constructed as the Aquila Court Building, and is located at 1615 Howard Street in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1923, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Blackstone Hotel (Omaha, Nebraska) United States historic place

The Blackstone Hotel is a historic hotel located at 302 South 36th Street in the Blackstone neighborhood of the Midtown area in Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1915, it was declared an Omaha Landmark in 1983 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Nash Block United States historic place

The Nash Block, also known as the McKesson-Robbins Warehouse and currently as The Greenhouse, is located at 902-912 Farnam Street in Omaha, Nebraska. Designed by Thomas R. Kimball and built in 1907, the building is the last remnant of Downtown Omaha's Jobbers Canyon. It was named an Omaha Landmark in 1978, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Edgar Zabriskie Residence United States historic place

The Edgar Zabriskie Residence is located at 3524 Hawthorne Avenue in the Bemis Park neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, United States. It was built in 1889 as one of the first homes in Bemis Park. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and was designated an Omaha Landmark in 1980.

Packers National Bank Building United States historic place

Packer's National Bank Building is located at 4939 South 24th Street in the South Omaha Main Street Historic District in south Omaha, Nebraska. It was built in 1907. In 1984, it was designated an Omaha Landmark and, in 1985, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center United States historic place

The Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center or The Rose, also known as the Astro Theater, originally opened as The Riviera. It is located in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1926 in a combination of both Moorish and Classical styles, the building was rehabilitated in 1986.

Hotel Fontenelle

Hotel Fontenelle was an upscale hotel located at 1806 Douglas Street in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Designed by noted architect Thomas Rogers Kimball in the Late Gothic Revival style, it opened in 1915 and was demolished in 1983. It was named after Logan Fontenelle, an interpreter for the Omaha Tribe when it ceded land to the U.S. government which became the city of Omaha.

John Latenser Sr. (1858–1936) was an American architect whose influential public works in Omaha, Nebraska, numbered in the dozens. His original name was Johann Laternser.

Burlington Headquarters Building United States historic place

The Burlington Headquarters Building, also called Burlington Place, is located at 1004 Farnam Street in Downtown Omaha, Nebraska. This four-story brick building was originally designed by Alfred R. Dufrene and built in 1879 next to Jobbers Canyon. It was redesigned by noted Omaha architect Thomas R. Kimball in 1899, and vacated by the railroad in 1966. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, designated an Omaha Landmark in 1978, and rehabilitated in 1983. Today it is office space.

Paxton Hotel

The Paxton Hotel, formerly known as Paxton Manor and currently known as The Paxton, is located at 1403 Farnam Street in Downtown Omaha, Nebraska, United States. Designed by local architect Joseph G. McArthur, the current building was constructed in 1928, with its predecessor dating from 1882. Named for local businessman and community leader William A. Paxton, today the building houses luxury condominia. It is one of the few significant Art Deco structures in Omaha today. Among some of the prominent guests who stayed at the Paxton were Buffalo Bill Cody and William Jennings Bryan, as well as President William McKinley stayed at the Paxton during the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in 1898.

The Redick Mansion, also known as the Mayne Mansion and Redick Hall, was located at 3612 North 24th Street in North Omaha, Nebraska. It served as the first home of Omaha University, now known as the University of Nebraska at Omaha, from 1909 through 1917. A five-story tower on the front of the mansion was a notable landmark throughout the area.

South Omaha Public Library

The original Carnegie South Omaha Public Library, designed by Thomas R. Kimball, was built in 1904 at 23rd and M Streets in South Omaha, Nebraska. A Carnegie library, it was razed in December 1953; a new library constructed in the same spot opened in October 1954. The second library building was officially closed on May 17, 2008, when a new branch was opened at 2808 Q Street.

Breckenridge–Gordon House

The Breckenridge–Gordon House is located at 3611 Jackson Street in Midtown Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1905, the house was designed by Thomas Rogers Kimball for a prominent local attorney. Designated as an Omaha Landmark in 1982, the residence is located in the Gold Coast Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Trinity Cathedral (Omaha, Nebraska) United States historic place

Trinity Cathedral is located in Downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Nebraska's first Episcopal parish, Trinity was established in 1856, and became the state's first Episcopal cathedral in 1872. Designed by noted English architect Henry G. Harrison in 1880, the cathedral was consecrated on November 15, 1883. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Today Trinity Cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Omaha.

St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church United States historic place

St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church is a historic stone Episcopal church building located at 2312 J Street in the South Omaha district of Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1899 in the Late Gothic Revival style, it was designated an Omaha Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It was the first Episcopal church established in South Omaha when the town was being developed. It is the only surviving Episcopal church in this community, which was settled chiefly by Catholic immigrants.

The Omaha Public Library in Omaha Nebraska currently has 12 locations.

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