Tour City Campus Tour East Campus Search

UNL City Campus 1869 »

Nebraska Hall (Old)

Vital Statistics






Layne and Krone



Also Known As:

Industrial Arts Building

Nebraska Hall was located at the northeast corner of the original campus at approximately 11th and T. It was constructed of red brick with a limestone foundation, Colorado red sandstone decorative elements, and a slate roof. It contained three stories and housed the old Industrial College, which existed from the 1880's until it was divided to create the separate Colleges of Agriculture and Engineering. Faculty offices, classrooms, the original museum collections, and laboratories were contained in Nebraska Hall. Nebraska Hall was dedicated at Commencement exercises in June1888. Roscoe Pound was a member of the graduating class, R.W. Furnas, former Governor and Regent, gave the dedication speech.

Like University Hall, its neighbor to the west, Nebraska Hall posed problems. Structurally unstable, it was probably constructed of the poor quality limestone that was the ruin of many early Lincoln buildings. Hawkins, the architect, was extremely busy during the late 1880's, and often was at odds with the Board of Regents because he was unable to make changes to building plans in a timely fashion. The contractor was frequently asked to redo portions of the building and was later barred from further University projects. Prior to opening of the first Museum in 1906, it was reported that the first floor collapsed under the weight of the Museum's collections.

In November, 1910, architects Berlinghof and Davis were hired to assess Nebraska Hall. They reported that the walls were bowing from the weight of the cornice and recommended that the top floor be removed and reconstructed, estimating that this would serve its purpose for ten years. The Regents did not have this work done, and instead opted to add a system of bracing. By 1913 this building was notoriously unsafe and considered a terrible fire trap. As early as 1911 the Regents discussed tearing it down to make room for a museum addition.

In 1925 the upper floors were removed at the same time the upper floors were removed from University Hall. Nebraska Hall remained on campus in a truncated state for nearly forty years. It was finally demolished in 1961.

Charles Bessey is associated with this building because of his work as Dean of the Industrial College. Bessey served on the building committee and monitored the construction of the building, probably due to problems with the quality of construction. He designed the cornerstone on the southeast corner to read "science with practice" on the east, and the date on the south.

Source Information:
Archives and Special Collections, UNL Libraries