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The Building History

History of Nebraska’s Capitols

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…

History of Nebraska’s Capitols

Standing Abraham Lincoln Sculpture

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.

Standing Abraham Lincoln Sculpture

More Goodhue Buildings

Bertram Goodhue designed many churches and public buildings during his life, including:

More Goodhue Buildings

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.

Concept and Advisor’s Statement

Project 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,…

Goodhue Writings

The site is a square in the heart of the city of Lincoln, the point of intersection of two great avenues; while the surrounding country is generally level. Therefore, from the very beginning the authors of the design herewith submitted…

Goodhue Writings

Report of the Jury for the Nebraska State Capitol Commission

Lincoln, Nebraska (June 26, 1920) — Believing that the best way to secure a design for a great and monumental building is to directly select a competent architect and then, by collaboration, through a series of studies, develop with…

Program and Commission Statement

Final Stage of Competition for the Selection of an Architect to Design and Supervise the Construction of a Capitol for the State of Nebraska

Program and Commission Statement

Capitol in Lincoln

The first two Capitols in Lincoln were poorly constructed of inferior materials and by 1915 there was interest in building a third State Capitol. In January of 1919, the Legislature passed the Mears-Tracewell Bill to provide for…

Capitol in Lincoln

Recent Restorations

In 1989 a major restoration and renovation project was undertaken following the construction of a new facility to house the State’s Information Management Services. The project included 30,000 square feet of space in the Capitol…

Recent Restorations

The Building Team

The Philosopher

Hartley Burr Alexander

Hartley Burr Alexander, Professor of Philosophy, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1873. He spent his youth in the Midwest and his school years in Syracuse, Nebraska. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska in…

Hartley Burr Alexander

The Artist

Hildreth Meiere

Hildreth Meiere was born in New York City in 1892 to a household where art was an important part of life.

Hildreth Meiere

The Sculptor

Lee Lawrie

Lee Lawrie was born in Rixdorf, Germany, in 1877, and came to America with his family at the age of four. Very early in life he demonstrated artistic ability and at one time worked in the studio of Beaux Arts sculptor Augustus…

Lee Lawrie

The Architect

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue

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…

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue

Learn more about The Building Team →

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.

Historic Rooms

The architect who designed the Nebraska State Capitol was Bertram Goodhue. The thematic program of the Capitol was developed by Dr. Hartley Burr Alexander. Sculptor for the Capitol was Lee Lawrie, and Hildreth Meiere designed all the floor and ceiling mosaics. The building was constructed over a ten year period in four building phases. Construction began in 1922 and was completed in 1932. Total cost of the building was just under $10 million.


Take the Online Tour   »

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.

Discover the American architectural masterpiece

Small Google Map

Find us

1445 K Street
We’re on K, between 14th and 16th Streets
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509–4696
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) · (402) 471–0448

Getting Here »

Building hours

  • Monday ‐ Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday ⁄ Holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Tours Available on the Hour
    (Except at Noon)
  • Open every day except Thanksgiving Day, the Friday after, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.