Nebraska State Capitol
Ex ter i or Fac ade Inves t i gat i on and Res torat i on Des i gn
The architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue received the commission for the Nebraska State Capitol through a national design competition held in 1920.
The capitol building was constructed in four phases between 1922 and 1934. As part of a comprehensive restoration program, the State of Nebraska
retainedWJE to provide architectural services for the exterior envelope including masonry, windows, and roofing.
This was the first large state capitol restoration project completed by WJE, followed by commissions for the capitols of Kentucky, Georgia,
Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, and others. The client has relied on WJE’s expertise in all key decisions pertaining to the Nebraska restoration.
WJE continues to provide observation and laboratory services during the multi-phase restoration, which is scheduled for completion in 2010.
Notes of Interest
• The Nebraska State Capitol is known as the nation’s first
truly vernacular state capitol. The structure is nicknamed,
majestically and appropriately, “the Tower on the Plain.”
It is one of the most distinctive state houses in the United
States, as well as one of the tallest.
• The tower is crowned by a golden dome with a
nineteen-foot sculpture, The Sower, which faces northwest
The dome is symbolic of the sun, and its reflective surface
changes color with the weather. The frieze around the
drum depicts thunderbirds, the Native American symbol
for rain and life. Together, these symbolic elements give
homage to the pioneers who created productive farmland
and propagated civilization.
• The Nebraska State Capitol was the tallest building
in the state of Nebraska until theWoodmen Tower in
Omaha was completed in 1969.
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