(2) Lincoln Subjects

Why is Lincoln the State Capital and not Yankee Hill?

by Jim McKee

Nebraska’s original territorial capital was located in Omaha. Why, when statehood arrived, was the seat of government relocated to the tiny and insignificant village of Lancaster? Located on the edge of the “Great American Desert,” with a population of just 30, Lancaster was renamed Lincoln and selected as the site for the new state’s capitol building, the university, the insane asylum and the penitentiary. The reasons are complicated, fascinating and—according to McKee—it all boils down to mosquitoes and ice cream.

Looking at Lincoln: Images from the MacDonald Studio

by Jim McKee

For almost 50 years, the MacDonald Studio in Lincoln photographed all aspects of life in the Capital City, including its people, architecture, social and cultural institutions, enterprises and political events. Nearly 30,000 photographs taken by the studio between 1920 and 1957 are in this family album of Lincoln.

The History of the University of Nebraska

by Jim McKee

The location of the University of Nebraska in the state’s capital may seem like a foregone conclusion now, but in the 1860s the new state’s senators chartered 14 other locations before finally settling on Lincoln. The state’s academic stronghold might well have been the “University of Nebraska at Wyoming.” McKee takes a look at the university’s past.

The History of the Nebraska State Capitol

by Jim McKee

This slide-illustrated program tells the story of Nebraska’s two territorial capitol buildings in Omaha and three state capitols in Lincoln. Nebraska’s present capitol, built between 1922 and 1932, is discussed in detail from the design contest ultimately won by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, through its being named one of the ten most beautiful buildings in the world, one of the ten best built buildings in the world to one of the 50 most memorable works of architecture in the world.

The Amazing Library of Thomas Jefferson Fitzpatrick

by Jim McKee

Thomas Jefferson Fitzpatrick, longtime resident of Bethany, was a bibliomaniac. This college professor began with a solid collection of rare books inherited from his illustrious namesake. A lifetime of collecting later, he was living entirely in the kitchen of his house while the rest of the property was packed floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall with books. Only after his death in 1952 was the full extent of his obsession uncovered.

Lincoln’s Diverse Past

by Edward Zimmer

An illustrated survey focusing on some of the ethnic and religious groups who settled early in our state’s capital city–a vibrant African-American community, thousands of Germans from Russia, early settlers from Mexico and others. Architectural historian Ed Zimmer uses historic photographs, cemetery records, existing buildings and other sources to offer a visible heritage of these Lincolnites.

Lincoln’s Historic Neighborhoods

by Edward Zimmer

Lincoln is made up of neighborhoods with a distinct character and history. This presentation can take the form of a walking tour (depending upon the weather and the sponsoring group) in one of the Capital City’s historic neighborhoods: The Haymarket, the Near South, Woods Park or other neighborhoods. Zimmer examines the interrelationship of local history, architects and architecture, urban growth and redevelopment. He explores neighborhoods and their buildings to raise (and sometimes answer) historical questions. Visit with Zimmer about options in the focus and format of this program.

The People Who Made it Work: A Centennial History of the Cushman Motor Works

by Mary Kay Quinlan

Based on a 2001 project for the Cushman Motor Works centennial celebration, this presentation tells the history of the Lincoln, Neb., company from its beginnings when the Cushman cousins perfected a modification of a two-cycle engine to its end in 2002 when the product line was moved out of the state. The speaker uses quotes from oral history interviews and a Power Point slide show.

The Making of a Monument

by Robert C. Ripley

An exploration of the history, art and architecture of the Nebraska State Capitol, “a jewel among historical monuments,” this program explores the complex history of the Capitol, the symbolism embodied in its sculptures and mosaics, the philosophical integration of elements and the building’s place in 20th-century architectural design. The presentation helps audiences better understand and appreciate the powerful message embodied in this prairie monument.