The University of Nebraska agreed to provide
a site at 1500 R Street, between the Nebraska Union and the faculty
Ground was broken August 25, 1951. (Left to
right): Society board member and Nebraska Chief Justice Robert
G. Simmons; Society Superintendent James C. Olson; Society board
member Professor James L. Sellers; Society President James E.
Lawrence, Society Treasurer Nathan J. Gold, and University Chancellor
Reuben G. Gustavson.
Ellery Davis of the Lincoln architectural
firm, Davis and Wilson, designed the building, although the façade
was changed from that shown in this early rendering.
By June 25, 1952, the steelwork was rising.
All bids were awarded to Lincoln firms: Olson Construction, general
contractor; Reinhardt Brothers, heating, ventilating, and plumbing;
and George E. Knapp, electrical.
The cornerstone was laid on July 16, 1952.
State Senator Daniel Garber of Red Cloud (standing left, in front
of the cornerstone) introduced the 1943 legislative bill that
provided funding for the building. The total cost, including
exhibits, was $598,538.65.
Invitation to the R Street dedication.
On September 27, 1953, Governor Robert Crosby
officially dedicated the building. To his right are Nathan J.
Gold, Society President James E. Lawrence, Superintendent James
C. Olson; and Robert Taft of the University of Kansas.
Governor Crosby, along with many others, signed
the guest book on dedication day.