The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, January 04, 1902, Image 1

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    VOL. AT, NO. I
Being a Dissertation on Street Architecture
in the Capital City of Nebraska J J
Architecture in the business district
of Lincoln can boast a peculiar variety
if not a distinctly artistic arrangement.
It is a disorderly array that looks good
or bad, according to the mood of the
witness. Glancing down any of the
streets one is impressed with the no
tion that the business men who built
the structures on either side were actu
ated by as strong an architectural as
.1 commercial competition. In other
words, rather than strive for harmony
in appearance their thought was to put
together a building as alien to its
elbow neighbor as possible; they de
sired a different structural design, no
matter what the looks might be. The
result is that a person craving enjoy
ment from one of these commercial
vistas must seek it in the jagged char
acter of roof lines and in rugged, jag-
H1 fjicadco. On n liy -when the sun
is shining brightly and the observer
is feeling in the best of vim he can see
in these inharmonious lines and angles
a sort of inanimate opposition or war
fare that g'ives the streets a spirited
aspect, which with the moving multi
tudes of people and cars anil trucks
shows the city to be a pretty lively
young metropolis, all interesting to say
the least.
Tall buildings are oddly infrequent,
or rather, so few are they that lirst
sight of them strikes one oddly. The
Burr block claims the greatest height,
spiring upward from a square of low
roofed buildings in a manner that never
fails to excite the curious comment of
the visitor. Spying it from the west
or southwest it is sure to win some
admiration. Though its dark hue is
rather a sombre spectacle it gives an
instant impression, with its serried
ranks of windows each with its office
sign, of its sturdy character as i hi.e
of business. To look from it to the
buildings below and about it hardly
stuns one with admiration for them or
for the society of buildings of so in
compatible an architectural nature.
Then too it is a disappointment to look
from the chipped stones of the west
and south walls to the nakedness of the
brick that composes the east and north
sides. It looks wholly unnatural all
around. The only other particularly
tall buildings are the Lincoln hotel at
Ninth and P streets, the Richards
block at Eleventh and O streets and
the Farmers and Merchants block at
Fifteenth and O streets. All four are
structures good to look upon and good
to think about. The Lincoln hotel, of
a lead colored stone, is tall and staunch
and with its fire escapes possesses
airs that are strictly metropolitan.
The Richards block. latest or new bus
iness block, is a handsome building
with walls smooth and uniform with
the exception of occasionally jutting
adornments, enough and sufficiently
tasty to relieve monotony. Much the
same is the Farmers and Merchants
block, tall and narrow with large .win
dows set in artistically formed case
ments. These buildings are decidedly
ornamental to the business district of
the city. If doubted, fancy them ab
sent, with some of the low roofed, com
monplace samples of architecture in
their places. It would certainly be a
dull looking town. There is just the
proper degree of difference in their
shading, and their projection above the
loofs of the others of the town is dis
tinctly attractive to the eye, especially
from some point of eminence. These
witli the peaks and spires and cupolas
scattered over the center of the city
form a certainly interesting upper ele
ment of architecture. That it is surely
the art and architecture of commerce
sky scraper. At present it has one
need and that is a new. substantial of
fice block. This is practically the unan
imous opinion of the real estate men
of the city. They think that with a
new building such as the Richards
block or the building of the Farmers
Insurance Company. located somewheie
between Tenth and Thirteenth street.,
with modern equipments and the prop
er frontage, the city's office needs might
be pretty well supplied. One real es
tate agent said:
"I have calls-Tor first class offices and
suites nearly every day and am unable
to furnish desirable places. The chon
Is invariably a set or rooms fronting on
O street. It Is one of the queer things
about the city that none of the large
blocks possesses a frontage of any t -tent
on O street. Another bloik at
Eleventh and O streets would be a line
investment for the man with the cash
like hot cakes. It ought to have an
east frontage and he on some O stive t
corner. Pel haps you have never no
ticed it, but the city is unfortunate in
the frontage of Its blocks. All of those
of most consequence, the RlchanW
block, the Purr and the Farmers and
Merchants building, you will notice,
stand flouting the west. Talk about
bent' Those outside rooms are like
iivi'iii in the summer time in spile of
the awnings that are spread for the
protection or the i enters. I hail my
rooms In one of them fur several years
but I would not teturn to any of them
again if the rooms were olfered me fm
nothing. Of course there nie a good
many unoccupied rooms in blocks
whose riontage is in the right position
and which look rrom the outside like
fine buildings. The trouble with
these is two-fold, they are too far
fiom o street .mil their lighting N
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may readily be believed, even by one
who does not chance to be a birdseye
observer, when he tenters his attention
on the myriad advertisements or all
sizes, colors and characters that cram
the walls and interspaces. Taking the
long view or a street, and it is one or
the advantages of the city that it may
brag wide streets, as shown in the
illustrations, it is a receding parallel ar
tay or nondescript masonry and carpen
try, fairly uniform as high as the dis
play windows, but with a most uneven,
gaping skyline with some smooth
and other figured cornices and quite a
showing of angles, a few tiny pinnacles,
upper bay windows and an occasional
column and buttress.
It is safe to sa that it will be many
years before the city will enjoy the
distinction of a real sharp, heighty
to put it up. Two more blocks would
be one too many, but one more, with
good lighting and heating facilities say
the size of the Richards block, "voultl
be filled in two weeks without trouble.
Plocks that stand a distance of from
one block to two or three from O stieet
are not very cordially regarded. Pro
fessional men desire to be where their
signs m:i-y be seen by the passing
thtong. That is one reason why some
of the more distant blocks are so thinly
Another leal estate man taking the
same view said:
"Well, I believe one new block would
just about fit the office needs of thi
city. One new block in the right local
ity and possessed or the modern feat
ures of light and heat would find im
mediate renters. The rooms would go
poor. Th- ib p.-nd laigtl) mi sk..
lights that are entirely unsatisfactoi
They are sandwiched in between high
walls of other buildings and the otluts
are caverned from street view. A new
block with the frontage and equipment
I have mentioned would till quickly and
get a good many men oiJicing in tin
three buildings I have mentioned. I do
not bellexe in building to excess. Every
uirplus building Is hurtful to the city,
but It Is hardly possible to have to:
many efficient, choice office rooms."
t -!
T S tV
Another View of It
Street architecture is the background
to outdoor. cit Iif-. If tin- back
ground i sordid wil vqiitlid. the men
.mil iwutiui who tno in front of it
do not f'-t-l that so fit .is their en
nv.ntinued on Page i