George Washington Frank's Stone House on the Nebraska Prairie
by Virginia Llego Lund
Trafford Publishing

"When many people were struggling to eke out a living from humble sod homes in the vast land of opportunity, George Frank was in a position to erect a structure which demonstrated the potential of our Nebraska prairie."- Jerry Berggren, AIA

George Washington Frank, a New Yorker, successful banker and innovator, and his wife Phoebe, an educated woman also from New York, went to Kearney, Nebraska in the late 1800s, where George established a hydro-electric plant on the Platte River. The couple, aided by their son George William, who had studied civil engineering and architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, designed a large, well-appointed home on the edge of the Nebraska grasslands. The home combined the heavy solidity of what is called Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style and the Shingle Style, with an irregular roofline, shingle walls, gables, and dormers. The building materials included red Colorado sandstone and English golden oak. Though the two and a half story structure would have looked like a mansion to the immigrants settling the area in houses built of cut earth blocks, it was rather modest by old world standards, as well in tone and feeling, both Western and modern. It featured two bathrooms, electric light, numerous fireplaces, stenciled wall decorations, and a Tiffany stained glass window on the second floor landing.

Virginia Llego Lund, curator of the Frank House for fourteen years, has tastefully and intelligently collected photographs of the house as it passed through various stages of change, as a sanitarium and part of a hospital for "the tuberculous." Current restoration of this structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, reveals the rich detail of the many wood fireplaces, balustrades, and newel posts. "All of the woodcarvings were done on site by John Lindbeck, a Swedish carpenter who lived in Kearney." The Tiffany window is still a priceless and memorable centerpiece of this magnificent old home.

This coffee table book with large clear color photographs will be of interest to students of architectural history and Americana.

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