The Gilded Age Plains City

The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of Lincoln, Nebraska


Explore the City

Spatial Narratives

Interpretation and Narrative

Frank M. Hall

Figure 1 preview

Figure 1

The west side of Government Square was an important block in Frank Hall's spatial realm during the early years of his career. In 1880, two years after he withdrew from law school, he was admitted to the Nebraska Bar Association and soon after began his law practice with T. M. Marquett and Dominick Courtnay in the Fitzgerald Block at 111 North Ninth Street. When Courtnay left the firm, he was replaced by Joel Deweese, changing the firm's name to Marquett, Deweese, and Hall, and together, the lawyers operated out of an office at 111 North Ninth Street until around 1888. The building, shown in two photographs, is the second structure from the left in both images (Figure 1). Here Hall most likely came into contact with railroad contractor and capitalist John Fitzgerald, the owner of the building who maintained his office there for most of his career in Lincoln.

Around 1888 Marquett, Deweese, and Hall relocated their offices to rooms 79-84 of the Burr Block, Lincoln's newest and tallest business block erected by attorney and real estate developer, Carlos C. Burr and his brother, Lionel Burr. Hall remained in the Burr Block with various law partners, including Genio Lambertson, Frank Woods, and Roscoe Pound, until around 1909. After maintaining an office in the Little building at the northwest corner of Eleventh and O streets with Woods and Pound for about two years, Hall moved offices again around 1912 to the seventh floor of the newly completed First National Bank building on the southeast corner of Tenth and O streets, former home of the State Block. Here he practiced with Woods and a new partner, Frank Bishop. The First National Bank building still stands today. Hall's final law partners at his death were Frank Williams and Earl Cline. As a civil attorney he also spent much of his time at the county court house — the older building was located at 239 South Eleventh and the newer one on Tenth between J and K streets.

The courthouse and law offices were not the only places within Hall's public realm. He also was well acquainted with Lincoln's various burgeoning social and cultural institutions such as the University of Nebraska, local art groups, the Lincoln public schools, and the Lincoln Public Library. Hall belonged to the Union Club and the Lincoln Commercial Club which together became the Lincoln Union Commercial Club in an 1897 merge. When he joined the two individual groups, the Union Club maintained a clubroom in a building at 141 South Twelfth Street and the Lincoln Commercial Club met at 1127 P Street. After they joined forces, the organization moved into the Press building on the southwest corner of Thirteenth and N streets. In 1907, the group, which had changed its name to the Lincoln Commercial Club in 1903 when they decided to drop their social goal to concentrate on their economic purpose, moved into the Fraternity building on the southeast corner of Thirteenth and N streets. The group again relocated on May 1, 1912 when they bought a building at 1100 P Street where they met well into the twentieth century in an elaborate meeting room on the second floor.

Hall also gathered recognition as one of Lincoln's primary art collectors and he, along with his wife Anna, was a central figure in the proliferation of the city's fine art institutions. In 1888 when Lincoln's premier art association, the Haydon Art Club, was formed, Anna Hall became a member of the board of directors. Although he did not hold office in the club, Frank Hall was a member and contributed money and paintings from his own collection to exhibitions that the group organized. When the Haydon Art Club became incorporated in 1900, Hall was nominated and elected president of the newly created Nebraska Art Association.

Hall's first home in Lincoln was at 524 North Sixteenth. In 1895 he purchased a Queen Anne style Victorian house at 1039 South Eleventh Street (or 1040 D Street) that became his long-time residence; he lived there until his death in 1928. The house was approximately ten blocks away from the central business district and his law office at Twelfth and O streets. Additionally, Hall's home served as a gathering place for local artists and musicians; it was decorated with the paintings and sculptures that he and his wife collected.

Burr, Carlos C. [Narrative] [Brief Biography]
Burr, Lionel C. [Brief Biography]
Courtnay, Dominick G. [Brief Biography]
Deweese, Joel W. [Brief Biography]
Fitzgerald, John [Narrative] [Brief Biography]
Hall, Frank M. [Narrative] [Brief Biography]
Lambertson, Genio M. [Narrative] [Brief Biography]
Marquett, Turner M. [Brief Biography]

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Directed by Timothy R. Mahoney, Plains Humanities Alliance, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.
Funded by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, the Nebraska Humanities Council, and the Plains Humanities Alliance.
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