1911 Colonial Revival style home in Columbus, Nebraska will impress! Renovated within the last two years, the Historic L. Frederick Gottschalk House sits on an oversized lot (approximately 1/2 a city block square) in East Park neighborhood. Five bedrooms and four bathrooms have been updated while restoring original details including windows, woodwork, doors with transoms, chandeliers, plaster walls and wood flooring. Renovations include updated electrical, plumbing and A/C as well as motorized shades, ceiling fans and custom drapery. New kitchen includes custom cabinets, soapstone counters and new appliances. Full attic has finished space and a whole house fan.
Approximate Finished Square Footage:
Main Floor 2,162 sf
Second Floor 1,462 sf
Finished Attic Space 680 sf
Basement 1,854 sf
Property History, as adapted from the 1982 National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form submitted by Edward M. Nielsen, Jr.
The L. Frederick Gottschalk house represents the history of the Gottschalk family residency in Columbus from 1857 through ca. 1969. In 1911, L. Frederick Gottschalk, son of Frederick L., built a larger more commodious house to replace the earlier dwelling log cabin on the property. Designed by architect Charles Wurdeman, the house is a large two-story frame dwelling, square in plan with a steeply-pitched hipped roof, enhanced by hipped dormers. A single story wing on the rear balances the single-story hip-roof porch across the front facade. Supported by paired columns, the porch is enlivened with a projecting pedimented pavilion in the center. The Gottschalk house is located on an expansive suburban site which was once known as East Columbus, and prior to that was a rural area on the outskirts of town.
The house built in 1911 by L. Frederick Gottschalfc offers stark contrast to the previous cabin the family once occupied (now on display at the Platte County NE Museum). The two-story frame over raised brick basement is monumental in character and distinguished by its classical treatment. Designed by architect Charles Wurdeman, the symmetrical three-bay by two-bay, cubic or square-type house features a steeply-pitched hipped roof with symmetrically arranged hipped dormers. Both the roof and the dormers display metal finials at each peak. Each dormer is trimmed with corner pilasters and all roofs are enlivened with modillion cornices. The major facades are symmetrically arranged in two or three bays. The three-bay front facade features one-over-one double-hung windows on the second story over paired double-hung windows on the left and a single-pane picture window on the right of the ground story. This picture window is of original construction while four others on the side facades of the ground story are 1953 remodelings of original paired windows. The centrally located entrance is emphasized with the varnished oak Palladian opening composed of sidelights with fan-light stained glass over the door. Walls are covered with narrow beveled siding and are articulated with wooden cornice, watertable and interstitial string course. The second story walls flare slightly outward at this string course. A single story, low-pitched wing at the north rear is part of the original construction, housing kitchen, breakfast nook and bedroom. To this, in 1953, was added a low, one story garage which is attached to the main house via a narrow enclosed entry. The walls are narrow beveled siding matching the original and the roof is a raised-seam metal material. The roof on another 1953 addition, the enclosed porch off the east facade, is also covered with raised-seam metal and was fully enclosed sometime in the 1990s. All additions are compatible in scale and texture to the original and are models of contemporary sensitivity to historic fabric. The final exterior feature of mention is the full frontal south entrance porch. The porch features paired Tuscan columns and a central projecting pedimented pavilion over the entry.
The interior arrangement is a modification of the traditional four over four room plan with central hall. A vestibule occupies space with the central hall, with a study and dining room on the west, and a large parlor on the east. Four bedrooms, two baths and a hall occupy the second floor. Modernization has occurred in the kitchen and bathrooms, and the 1953 remodeling widened the opening into the parlor, replacing the original stair railings with delicately designed wrought iron. Distinctive light oak woodwork and paneling are features of the first floor.
The Gottschalk house is significant in the area of exploration and settlement for associations with Frederick L. Gottschalk, pioneer and one of the thirteen original founders of Columbus; in the area of engineering for associations with L. Frederick Gottschalk, long-time Platte County Surveyor (1916-1939) noted for his work in Columbus and for the Loup River Public Power District canal; in the area of architecture (log house) as a distinct product of pioneer German-American architecture and (frame house) as an exceptional free-Classical example of the ubiqiutous, two-story cubic or square-type house.
L. Frederick Gottschalk, son of Frederick and Margaretha Gottschalk, was born in April of 1864 in the log house previously located on the homestead property. L. Frederick received his early education in the Columbus schools. Later, he attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he studied civil engineering, After graduating, Mr. Gottschalk worked in the office of the Ann Arbor city engineer for five years, then worked several years at his profession, surveying in various sections of the United States. In the mid 1890’s, Gottschalk returned to Columbus where he continued in his profession until retiring. For many years he was the only civil engineer in Columbus. In 1911 he was appointed Platte County Surveyor and was elected to that office in 1916, serving in that capacity until 1939. He made the original survey for the Loup River Public Power District canal, an important irrigation and power generating project. He also executed the 1925 map of Columbus, upon which he named streets in honor of early Columbus pioneers and businessmen. L. Frederick Gottschalk was also active in other private and public affairs. Following his father’s death in 1905 he assumed management of the Gottschalk properties. In 1909 he was elected director of the Columbus Land, Loan and Building Association, and in 1926 was elected vice-president, an office he held until 1941. In 1896 he became a member of the Columbus Volunteer Fire Department and served as chief for three years, from 1903-1905. He died on September 18, 1941.
Architectural significance is associated with the home, and its association with German-American culture, in that the Gottschalk house is only the third pioneer log dwelling to be identified by the Survey to date, and one of only six pioneer-era German structures to be recorded. The frame Gottschalk house is an example of a type found in large numbers across the state, that is, basically, a two-story dwelling, square in plan and capped by a hipped or pyramidal roof. The type has also been built in Nebraska from the 1860s through the 1920s, the earliest examples being predominately Italianate in style. While many nineteenth century vernacular examples tended to be Classic in their extreme simplicity, it was around the turn of the century that more sophisticated Neo-Classical motifs began to develop. Like some of the finest turn-of-the-century examples, the Gottschalk house is distinguished by Neo-Palladian influences, including the projecting pedimented porch pavilion and the Venetian entry
Additional Information & Photos can be found at:
National Register of Historic Places Details
Contact Jasper Owens 402-276-2830 or Betty Earley 402-910-8168
Updated on August 5, 2022 at 3:32 pm