This Prairie-style Arts and Crafts classic is a bona-fide piece of Nebraska Sandhill’s History. Built in the 1920’s by Christopher Abbott, who, at the time, was the wealthiest man in Nebraska and the largest landowner in the State. No expense was spared in the construction of this architectural masterpiece. Christopher Abbott ranched over 250,000 acres of the pristine Nebraska Sandhill’s. He also owned 10 banks and three lumber companies, and imported the finest materials for construction of this 5,175 square foot home.
The home was built by architect George Beringhof, who was also the architect for stunning courthouses, churches, and numerous Carnegie Libraries nationwide, including those located in Chadron and Beatrice. Other prominent projects in Nebraska included Lincoln High School in Lincoln, NE, the Miller & Paine building in downtown Lincoln, and Security Mutual Insurance building, now called CenterStone. Beringhof was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, and was enamored of the Arts and Crafts residential building style that was iconic to the era. Architectural treasures in this home abound.
The living room features a coved beam ceiling borrowed from the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. It also features original Batchelder tile on the floor and the fireplace. Estimates procured from the current Owner over ten years ago state that, in 2006, the tiles themselves would fetch $175-$200 for the 2” tiles, $25-$30 for the 1” tiles. The Batchelder fireplace, itself a fine work of art, is estimated at $60,000 disassembled. The living room and adjoining billiards room (or “solarium”, as referenced in the original blueprints) feature large windows surrounded by glass blocks which allow natural light to fill the rooms. A glass block wall at the far end of the living room is lit from the hallway behind, filling the room with a warm glow in the evening. The chestnut French doors between the rooms feature original beveled glass. In all, the rooms are large, spacious, and filled with light. The glass blocks featured in every room of the house, the 103” mirrored wall, and the copper-backed, flesh toned mirror hanging over the fireplace were all from Pittsburgh Plate Products, the premier manufacturer of fine architectural glass at the time. The glass blocks are excellent insulation against the cold winter wind, and in combination with the mirrored hallway reflect an atmosphere of hospitality and cheer to all who enter.
The den was the original office of Mr. Abbott. The walls are paneled with high-raised Italian Walnut. The built-in walnut bar and gun cabinet feature beveled glass. The room is airy and well lit by the same large windows with glass blocks featured throughout the home. The den is a masculine room, yet refined in its materials and workmanship, thoroughly befitting of a man running an empire within its confines! One can imagine the men gathering here in rich leather chairs partaking in fine cigars and snifters of the finest brandy.
The kitchen and bathrooms have the original breathtaking tile work. The bathrooms have the original fixtures, and they are notable for being so unique in comparison to today’s fixtures, and a testament to quality manufacturing, as they are as beautiful and functional today as the were in 1923. The 1936 Magic Chef oven and range is still used in the kitchen today. It features 8 surface burners, 2 baking ovens, 2 roasting/broiling ovens, a warming oven, with beautiful white and black porcelain cabinetry wrapped in a nickel-trimmed frame. This antique is valued today at approximately $30,000, and it cooks and bakes just as well as any modern oven and range. The stained glass lamp in the dining area featuring a classic dragonfly pattern is an original Quazel lamp. The dining area is surrounded by windows, providing warm light and a gorgeous view of the surrounding Sandhill’s.
The master bath upstairs features a curved glass block wall that, when lit, illuminates the entire stairwell at night. The stairwell is backed by another glass block wall that floods the stairwell with sunlight during the day. The master bedroom features a walk-in closet that is the size of most bedrooms, with an imported ornate wool carpeting original to the house, and in pristine condition, as if it was just installed. All three upstairs bedrooms feature the trademark large windows ringed with glass blocks, flooding the rooms with natural light. Notable fixtures include 2 Lalique crystal ceiling lights and a Waterford ceiling light.
The basement features a full bath and large bedroom with original Mazda Edison fixtures. The laundry room has room for a modern washer and dryer, but still has the original “washer”, which consists of burners for cauldrons of hot water, and four “dunking bins” for rinsing, and the clothesline for hanging items up to dry. The overwhelming feature in the laundry room is the enormous time-lock safe, with intricate gears and brass fixtures, weighing over a ton. It was placed in the basement early in construction, along with the enormous cast-iron boiler for heating the home, and the house was built around them. The laundry room also features a walk out door to the backyard, allowing a private point of entry for the basement apartment. The boiler, in the utility room on the other end of the basement, was originally wood-fired, then converted to diesel. It is still functional, and a fascinating glimpse into the days of old, but previous Owners added a modern furnace to avoid having to fill a diesel tank or haul wood.
The small, white Queen Anne style house to the east of the mansion was the original home of Christopher Abbott’s father Arthur. It’s exterior was still charming and fresh a few years back, until a hailstorm badly chipped the paint, and sprinklers left an iron stain in one side. This home is in need of painting, and could be quickly restored to its former glory. It has a ½ basement with an outside entrance. It would make a wonderful caretaker’s house or a rental house. Antique school yard slides, swings, and merry-go rounds await new generations of children to play on their still-sturdy structures.
The property has two wells, one for the house, and the other for irrigation.
The back yard features a veritable village of charming, useful outbuildings. They include;
This is truly an amazing, historic home that must be seen to fully appreciate the quality and care taken in construction. This is an iconic monument to the history of the region, and a testament to the wealth obtained from proper management of the pristine Sandhills of Nebraska.
Tract in claim 62 31 24 38 Total GIS Acres 13.27, Abbotts Addition North of RR Hyannis 3.01 Acres & Tract starting 290 N of SE Corner Lot 20 Thence 25 W, 25 E, 25 S, 25 N Hyannis Third Subdivision
The Abbott Mansion - 83857 NE-61, Hyannis, NE 69350, USA
The Abbott Mansion - 83857 NE-61, Hyannis, NE 69350, USA