- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Remains of Nebraska’s second Lincoln Capitol have surfaced as workers have excavated dirt in the building’s northwest courtyard for the installation of new fountains.

The Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1TIbYft ) reports that the workers discovered about four dozen pieces of buried limestone that probably made up a portion of the facade of the old Capitol. Before the discovery, the Capitol Commission had only one piece of stone from the old building.

Architect Matt Hansen is cleaning the decades-old, caked-on dirt and mud from the limestone.

“It’s exciting because you’re getting to touch part of the past that’s been sort of forgotten about,” Hansen said. “Most people don’t even know what the previous building looked like, so to be able to put your hands on it is kind of fun.”

The commission will keep some of the stones in its masonry shop for people to see and touch on tours, Hansen said.

The second Capitol building, which has been gone for more than 90 years, was built from 1881 to 1888. After it was completed a crack was discovered in the south wall of the east wing, caused by a too-short arch that was constructed over the foundation. The Nebraska State Historical Society says that workers had attempted to support the building after discovering a spot where a deep excavation had been made in 1868 to dig sand for the first state Capitol.

The Nebraska State Journal rebuffed ensuing complaints.

“The Journal does not believe that there is a handsomer, stauncher or better building in the country for the money,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial.

But the second state Capitol turned out to be too small almost as soon as it was built. Plans began for a third Capitol on the same site in 1915. The new building was built around the second Capitol, which was then torn down.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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