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Scotts Bluff, Nebraska

Fontenelle Apartment House

Fontenelle Apartment House
Fontenelle Apartment House
National Park Service

The handsome Fontenelle Apartment House illustrates Scottsbluff’s eagerness to designate itself an urban and cultural center in the early 20th century.  The apartment house is located on the corner of Fourth and Fifteenth Streets, just four blocks east of the Scottsbluff central business district.  Noted local architect Otto John Hehnke designed the building, and G.J. Appleburge constructed it in 1917 at the time of the town’s greatest population expansion. The apartment house represents a rare urban property type in Scottsbluff, constructed just 17 years after the founding of the city and representative of a period when Scottsbluff’s growth potential appeared unlimited. Many citizens believed that the need for multiple-dwelling complexes would be so great that the extra investment in modern, architect-designed buildings would be necessary.

Nestled in a neighborhood largely composed of bungalows, the Fontenelle’s highly ornamented façade and imposing size are still striking. The Fontenelle dates from the height of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States, which ran from about 1900-1940. Although structurally little more than a rectangular box, the original dwelling housed 12 individual apartments (later increased to sixteen) and has details that exemplify both of the major styles that are identified with the Arts and Crafts movement. The ornamental brickwork located at the top of the Fontenelle’s windows, vestibules, and cornice line displays Craftsman elements, as do the massive brick columns that support the roofs of the vestibules. The linear form of the cornice and vestibule brickwork visually lowers the profile of the building. This motif, repeated throughout the building, from basement brickwork to the horizontal brick bands that form the base of the building, is a staple in Prairie style design.

Plan your visit

The Fontenelle Apartment House is located at 1424 Fourth Ave. in Scottsbluff, NE. The apartment house is currently divided into private residences and is not open to the public or available for tours.

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