Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
Scotts Bluff, Nebraska

Western Public Service Building

Western Public Service Building
Western Public Service Building
South Dakota State Historical Society

The Western Public Service Building is a prominent local landmark associated with the development of the electric power supply in Scottsbluff and the surrounding region. Designed by Scottsbluff architect Everett L. Goldsmith and built from 1930 to 1931, the building is both architecturally and historically significant. The four-story Western Public Service Building embodies the distinctive characteristics of the Art Deco Style and exudes a unique, sleek feeling in the small town streetscape. This small Art Deco gem is enhanced with beautiful non-structural decorative elements, including terracotta-sheathed facades and reeded pilasters that draw attention upward to an elaborate bas-relief floral and sunrise crown. The ornamental doorway entrance, decorated with stylized floral and geometric patterns in cream-colored terracotta, and the scalloped features under the window are also noteworthy embellishments. The intact interior spaces lend to the attractiveness of the building as well.

Development of electric service in Scottsbluff began in 1909 with the privately-owned Scottsbluff Electric Power Company. At first the company provided only a small amount of unreliable electric power. The Inter-Mountain Railway, Light & Power Company bought the company in 1916. After World War I, the company began selling power to multiple communities including Bridgeport, Broadwater, Melbeta, and McGrew. To reflect its growing consumer base, the company changed its name to the Western Public Service Company in 1922 and kept that name even after Stone and Webster, a Boston holding company with multiple and varied interests, purchased the company in 1925.

By 1929, the company had outgrown its office space and selected the E. L. Goldsmith Architect Company of Scottsbluff to design a new office building. The new design incorporated space for the local office and engineering section as well as the company's general headquarters offices. The company selected Ernest Leafgreen as the general contractor and let the contract in July of 1930. The total cost of the new building came to $123,567.23. The Western Public Service Company Building opened on March 30, 1931, to much local acclaim.

The Consumers Public Power District eventually purchased the company in 1942. Later, the District merged into the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), a public corporation and political subdivision of the State of Nebraska. Both the regional and the local offices of NPPD continued to operate out of the "Electric Company" building, later known as the "NPPD Building." As jobs transferred to Columbus, the number of regional employees working in the office gradually diminished. To fill the empty space, other businesses rented out offices on the upper floor. In March 2003, the local office moved to the newly remodeled facility at NPPD's Bluffs Station on First Avenue in Scottsbluff, and Frank Enterprises of Scottsbluff purchased the Western Public Service Building.

Plan your visit

The Western Public Service Building is located at 1721 Broadway in Scottsbluff, NE. The building  is currently used for office space and is not open to the public to tour.

Next page
Comments or Questions

Itinerary Home | List of sites | Maps | Learn More | Credits | Other Itineraries | NR Home | Search