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William Jennings Bryan House
A national political leader, talented orator, and defender of populism, William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) was one of Lincoln’s most notable citizens. During his active political career he represented Nebraska for two congressional terms, was a three-time Democratic nominee for President, and served as Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson.
Fairview, his secluded residence, was built on countryside acreage overlooking the wooded valley of nearby Antelope Creek, approximately four miles east of downtown Lincoln. Approached by a tree-lined brick drive, the one-and-a-half story red brick house was built in the popular Queen Anne Style. With its steeply pitched roof of irregular shape, dominant front-facing gable with adjacent square tower, and extensive covered porch (enclosed in 1908), it was considered quite elegant at the time. Classical detailing is evident in the paired porch columns, Palladian windows, and cornice-line dentils. The asymmetrical plan included several guest bedrooms and a dining room that could seat twenty-four of Bryan’s distinguished guests.
Fairview, which he called “the Monticello of the West,” was indeed the hub of Bryan’s private and public activities and ambitions and he lived here from 1902 until 1921. He deeded Fairview and surrounding acreage to the Nebraska Methodist Conference as a site for a hospital, which has since grown up around the house, dominating what is now a suburban block. Fairview was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963. Currently, it is open to the public by appointment. Several rooms have been restored to depict family life during the 1900s; the rest serve as offices.
Lissandrello, Stephen, “William Jennings Bryan House," Lancaster County, Nebraska. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1975. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.
Winkelman, Phyllis H. “Fairview: Home of William Jennings Bryan,” Nebraska History55 (Spring 1974): 143-56.
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