Columbus architect shared his vision in area

2007-05-03T00:00:00Z Columbus architect shared his vision in areaBy Eric Freeman/ Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS - &#8220I don't think we can overestimate the contribution my dad made to the Columbus area and many small towns and villages across the state,” said Emiel Christensen's son William.

William E. Christensen, retired, will speak about his father, Emiel Christensen, the prominent architect and community planner who designed the Oak Ballroom in Schuyler and several historic homes in the Columbus area. The public is invited to attend the presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Platte County Museum meeting room, 2916 16th St.

Emiel Christensen was born in Washington County on April 23, 1895. Christensen and his wife, Clara, came to Columbus from Lyons, Nebraska in the summer of 1927.

Upon his arrival in Columbus he began working for a local architectural company and after a short time he purchased the business.

Schuyler's Oak Ballroom was one of Christensen's earliest and best-known project designs . He also worked as the building foreman on the ballroom, which was constructed by WPA workers. His work includes many family residences in Columbus notable by the distinctive use of red brick and stone exteriors.

Christensen also served as a technical adviser to the Columbus City Council, designed the old city hall built in the 1930s. As adviser to the city he also designed additions to the city's water and sewer systems. He served as the Columbus Red Cross disaster chairman for many years. After World War II Emiel developed a reputation in community planning, and was invited to join the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He taught classes in community planning and became a leader in Nebraska's Community Improvement Program.

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