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The G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture engages diverse audiences with the history and culture of Kearney, Nebraska, and the larger Great Plains region through collecting, preserving, and sharing the stories of the many individuals associated with this historic site. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Frank Museum serves as a living institution, interpreting the home and its cultural resources, and is dedicated to exploring our past as a way of better understanding our present and future.
The popular local architect George William Frank, Jr. designed the Frank House in 1886 as a gift for his parents. George Frank, Sr. and his wife, Phoebe, lived in the home until 1900 after George lost his financial standings in The Panic of 1893, a nationwide financial epidemic. It was one of the first houses west of the Missouri River to be wired for electricity during its initial construction (1889-1890) and featured steam radiators and indoor plumbing. After exchanging ownership numerous times, the house was purchased in 1907 by Ole and Georgiana Grothan, a husband and wife medical team who converted the house into the Grothan Elmwood Sanitarium. Ole was a Nebraska State Senator who represented this district in the early 20th century. In 1911, after Ole and Georgiana finalized their divorce, the Frank House was sold to the state of Nebraska and became part of the Nebraska State Tuberculosis Hospital where it was used as living quarters for the hospital’s staff until 1971. At that same time, the hospital grounds were acquired by Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In 1973, the home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and now stands as an integral part of the university and a testament to Kearney's rich history.
The Frank Museum is built in the Richardsonian Romanesque Shingle style. It is constructed of Colorado Red Sandstone mined from Wyoming and contains 7 of the original 10 fireplaces complete with tiles imported from Holland, hand carved oak wood work, and a beautiful stained glass window.
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