Crane Company Building (1905), 323 South 10th Street
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Built in 1905 as a brach warehouse for the Crane Brothers Manufacturing Company of Chicago, this straight forward building is the earliest structure in the district to exhibit a rationalist approach to design. It is also the first building in the district to b partially framed with concrete. Designed by Omaha architects Fisher and Lawrie, the building's structure is a hybrid system of graduated masonry perimeter walls, cast iron columns and steel beams used to support concrete floors and a concrete roof. Formally, the building consists of a six-story, 66 x 132-foot warehouse and an adjacent 66 x 132-foot one-story structure that was originally built as a pipe shed. Aesthetically, the pragmatic Crane Building exemplifies the early twentieth century tendency toward “realism” in warehouse design. The walls of the building are treated as smooth unadorned planes of solid brick that rise directly from grade. Trim is simple and sparse: thin stone bands define the first and top floors of the warehouse and link the pip shed to the main structure, while four brick bands serve as a cornice. The transomed, stone main entrance is the only feature on the building that could be considered ornamental.
The Crane Company, manufacturers of the wrought iron pip, boiled tubes and all types of gas, water and steam supplies, first established a western distribution branch in Omaha in 1886. With pipe mills located in Chicago and Pittsburg, the company carried on an immense jobbing trade through traveling agents located throughout the world. In addition to products manufactured by the company, the Omaha branch carried a full line of plumbing materials as well as hydraulic machinery, mill, elevator and machinery supplies, metals, belting and hose.
Nogg Brothers Paper Company, which acquired the building from the Crane Company in 1966, continues to occupy the structure today. The alteration of a few doors and windows at street level are the only changes that have been made to the exterior of the building, which is in very good condition.