Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission

The firm of Mendelssohn, Fisher and Lawrie evolved from one of the city’s earliest professional partnerships - Dufrene and Mendelssohn, formed in 1881. Dufrene had worked as an architect in Nebraska since 1867, first in partnership with T. B. Borst, and then alone during the 1870’s. Mendelssohn, born in Berlin in 1842, had studied in New York and practiced in Detroit prior to coming to Omaha. The 1884 Christian Specht Building is a product of the Dufrene and Mendelssohn partnership.

In 1885 Mendelssohn left Dufrene and entered into partnership with George Fisher. The firm operated as Mendelssohn and Fisher in 1885 and 1886 and then as Mendelssohn and Lawrie in 1887 when Fisher left the firm for a year and Harry Lawrie joined Mendelssohn. Fisher then rejoined the firm and the partnership of Mendelssohn, Fisher and Lawrie was formed.

Mendelssohn, Fisher and Lawrie was a prestigious firm which designed a variety of prominent buildings in Omaha’s building boom of the 1880’s and early 1890’s. Mendelssohn left in 1893, and the partnership of Fisher and Lawrie continued until 1913. The partners were agile designers working in a variety of building types and styles. Their buildings include the Withnell-Barton House (demolished), the Old University Library (Lincoln), the Gottlieb Storz House and Sacred Heart Church.

Michigan-born George Fisher (1856-1931) graduated from the University of Michigan in 1880 with a degree in civil engineering. Harry Lawrie (ca. 1858-1935) had nine years of professional experience in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland , before immigrating to Chicago in 1883 to enter the office of Burham and Root. He moved to Omaha in 1887.

Harry Lawrie

George L. Fisher