Rittenhouse and Way: Architects of Hastings' First Half Century

C.C. RittenhouseC.W. Way 




Hastings has had boom and bust periods in development. But substantial buildings still stand as monuments to its most prolific architects, Charles C. Rittenhouse and Claude W. Way.

C.C. Rittenhouse, Adams County's first practicing architect, had the greatest influence on the appearance of Hastings before 1900. He designed many buildings and houses in the city between 1877 and 1895, when he moved to the West Coast. Three are on the National Register of Historic Places: the Farrell Block, McCormick Hall at Hastings College, and the Nebraska Loan and Trust building. Rittenhouse created the first Adams County courthouse, located here from 1890 to 1964. Rittenhouse also designed over forty churches, banks, opera houses, schools and government buildings across Nebraska. He also served as a city councilman and mayor of Hastings for over 10 years. C.C. Rittenhouse died in Glendale, California in 1937.

Michigan native, C.W. Way arrived in Hastings at age thirty-six in 1906. He established an architectural practice which led to contracts for most of the prominent buildings in the city in the next generation. Like Rittenhouse, Way also designed buildings in other communities and floor plans to private residences. His versatility as an architect is evidenced by the range of his designs: he directed construction of everything from the towering Clarke Hotel to gas stations in Hastings. Other projects undertaken by C.W. Way included Dutton-Lainson's Victory Building, the City Auditorium, St. Cecilia's Catholic Church and the Strand Theatre. In the words of one writer, "these structures collectively comprise the historic fabric of down-town Hastings." C.W. Way relocated to Houston, Texas in 1924. He was buried at Parkview Cemetery in Hastings at his death in 1948.