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Burr & Muir Block

Year Built: 1888
Architect: James Tyler

The Burr & Muir Block is one of the very few intact examples of the substantial commercial buildings that lined 9th Street before the turn of the century (see also the Bird Windmill Building).  D. D. Muir and his partner Carlos C. Burr, a Lincoln real estate dealer, attorney , and one-time mayor, constructed their block in 1888 from designs by James Tyler, one of Lincoln’s first architects.  Tyler came to Lincoln around 1874 to supervise construction of the first U.S. Post Office and Courthouse (‘Old City Hall’). 

Burr & Muir Block is one of Tyler’s best-preserved early designs, as well as being the oldest Haymarket building for which the architect is known.  It displays elements of the Romanesque Revival style in its squat, carved stone capitals above the ground floor piers and the round-headed third floors windows. The arched decoration above those windows is metal.  Note also the rounded bricks used at the corners of the façade.  A datestone above the third floor central windows, illegible today, reads clearly ‘1888’ in early photographs. 

Built as a rental property, the Burr & Muir Block has had a variety of occupants, including Norden Laboratories, today an international leader in research and production or veterinary medicines.  Norden moved to this building eight years after the company’s founding in 1919 and occupied the whole structure by the mid- 1930s.  The ‘Lincoln Underground’ restaurant, which opened in the basement in 1972, anticipated the district’s redevelopment era by nearly a decade.  ‘Brittany’s’ restaurant, which has occupied the lower and first floors since 1983, features the spectacular wood and marble bar that once graced Lincoln’s legendary ‘Hob Nob’ tavern.

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