It seems important to document the background of Jack C. Jackson, founder of the firm, before the company of Jackson-Jackson & Associates was established. Jack C. attended Clifton Hill Elementary School on North 45th Street and lived at the Nebraska School for the Deaf, locate at 45th and Bedford Street, where his father served as Superintendent for 36 years. He attended Clifton Hill through the 8th grade and then attended North High School from 1931-1935. He lettered in three sports: football, basketball, and baseball, while his father served as the first Varsity coach for all sports at North High School, since it opened in 1925.
After graduating from North High School in 1935, Jack C. attended Omaha University at its’ new campus at 68th & Dodge Street for two years, where he lettered in basketball. He then, determined to get his engineering degree, needed to attend a larger university and thus enrolled at the University of Texas in the fall of 1937. After two weeks in Austin, he decided that he would not get the education that he needed or wanted there and came back to the University of Nebraska in the fall of 1937 in time to enroll in the school of engineering. He had a passion to play basketball and wanted to continue to play. As a result, he tried out as a walk-on at the University and made the team as a guard. He lettered in varsity basketball and graduated as an Architectural Engineer in 1939.
The following is a list of Jack C’s. employment following graduation from the University of Nebraska:
1. Phillips Petroleum Company, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, June 7, 1939, as a building site inspector for construction of service stations in the Midwest, particularly in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area.
2. Gate City Iron Works, Omaha, Nebraska, June 23, 1940 – April 1, 1941, prepared structural steel shop drawings.
3. Stanley Van Teylingen & Henningson (later to become Henningson, Durham & Richardson and then HDR), Omaha, Nebraska, April 1941 – December 1, 1941, stationed at West Yellowstone, Montana, working on a military ski training facility in the area among other projects. (Photo)
West Yellowstone, Montana
4. When the United States entered WWII, he applied for the Navy’s officers candidates’ school. In the meantime, he heard that the Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore, Maryland, was going to construct a new aircraft manufacturing plant in Bellevue, Nebraska, so he went to their recruiting office in downtown Omaha to apply for a position at the plant. He related the story that when he went up to the second floor of the downtown office building where the recruiting offices were located, he mistakenly turned right instead of left. If he had turned left, he would have gone into the building construction department offices, but since he turned right he went into the aircraft assembly recruitment office. The recruiter asked if he knew anything about airplanes. He said he had built a number of model airplanes and knew the different functions and parts of the airplane. He told them that he had been accepted to the Navy Officer’s Candidate School, but they offered him an aircraft engineering related position at the new plant after his interview, which he then accepted because of the need related to the war effort. He worked at the Martin Bomber Plant from December 15, 1941 – September 6, 1945, where he served as a Chief Quality Control Engineer and Assistant Chief Inspector, in charge of over 600 people for construction of B-24’s, B- 26’s and B-29 aircraft. The plant had the reputation of constructing quality aircraft and set numerous production records during his time there. During the height of World War II, he worked 7 days per week, 12 hours a day. (Photo)
Martin Bomber Plant
5. Following the war, the plant was closed and all of the employees were no longer needed, so were let go. He then went to work at John Latenzer & Sons Architects, Omaha, Nebraska, from September 7, 1945- December 1, 1945. Jack C. had soon discovered that being a draftsman at Latenzer & Sons was not a good fit for him after managing a large department at the bomber plant and felt overqualified for the position as a graduate engineer.
6. He had a boyhood friend growing up named Bill Durand, who had gotten degrees in Physics, Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering. They had reconnected during the fall of 1945 and reasoned that there would be a number of pilots returning from WWII who would want to have private aircraft, that they could purchase at a reasonable price and fly as a hobby. Therefore, they pooled all of their resources and formed the company of Durand Aircraft Company on December 5, 1945. They designed a two-seat pusher type airplane and one prototype was constructed at Durand’s Skyranch Airport at Highway #36 and North 84th St. in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photos) During a test flight, at the Lincoln, Nebraska, Municipal Airport, the test pilot was given instructions regarding how to fly the airplane. Since it was a pusher airplane, it would react differently upon take-off than an airplane with a propeller in front. The test pilot did not follow instructions and crashed the airplane at the end of the runway. The test pilot was unhurt, but the loss of that plane exhausted their funds and therefore the company ceased operation on February 1, 1946.
Durand Aircraft Company
7. Jack C. then went to work for the J.T. Allan Architectural Firm, Omaha, Nebraska, from April 22, 1946 – May 3, 1947. He had the opportunity to work on numerous projects, including the new Greyhound Bus Depot at the northwest corner of 17th & Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska, (Photo) which has since been razed for the new Woodman of the World Headquarters Parking Garage.
8. Again, the work at J.T. Allan was not satisfying. There was a new technology being developed defined as air conditioning that drew his attention. The Sidles Company offered him a job as a sales engineer, to promote and sell air conditioning systems throughout the City of Omaha. He started work with the Sidles Company on May 12, 1947, and worked there until December 31, 1949, at which time he decided to start his own architectural firm. He always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so this was his big chance to apply his architectural and engineering education to start to control his own destiny.
Greyhound Bus Depot
Jackson-Jackson & Associates
Following Jack C. Jackson’s work at the Glen L. Martin Bomber Plant during WWII and then numerous other engineering associated positions, Jack C. opened his first office on January 1, 1950, at 538 South 20th Street, Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo) The office was on the second floor of that building. Since he had just recently been working for the Sidles Company across the street engineering and selling air conditioning systems, they offered him his first commission, which was a new Sidles Company office building and warehouse/distribution center to be located in Lincoln, NE, at 1649 M Street. (Photo)
First Office (Present Day)
His first office consisted of two rooms, unfurnished, one being the reception and waiting room and the other the drafting room. The rent was $25 per month. The Simpson Company was one of the first vendors to make a sales call on him and noticed that he did not have an adequate ceiling in his office, so they donated a new suspended acoustical tile ceiling for the office. There was a husband and wife architectural firm of Franciss Wilkie and Leslie Wilkie (both graduates of Kansas State University) located on the first floor of the same building, who offered to him help get established. They helped educate him regarding the format for writing performance and material specifications and procedures for bidding and construction administration procedures. He was very grateful for their assistance.
The majority of his first projects were light commercial buildings and custom homes. He was stamping the drawings as an Architectural Engineer. He received a complaint from the Omaha Chapter of the American Institute of Architects that he should not be stamping architectural drawings as Architectural Engineer, which he and the Licensing Board agreed was proper, but to satisfy the local Architects’ concerns, he agreed to take the architectural examination, which he passed. He was then certified as a licensed Architect and Engineer, a rare combination.
On June 1, 1952, he established a partnership with Brandy Backlund, who was primarily a Civil Engineer, thinking that the partnership would draw bigger commissions, since there would be more diverse services to offer future clients. The partnership was established July 1, 1952, at 4924 Poppleton Avenue. (Photo) The partnership was incorporated on May 1, 1953. (As a point of interest, both Gene Gollihan, Surveyor, and Jim Schemmer, Civil Engineer, worked for the firm. These two eventually went on to start their own engineering firm following their employment at Backlund-Jackson.) They designed numerous types of projects and he served as designer and project architect for the Cuming County Courthouse in West Point, Nebraska. (Photo)
Backlund - Jackson Office
Cuming County Courthouse
Jack left the firm in late July, 1953, when it was discovered that his partner, Brandy, had purchased a new Chrysler Imperial without consulting him. He was very concerned about unneeded expenditures at the time, since they were having a hard time making payroll and meeting other financial obligations. Jack C. did not feel it was an appropriate unilateral decision or an approved expenditure. Therefore, Jack C. decided that the partnership was not an amicable one, so he decided to sell his stock and leave the corporation. Backland signed a note to Jack C. for his share of the company, thinking that he would be “lucky” to collect. That afternoon Jack C. made a smart move. He “took the note to The First National Bank downtown” and sold it to them for a 15% discount. The bank then went after Brandy Backland for the balance. That action got most of Jack’s money returned to him and forced Backland to pay off the note to the bank.
Jack C. then re-established himself as Jack C. Jackson, Architect, on August 1, 1953. On August 29, 1953, he went into partnership with Tony Battiato, who was just starting a housing development company. They reasoned that this combination of architect and developer would allow them to create large tracts of housing together. The office was located at 2847 N. 50th Street. (Photos) The partnership developed a number of housing projects, including a group of houses on Martin Avenue west of 30th Street, 72nd and Western and in Keystone at 80th & Evans Street. All the houses were designed as individual residences and had different floor plans and different elevations to suit each individual site.
One of the highlights of this partnership was the design and construction of a house known as the “Chrysler House” at 1515 North 75th Avenue, Omaha, NE. The Chrysler Corporation was a major sponsor for the Lawrence Welk Show on television. One of their divisions started to furnish heating and air conditioning equipment for the housing market. This house was one of the first houses in the United States to incorporate the equipment. As a way of promoting this division for Chrysler, the Lawrence Welk Band, on their way from Los Angeles to New York, was asked to stop in Omaha to promote the opening of this house and to promote the new Chrysler HVAC equipment. As a result of this promotion, the band along with Lawrence Welk and Alice Lon, the “Champaign Lady”, christened the house probably in the fall of 1956. (Photo) Following the christening, there was a cocktail party held at the Fontenelle Hotel as a reception for people involved with the design and construction of the building and Jack C. Jackson was fortunate enough to meet and talk to many of the local band members, as they stayed in Omaha overnight for this event.
Chrysler House Opening
On March 31, 1957, he left Battiato-Jackson and re-established his company as Jack C. Jackson Company, as an individual proprietorship, at which time he continued to design light commercial and custom homes for the Omaha area. His office was located in the lower level of his house at 8014 Evans Street, Omaha, NE. (Photo) two of his most significant projects during this two year period included the design of the Bell Tower (Photo) at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery at 78th and Mercy Road, Omaha, Nebraska; and the design of a residence for Senator Sam Reynolds on the north edge of the Omaha Country Club. As a token of Sam’s satisfaction with the house, Sen. Reynolds gave Jack C. a magnificent gold perpetual motion clock, which remains in the family. Jack later designed another house on the site for Senator Reynold’s brother, Ned. Both of the houses have since been razed and contemporary houses constructed on the sites. One for Bill Harper, retired CEO of Conagra, who built on the Sam Reynolds site.
Jack C. Jackson Company
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery
In November of 1959, NP Dodge Real Estate Company wanted to establish a housing construction department and construct tracts of houses with building components constructed at a central assembly plant and then delivered to the job site for construction, a new construction concept at the time. They asked Jack C. to join this NP Dodge Company venture on November 1, 1959, as their Design Architect when they started to develop the Maple Village Neighborhood designing custom built houses and a golf course for that area. Jack C. visited other construction factories in Arizona and Florida to become familiar with the processes of component construction and applied that knowledge to the construction of houses in Maple Village and other smaller areas where NP Dodge wanted to build housing. He also designed the Maple Village Swimming Pool and Bath House and the Club House at the Maple Village Golf Course, which has become Warren Swagert Golf Course. In August of 1962, NP Dodge decided not to stay involved in the construction industry and Jack C. then left NP Dodge and re-established the Jack C. Jackson Company as an individual proprietorship on September 1, 1962.
Jack C. and William H. Durand remained acquaintances since they were partners in the aircraft development company after WWII. They decided to establish the firm of Durand-Jackson & Associates on April 1, 1963, at which time they constructed an office building at 11550 N. 84th Street. (Photo) Their design and engineering work included apartment buildings, office buildings, industrial buildings, custom housing, churches, banks and light commercial projects. Both of the principal’s sons, Jack H. Jackson and Roger Durand worked for the firm in the summer of 1964.
Durand-Jackson & Associates
On April 1, 1965, Jack C. left the company, over a disagreement pertaining to “how funds were managed” and he re-established the Jack C. Jackson, AIA, Company on April 1, 1965. He worked out of the lower level of his home, at 8014 Evans Street where Jack C. designed the new corporate headquarters and distribution center buildings for The May Seed and Nursery Company in Shenandoah, Iowa (PHOTO #14). He also designed a number of houses in Shenandoah, Iowa, for the May Seed and Nursery executives, including Ed May. While working in Shenandoah, he met George Rose, an executive at Henry Fields Nursery and the Owner of the Farmmaster Gate Company. He designed a main office for the plant and George Rose’s house in Shenandoah.
In 1967 he designed a home for the Workman Family located at 3120 South 98th Street, Omaha, Nebraska, constructed around an oriental theme. The project was submitted to House & Home Magazine in New York City, to be published in the magazine as a custom home design feature article.
Earl May Corporate Office
Earl May Distribution Center
Son, Jack H. Jackson, joined the firm on March 1, 1970, after receiving a Bachelors of Architecture degree from Kansas State University and spending 2 ½ years at the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard at Mare Island in Vallejo, California. The shipyard constructed and refurbished nuclear submarines, so it was a real eye-opening experience to watch submarines being built while he was charged with working on the buildings on the shipyard, during the Vietnam War. This experience afforded a good education in providing detailed construction and renovation projects demanded by the Navy.
In March of 1971, the firm moved to a new office location at 1905 North 81st Street, Omaha, NE. (Photo) Then in 1974, the partnership of Jackson-Jackson and Associates was formed.
One of the first major projects acquired by the firm after the move to the new location was the design of the new KMTV Television Station at 107th & Mockingbird, for the May Broadcasting Company, which started to establish our company as a major commercial architectural firm. (Photo) There were also numerous projects for Goodrich Dairy, including a new dairy plant in southwest Omaha and numerous retail outlets throughout the Midwest. Other projects included work with the Nebraska State College System, Omaha Public Schools, Cornerstone Bank in York, Nebraska, (originally First National Bank) and the Omaha Catholic Diocese. These major client relationships started in the early 1980’s, which have carried on through the history of the firm to the present day.
Sometime in the 1970’s Jack C. was elected the Board of Trustees of Tarkio College, a Presbyterian College in Tarkio, Missouri. He served on the executive board and in 1986 was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters Degree for his loyal service to the College. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, was a loyal Kiwanian for 40 years and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the First Presbyterian Church for a number of years.
KMTV Television Station
Cornerstone Bank - Headquarters
The firm grew and became more established, taking over an existing adjacent bay to the north of the first established office space. Up to 15 employees worked at that location. Jack H. become President in 1984 and Jack C. remained as CEO and Chairman of the Board. In 1989 the partnership was changed to a subchapter S corporation.
Jack C. Jackson worked with the firm until he was 78 years old, at which time, health issues restricted his activities with the firm. He passed away on February 6, 1997. At that time, his 10,000 shares of ownership went to his wife, Lila Jackson, who served as the Business Manager and Bookkeeper since the firm was established in 1950 until her 70th birthday in 1990, when she retired. Lila also served on the Board of Directors of the firm until she passed away September 30, 2012. At the time of her death, 5,000 of her shares in the firm were passed onto son, Jack H. Jackson and 5,000 shares to daughter, Marilyn (Jackson) Jerde. (Photos)
Jack C. Jackson
A celebration of the firm’s 50th Anniversary was held on September 29, 2000, with a buffet dinner and cocktails at the German-American Society, Inc. located in Omaha, Nebraska. Many clients, associates, and other invited guests attended. (Photo)
In the spring of 2014, it was decided to relocate the office to accommodate further growth and present a better image to clients, be more accessible to major streets, and provide more collaborative space. New equipment and work stations were required and purchased to accommodate this required transition. Therefore, the firm relocated to 6912 N. 97th Circle, Suite 1, Omaha Nebraska, on March 1, 2014. At that time Eileen Korth was promoted to President of the firm and Jack H. Jackson remained as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
The company will be celebrating its’ 70th Anniversary in 2020, and Jack H. will be celebrating 50 years with the firm.
Prepared by: Jack H. Jackson, CEO, Chairman (2018)
Omaha Public Schools