Nelle Peters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nelle Peters
Nellie Elizabeth Nichols

(1884-12-11)December 11, 1884
DiedOctober 7, 1974(1974-10-07) (aged 89)
Alma materBuena Vista College
Spouse(s)William H. Peters (1911–1923)

Nelle Elizabeth Nichols Peters, usually known as Nelle Peters, (1884–1974) was one of Kansas City's most prolific architects, designing a wide range of buildings there.[1]


Born Nellie [sic] Elizabeth Nichols in a sod house in Niagara, North Dakota,[2] she attended Buena Vista College at Storm Lake, Iowa, where she did well in drawing and mathematics. As a result, she decided to become an architect, initially finding work as a drafter with Eisentrout, Colby and Pottenger in Sioux City where she stayed for four years while taking correspondence courses in architecture. In 1907, she was sent to work in the firm's Kansas City office but in 1909 she left to establish her own business.

Ambassador Hotel (1929), in Tulsa, Oklahoma

In 1911, she married William H. Peters, a designer with the Kansas City Terminal Railway, and continued to work. Following her 1923 divorce, she entered a particularly productive phase,[3] designing a multitude of buildings over the next five years.[2] Among her most outstanding works in Kansas City are the Ambassador Hotel, the Luzier Cosmetic Company building, and a number of apartment buildings, including the "literary group" named after famous authors on the west side of Country Club Plaza.[1]

Nelle Peters' work also included buildings in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Columbia, Clinton, Boonville, and Jefferson City, Missouri; Nashville, North Carolina; Newark, New Jersey; and Columbus, Ohio.[3]

Except for two periods of illness, Peters remained an active architect until retirement in 1965. She specialized in the design of apartment buildings and hotels,[2] though she also designed churches, residences, and commercial buildings. Frequent use of terra cotta ornamentation is a characteristic of her style.

Peters spent her last years in a nursing home in Sedalia, Missouri where she died in 1974.[1][3][2]


In 1989, the Nelle E. Peters Thematic Historic District was established within part of the Country Club Plaza.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Allaback, Sarah (23 May 2008). The first American women architects. University of Illinois Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-252-03321-6. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  2. ^ a b c d "Nelle E. Peters (1884 - 1974)". Historic Missourians. State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  3. ^ a b c "Nelle E. Peters (1884-1974) Architectural Records (KC0041)," State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  4. ^ Roberts, Rob (June 15, 2015). "Preservationists move to block demo of historic Plaza-area apartments". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-06-18.