In 1922 Capitol architect Bertram Goodhue proposed a seven-block wide avenue to create a more formal entrance to the north side of the Capitol building. Fifteen years later, city and state leaders designated a 120-foot wide right-of-way from the Capitol to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A commission was created to help create the Mall. However, progress and construction on the Centennial Mall came to a halt for the next few decades.
By 1967 Centennial Mall was built to commemorate Nebraska’s centennial year and extended from the Capitol to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
The City and State commissioned a master plan in 1997, this commission envisioned the Spirit of Nebraska Mall. The plan called for closing all seven blocks of the Mall and an ensuing revitalization. However, the redevelopment failed due to lack of funding. Thus, the Centennial Mall fell into disrepair for the next ten years.
The City of Lincoln made $3 million of funding available for improvements to Nebraska’s Centennial Mall in 2009. This was the first time that funding was made available to the city specifically for the purpose of Centennial Mall revitalization. The Centennial Mall campaign committee was formed as well, to increase fundraising efforts.
By 2017, the refurbished Centennial Mall was completed, just in time for Nebraska’s 150th year. It is a celebration of Nebraska’s spirit throughout the years, from its ancient Native beginnings to the technology that is shaping the future.