Peters, Nelle E.

Nelle E. Peters

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Dates of Birth and Death



Niagara, North Dakota


  • Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa (1899 to 1902)
  • Apprenticeship with Eisentrout, Colby, and Pottenger in Sioux City, Iowa


Written by Gayle L. Goudy, College of Charleston

N.E. Peters (Nelle Elizabeth Peters) (1884-1974) had her own practice, designed nearly 1,000 buildings in Kansas City, and had her design for The King Cole Hotel featured in the Architectural Record (Vol. 67, March 1930, p. 244). In 1903, with an interest in mathematics and drawing and no formal training, she sought work in an architect’s office in Sioux City, Iowa. After all the firms turned her down, she tenaciously went back to the offices that refused her. At Eisentrout, Colby & Pottenger, she recalled, “I talked and talked and at last I talked myself into a job.” Colby believed in her and made a bet with his partners. In 1909, she began her own practice in Kansas City and continued to 1965.

Peters firm specialized in apartment-hotels and was associated with builder and developer Charles Philips of the Philips Building Company from 1913 to 1948. They benefited from Kansas City’s expanding housing needs due to a building hiatus imposed during World War I and a balooning population. Nelle E. Peters’s signature design features several buildings grouped around a courtyard, which had two benefits. First, it allowed more windows per building and gave residents some green space. Second, since most of these hotels were built on speculation, individual buildings allowed the developer to pace each building with the rate that the new quarters were rented.

Major Buildings and Projects

  • Roanoke Court, a low-to-middle-income residential complex in Kansas City, Missouri (1923)
  • The Spanish Court apartments on 2700 block of Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri (1925)
  • Ambassador Hotel on Broadway inKansas City, Missouri (1925)
  • Valentine Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri (1927)
  • Ellison Apartments in Kansas City, Missouri (1927)
  • Belvedere Apartments (Columbia, Missouri)
  • Poet (or Literary) District Buildings nine buildings named after poets located on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City Missour (1928-1929)

Press and Awards

  • The Spanish Court apartments on the 2700 block of Troost Avenue in Kansas City [Building Age and National Builder, November 1924, Volume 46, Page 96]
  • Nelle E. Peters was interviewed by theKansas City Journal (November 21, 1925, p. 7)
  • The King Cole Hotel, Architectural Record (Vol. 67, March 1930, p. 244)