The son of Union Pacific railroad executive Thomas Lord Kimball and Mary Rogers Kimball, Thomas Kimball was born in 1862 in Linwood, Ohio.
Kimball’s architectural studies began briefly at the University of Nebraska before he went on to study at MIT, the Cowles Art School of Boston, and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
Kimball was attached to several large projects early in his career, a fact that drew criticism from some and suggestions that his father’s influence was behind much of Kimball’s job opportunities. However, it did not take long for Kimball to prove that he did not need any help from his father. By age 29, Kimball was drawing attention with high profile projects and making a name for himself as a skilled architect.
Throughout his career Kimball worked on many notable projects, including the St. Louis World’s Fair, the U.S. Treasury Department building in Kansas City, and the Trans Mississippi and International Exposition of 1898-1899. Some of his other notable works include the St. Frances Cabrini Church, Burlington Station, and St. Cecelia’s Cathedral in Omaha. Many of his works have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Sheridan Inn and the home he built for his mother in Omaha—the Mary Kimball House.
President of the American Institute of Architects from 1918 to 1920, Kimball proved that the respect he had earned through his career was because of his work and not his name.
Thomas Kimball often found himself in Sheridan, as a member of the exclusive Dome Lake Club, located about 30 miles from Sheridan in the Big Horn Mountains. He also served as President of the Sheridan Wyo. Land Company, which constructed the Inn. He, along with his father, was one of several Omaha businessmen who took an interest in Sheridan. While the circumstances of how Kimball came to become the architect who designed the Inn are not known, his involvement clearly was tied to his close connection to the railroad and Sheridan. He is credited with designing the Sheridan Inn in 1892. The Inn is listed in Kimball’s records as project #54 of 872. A notation in his records indicates he designed the Inn free of charge. Today the Inn stands as one of his many timeless contributions to architecture in the United States.
Kimball’s story, like many of his era, came to an end during the Great Depression; he died in 1934, having lost most of his money.