Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Cassel Open Air Theatre

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Institution Name: Doane College
Original/Historic Place Name: Cassel Open Air Theatre
Location on Campus: just west of the Communication Center
Date(s) of Construction:
1930original construction Cassel, A. T.
Designer: A. T. Cassell
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1930-present (2006)theater
1930-present (2006)outdoor space (for outdoor performances, gatherings, speeches, and more recently, commencement ceremonies)

The Cassel Outdoor Theatre is an amphitheatre built into a gently sloping hillside near the center of campus. The theatre features terraced seating rows and a natural "stage" area. A backdrop of trees and other foliage is situated at the rear of the stage. Limestone rocks define the terracing and the stage area. The area, built in 1930, was designed by college treasurer A.T. Cassel, who was also in charge of Doane's landscaping for many years. Cassel was an 1894 alumus of the college.

The wide terraces can accommodate several rows of chairs each, allowing the space to be used frequently for student activities, festivals, and most importantly, the college's annual commencement ceremonies. On commencement day each May, nearly 3,000 chairs, international flags, academic banners, flowers, and music transform this already beautiful theatre in a spectacular location for this most significant campus event.


Brown, Fred D. Doane College. New York: Newcomen Society of the United States, 2003.

Jeffries, Janet L. "Gentility on the Prairie, Urbanization and Refinement in Crete, Nebraska, 1871-1891." M. A. thesis, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1996.

Perry, Thomas D., ed. History of Doane College 1872-1912. Crete, NE: Doane College, 1957.

Ziegler, Donald J. A College on a Hill, Life at Doane College, 1872-1987. Lincoln, NE: Media Publishing, 1990.


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Last update: November 2006