I didn't see any truly outstanding residential architecture, but the town was generally well kept and homes nicely spaced without fences between. These homes mostly date back no earlier than 1900. Abandoned homes suggest that the town may be losing population, which is very common among rural communities in this state because of the decline of family owned farming.
The brick and plaster buildings along Nelson's Main Street, which is basically a bottleneck of Nebraska state route 14, date back to the 1880's at the earliest. Most were built in the 1890's or early 20th century. There is a hardware store with antiques in it, and the original bank has been turned into a bookstore coffee shop, which unfortunately was closed at the time I visited.
Bill Oliver, a resident whose ancestors helped found Nelson reports this about the courthouse construction:
"The courthouse in Nelson was begun in 1890 under a contract for $28,390. G. E. McDonald was the architect. A special election was held to pass on a bond issue worth $35,000. The bond issue carried, but suit was filed to determine the validity of the proceedings which went all the way to the Nebraska Supreme Court."
Apparently, the rather dramatic clock face is just a facade. There is no working mechanism inside the clock tower.