From day one of statehood in 1846, there were those who wanted to see Iowa’s capital moved westward. Finally, in 1857, a deal was cut. The capitol would go to Des Moines while the university was exclusively secured for Iowa City. As one newspaper writer quipped, “Des Moines can have the politicians, we’ll take the professors!”
A Big November Snow Storm in Iowa. ‘Snow Joke!
Unfortunately, when the move to Des Moines happened, most of the furniture and larger office pieces didn’t make it on this 120-mile journey. Between the bad weather and the poor road conditions, almost all of the original furnishings used in the Iowa City state house were either lost or so badly damaged they were not saved.
Four office safes, for example, were loaded onto wagons drawn by oxen. The Treasurer’s office safe was so heavy, it was actually abandoned en route near a creek in Polk County, only to be retrieved after the storm abated and the ground had frozen solid! The driver of the rescuing ox cart gained hearty cheers from state officials when he finally arrived – probably because the safe contained gold and silver that was used to pay their salaries!
Come read more on this “moving” story.
Did you know? is an Our Iowa Heritage blog series that offers you a little bit of Iowa trivia from a large selection of stories on our website. Subscribe to this FREE blog and you’ll get a new email from us every Monday – Wednesday – Friday.
Join us for Our Iowa Heritage blog posts.
Learn some historical facts about Iowa City, Johnson County, or Eastern Iowa.
Amaze your friends.