Happy 176th Birthday SUI – February 25, 1847.

February 25, 1847 – SUI Begins With A Bang.

On Capitol Square in Iowa City, the first General Assembly of the newly formed State of Iowa is meeting in the new State Capitol. Iowa, now the 29th state in the Union, is only 59 days old. And that day, a big decision was made…

The first General Assembly, by act approved February 25, 1847, established the “State University of Iowa” at Iowa City, then the capital of the State, “with such other branches as public convenience may hereafter require.” The “public buildings at Iowa City, together with the ten acres of land in which they are situated,” were granted for the use of said university, provided, however, that the sessions of the Legislature and State offices should be held in the capitol until otherwise provided by law.

And then – it happened! The American Journal of Science and Arts (Vol. IV, November 1847) duly notes what occurred…

An aerolite fell at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of the 25th day of February, 1847, within seventy-five yards of the house of Daniel Rogers, nine miles due south of Marion, Iowa. The ground was covered with snow at the time it fell. Mr. Rogers heard a loud explosion in the air, and immediately ran to his door. He heard the stone and several others whiz through the air, and strike the ground, and saw the snow and dirt fly where this stone struck. The weight of the stone before it was broken was forty-two pounds. … The explosion was heard distinctly by one of the surveyors who was engaged on the survey of the public lands, forty miles distant from Mr. Rogers’ house.

Yes. Within a few hours of the very moment our State Legislature voted to establish The State University of Iowa, a meteorite crashed to the ground in rural Linn County near the Cedar River, less than 30 miles from Iowa City. The sonic boom was so loud, it was heard throughout the countryside and, as reported above, attracted considerable attention at the time.



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