TFI #11 – Founding Father Chauncey Swan – 1839.

Founding Father Chauncey Swan

On May 4, 1839, a three-man committee stood atop a beautiful piece of Johnson County land overlooking the Iowa River. As Chauncey Swan drove a stake into the ground, Iowa City had its humble beginnings, and over the next ten years, this same faithful man proved time and time again why he has long been designated the Father of Iowa City. Swan had served as postmaster back home in New York before coming to Iowa. Now, once again, as Iowa City was taking shape, he was appointed as postmaster for Johnson County, and as building superintendent for Iowa’s new capitol, Chauncey contended with many setbacks. Arguably, the biggest blow came only nine days after the cornerstone was laid – July 4, 1840. That’s when the architect and building contractor, John F. Rague, suddenly left the project, leaving Swan with the added responsibilities of hiring and paying workers, drawing up contracts, purchasing materials, and supervising day-to-day construction.

CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE BLOG SERIES – Iowa City’s Top 50 Influencers – Part I

Back in 1979 – The Iowa City Press Citizen ran a special seven-page section called Chronology 1841/1979 and it featured Iowa City’s famed historian – Irving Weber – and his look at 25 People Who Left Their Stamp On Iowa City. So, here we are – forty-four years later – and now, I’m offering these two posts – dedicated to those who have greatly influenced our city over the first 100 years or so. This page features the First 25, and as you can see, each of the 25 names has a brief overview with a link(s) to read more, if you like. Enjoy!

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