The Press-Citizen Celebrates Iowa City’s Centennial.

In July of 1939, the good citizens of Iowa City took time out of their summer schedules to celebrate 100 years of existence. And quite the party it was.

1939 Iowa City Centennial Celebration on the steps of Old Capitol via the camera of Fred Kent.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen got in on the celebration by publishing a huge 75-page Centennial Edition on Saturday, July 1, 1939. On this page, we’d like to share just a few of the pages from that special edition. Notice that with each page we share, you can click on the link to read more about each specific Iowa City story.

The Front Page of the Press-Citizen’s July 1, 1939 edition uses the “look” of The Iowa Standard – Iowa City’s first newspaper, first published on June 10, 1841. Read more here.
Page Two offers the “official program” for the weekend’s big celebration. Click here to see the entire Centennial program.
Page Four – the editorial page – offers readers “A Thought For Our Centennial.”

Read more about Iowa City’s special Centennial Celebration in 1939.

Page Four also featured a list of people and resources used in putting together this big 75-page edition – including, of course, Professor Benjamin Shambaugh & his wife Bertha. Read more here.

Page Ten gives us a look at the Iowa City Centennial Association Board of Directors – which included both Shambaugh and Mildred Pelzer (Vice President) – whose Iowa City historic murals (1934) appeared throughout this Press-Citizen Centennial edition and were proudly displayed in the Jefferson Hotel lobby for many years. Read more here.

Page Fourteen-A was just one of several pages that featured Pelzer’s murals. Sadly, the pages stored in Newspapers.com no longer reveal the beauty of the artwork – so here (above) is the original. Read more here.

Page Two-A featured a story on Lieutenant Albert M. Lea and his book that promoted the District of Iowa to countless readers back east. Read more here.
Page Four-A covered “The Midnight Ride of Philip Clark.” Read the story here.
Page Four-A covers the amazing story of “Johnson County’s First Business Meeting.” Read the details here.
Page Six-A contains the story of Chauncey Swan and his site selection for Iowa City. Read more here.
Page Seven-A covers the diary of Cyrus Sanders – one of Johnson County’s earliest pioneers. Read more here.
Page Eight-A discusses the iconic Old Stone Capitol. Read more here.
Page Nine-A takes a look at the first two July 4th celebrations in Iowa City – 1839 & 1840. Read more here.
Page Twelve-A discusses the population growth of Johnson County -starting in 1838. Read more here.
Page Fifteen-A has a story on the early bridges of Iowa City. Read more here.
Page Seventeen-A shares the fun story of Rev. Hummer and the bell of North Presbyterian Church. Read more here.
Page Twenty-Three-A discusses the Iowa City newspaper wars of the 1840’s. Read more here.
Page Nine-AA talks about the Iowa capital years of Iowa City – 1841 to 1857. Read more here.
Pages Two-B & Three-B (above & below) are devoted to Chauncey Swan – the father of Iowa City. Read more here.
Page Five-B discusses Chief Poweshiek and the Meskwaki Tribe. Read more here.
Page Ten-B takes a look at Father Mazzuchelli – the pioneer priest. Read more here.
Page Sixteen-B discusses Walter Butler and his temporary capitol building in Iowa City. Read more here.

Read more about Iowa City’s special Centennial Celebration in 1939.

On Monday, July 3, 1939 – the Press-Citizen reported on the big weekend Centennial celebration. Click here to read about the Press-Citizen’s celebration of Iowa City’s sesquicentennial in 1989.

The Daily Iowan had a special 16-page edition as well on Sunday, July 2, 1939.


Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.

Iowa City Press-Citizen 75-page Special Edition, July 1, 1939

Iowa City Press-Citizen, July 3, 1939

The Daily Iowan, July 2, 1939


Click here to go on to the next section…

Click here for a complete INDEX of Our Iowa Heritage stories…