Iowa City – Featured On PBS Main Streets.

2023 seems to be our year of PBS-TV Specials – shows that feature subjects very dear to our hearts here at Our Iowa Heritage. In February 2023, Iowa-PBS debuted a one-hour special on Meredith Willson – America’s Music Man. You can read more here.

Iowa City is an everyone’s town! Iowa City is a college town. It’s also a literary town, home to Prairie Lights Books and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. It’s a farming town, growing well at Urban Greens and Wilson’s Orchard & Farm. And it’s an innovative town, with one-of-a-kinds like the National Advanced Driving Simulator, Unimpaired Dry Bar and Crepes De Luxe Café.

And now, in April 2023, PBS-Wisconsin debuted John McGivern’s Main Street – Iowa City, Iowa!

We were honored to play a small part in both of these amazing PBS programs – sharing a bit of our Iowa stories with the many wonderful viewers of Iowa-PBS and PBS-Wisconsin. More on what we shared later, but for now, take a peek at just a few of the great Iowa City themes John McGivern and his co-host – Emmy Fink – covered in this fun 30-minute overview…

Read more about the humble beginnings of Iowa City here.

Learn more about Old Capitol here. And take a visual tour of Old Capitol here.

Read about the history of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clincs.

Read more about Kinnick Stadium and other stadiums and arenas in the history of SUI.

Read about the center of the University of Iowa campus – The Pentacrest.

Read more about the amazing history of Iowa – long before even our Native American brothers & sisters lived here.

Main Streets’ Producer Ken Schellin contacted me back in the fall of 2022, asking me for some leads on their upcoming filming sessions in Iowa City. I gave Ken a few ideas, plus put him in touch with Marybeth Slonneger when he asked some questions about Iowa City’s Goosetown neighborhood and the Hamburg Inn. Marybeth has written two books about those specific subjects, so I thought it best to have him speak directly with her on those themes. Read more here.

Co-host Emmy Fink did a great job introducing both Goosetown and Iowa City’s very own Hamburg Inn No. 2 to the PBS audience!

As for my conversations with Ken, he asked me to contribute some Iowa City trivia pieces for the show. Of the handful of stories I shared with Ken – who, BTW, graduated from Iowa back in the day – he loved the stories about Herky the Hawk and the two SUI mascots – Burch the Bear and Rex the ROTC Dog – who both came before Herky. You can read the details here.

And, oh yeah, Ken loved the story of the CRANDIC electric railway that ran regularly between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City for nearly fifty years (1904-1953) – going right next to Iowa Field on the Iowa River – allowing passengers to watch a bit of the Hawkeye football games on Saturday afternoons. Read more here.

Indeed, it was an honor for Marybeth and me to contribute our little bit toward this amazing overview of Iowa City. For those who don’t know, Marybeth & I teamed up in 2022 to initiate Johnson County’s Remembrance Park. You can read more here.

Kudos to the whole Main Streets’ team – Host John McGivern, Herky the Hawk, Producer Ken Schellin, Host Emmy Fink, Videographer Joe Sliker, Executive Producer/Director Lois Maurer, and Sound Recordist Gail Grzybowski!

Wow guys – you did a bang up job covering our favorite place – Iowa City – and to think that this show was produced by a bunch of Wisconsin Badgers and one Hawkeye! Amazing!

DYK-April 16, 2023

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

Watch the full Iowa City episode here! And check out the John McGivern’s Main Street website for more details about other shows in the series – including one on The Amana Colonies in Amana Iowa!

John McGivern’s Main Street, Wisconsin-PBS

John McGivern’s Main Street Facebook Page

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