Penny Postcards – Iowa City North.

Here’s a map of the North Side of Iowa City – 1900.

Earlier, we showed you some of our Turn-of-the Century penny postcards featuring Old Capitol & Iowa Avenue, and the Central Business District of Iowa City. So now, let’s travel outward from downtown – this time – heading North of the city…

This 1854 map (below left) shows the “Public Quarry” grounds at the north end of Clinton Street, which provided much of the limestone used in building Old Capitol. The President’s Home was built atop this quarry site in 1909 (see map below from 1900).

The University of Iowa President’s Residence stands on a bluff overlooking the Iowa River. This neo-Georgian home was completed in 1909 for a total cost of $25,067. Proudfoot and Bird were the architects, and B.A. Wickham was the contractor. The original home contained 16 rooms and four bathrooms. The house now offers over 12,000 square feet of living area.
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(P-0046) The Home of the University President
Click here to read more about the history of Clinton Street.
(P-0369) A beautiful shot of The President’s Home – 1914.
In Iowa City’s earliest days (1840), Dubuque Street was part of the National Road – Iowa’s first road built from Dubuque to the Missouri border. All travelers – including stagecoach riders – came in and out of Iowa City this way. In 1843, Walter Terrell built his mill and dam (see map above) on the Iowa River, and when the mill closed, the area surrounding the old dam was used for recreational purposes. In 1900 (see below) Dubuque Street – nicknamed River Road – was heavily trafficked by those enjoying the area for picnics, boating & swimming.
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(P-0054) Looking north on present-day Dubuque Street – going north on Mill Hill to Terrell’s Mill and The Islanda small piece of land used by Terrell to connect his mill to his 2-part Iowa River dam – see pics below.
(P-0051) Terrell’s Dam & Mill – Iowa City between 1900 and 1906. When the channel of the Iowa River was changed in the early 1940s to cut through the northeast corner of City Park, The Island was eliminated and made part of present Terrell Park. Click here to read more about Terrell’s Dam & Mill. (P-0325) (P-0326) Below- Terrell’s Dam & Mill (left) and the Coralville Dam.
(P-0224) This postcard tells us how the good folks of Iowa City loved the recreational opportunities offered by the Iowa River and The Island.
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(P-0049) 1907 – Here’s a beautiful postcard featuring the Entrance to City Park – The postcard writer adds “This is that new park across the river. Remember?”

Click here to read more about Iowa City’s second City Park, first developed in 1906 across the Iowa River from Dubuque Street.

Circa 1906 – Iowa River north of town. Trolley service from the east side of the river to the west began in 1910 – one year after the Park Road Bridge was built. This new bridge provided easy access to the newly-opened Manville Heights area, and soon, street cars were running Iowa City park-goers to the west side of the river.
(P-0079) The Park Road Bridge in Iowa City. 
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The Iowa City Country Club was located on the Iowa River, north of the city. Formed in 1899 by a group that initially called itself the Iowa City Golf Club, the Iowa City Country Club flourished for nearly two decades in this facility, until it was washed down the Iowa River by the historic local flood of 1918.
(P-0270-a) Iowa City Country Club. According to Iowa City historian, Bob Hibbs, in 1900, the club had arranged with successful local nurseryman Patrick Regan to lease his 100-acre farm north of the Iowa River (near today’s City Park) for $500, provided he would install and maintain a golf course. The plan also included moving the house (seen in these postcard images) to the site. Regan also agreed to install indoor facilities with a water supply, which meant having a well dug, a routine undertaking given the location and the era before extensive groundwater pollution. The private club became a popular spot among well-to-do Iowa Citians.
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(P-0057) The Iowa City Country Club was a special get-away spot at the turn of the century.
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(P-0192) The curved stone wall at left is still visible today along the north riverbank just upstream from City Park.
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(P-0059) Lovers Leap on the Iowa River somewhere north of Terrell’s Dam.
(P-0058) Iowa River View Drive.
(P-0064) A 1910 – Valentine’s Day Surprise! A walk along the Iowa River was a romantic place indeed!
(P-0056) A Pleasure Resort on the River

You’ll notice that many of the Turn-of-the-Century penny postcards come from the Wieneke family of Iowa City. They sold many cards – some “officially” sanctioned by SUI – in their shop across from University Square.

Read more about the origins of the penny postcard and the Wieneke family of Iowa City who became ‘Iowa City’s Penny Postcard Family.”

(P-0052) Hills Above the Terrell Dam & Mill.
(P-0055) Scene on the Iowa River.

Now that you’ve enjoyed our recreational time on the city’s north side – let’s go down to the South Side of Iowa City and see the Johnson County Court House, the Rock Island Depot, and more…


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

Iowa City 1900 Map 2, Atlas of Johnson County, Huebinger Survey and Map Publishing Co., 1900, historicmapworks.com

Irving Weber – Terrell Dam and Grist Mill video, Iowa City Public Library Channel

The Island, Iowa City Press Citizen, Iowa City Chronology, February 17, 1987, p 28

An Encyclopedia of Iowa City Information, Irving Weber, Article 231, Series 17, Digitial Library – University of Iowa, p 177


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