Our Iowa Heritage: 1900 – 1920 Iowa City – South.

Earlier, we showed you some postcard collections from the turn-of-the-century, so now let’s look at a few other spots around Iowa City as viewed through penny postcards from 1900-1920. Here’s the area South of the downtown area.

(P-0034) Bird’s Eye View of Iowa City – Postmarked Nov. 1915 Looking southwest, note the new post office building (1904) in the forefront and the Johnson County courthouse in the far distance.
(P-0045) Johnson County Court House – circa 1910
(P-0312) Circa 1910 – On South Clinton Street, the Court House fills up the entire block – here’s a look north on Clinton Street – taken from the west side of the Johnson County Court House.
Click here to read more about the history of Clinton Street.

Shrader Drug Company – Iowa City.

William Edwin Shrader (1858-1933) opened Shrader Drug Company in Iowa City in 1899. Interestingly enough, he is the oldest son of Dr. J.C. Shrader (1830-1906), who was one of the founding doctors of the University of Iowa School of Medicine in 1870. Both Dr. Shrader and William are buried in Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City.

The Shrader Drug Company was established in 1899, located at 132 S. Clinton St. (see picture above on the left), but moved into the Hawthorne Glove and Novelty Company building (right) prior to World War I. This utilitarian three-story brick structure was built in 1906 and is located at 529 South Gilbert Street (Iowa City’s original railroad and industrial corridor). The rear of the building opened upon the rail sidings of a branch line of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railway.

(M-0101) Here’s an interesting souvenir from our Iowa City collection: A turn-of-the-century cigar holder advertising The Best 5 & 10 cent Cigars – always to be found at Shrader’s Drug Store.
(M-0101) Shrader Drug Company 1899-1956. During its heyday, Shrader Drugs was one of three drug-related factories that were located along the South Gilbert Street corridor. The company name changed to the Hewell-Shrader Drug Company in 1930 and then the Hewell-Shrader Company in 1945 after farm fertilizer was added to its product line. The company closed in 1956. The building is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places (2014).
(L-0062) Circa 1913 – From American Carpenter and Builder Magazine, this ad from University Sales Company in Iowa City encourages you to mix your mortar in 3.5 minutes! Get your Harding Mortar Mixer today! Only $110 – but if you’re the first in your town to buy one – only $85!
American Carpenter and Builder was a trade magazine published between 1905 and 1917, when it was renamed American Builder.

The Rock Island Depot.

(P-0226) A shipment of sparkling California wine makes this Iowa City writer quite happy! Our postcard features the Rock Island Depot and is postmarked April 19, 1913, addressed to Mrs. J. Nachman, who is living the life of luxury in the swank Langham Hotel on Eddy Street in San Francisco. The hotel was built in 1908 and in its day, it was the cat’s meow. Today it’s still a hotel sitting in the Tenderloin District and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Dear Byrnie…consignment of wines rec’d in good & perfect condition…my Iowa City friends and I will surely have to order a carload of ice and Bromo (Seltzer) to cure the headache on the morning after the night before. Nothing like a sparkling glass of wine to drive away dull care, yes? With Love (Bell?)”

(P-0188) Iowa City Rock Island Depot – Circa 1910 Click here to read more about the Rock Island Depot.
(P-0060) South of downtown on the Iowa River was the site of a little restaurant and boat rental shop called Sum Place. It was located at west end of the Burlington Street high truss bridge.
Click here to view the postcard story of the Wieneke family.
Click here to read about the Burlington Street Bridge.
(P-0062) Sum Place Dining & Boat Rental Advertising Postcard
(P-0061) Click here to read about the Burlington Street Bridge.
(P-0063) Fishing on the Iowa River Here, a fisherman sits by the spillway of the Iowa River. The Sum Place is shown, along with the Burlington Street bridge. The Centennial Bridge (Iowa Avenue) built in 1876 is in the distance, as well. Click here to read about the Iowa River Bridges.
(P-0208) Speaking of fishing in the Iowa River, A.M ( a student at SUI) wrote this friendly postcard back home to Schmitty in Lead, South Dakota. He must miss their fishing times…
(P-0208) “Things are pretty dead by now altho (sic) we had some fine basketball games…I suppose you’re getting your fishing tackle ready about now.”
(P-0069) 1970’s Burlington Street Bridge – Spiral Crosswalk Today, near that same spot where Sum Place was and the fisherman fished, a modernized spiral footbridge was built. Click here to read about the Burlington Street Bridge.

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

Leading Events in Johnson County History, Charles Ray Aurner, Western Historical Press, 1912, pp 20-21

Photos from: Finials – A View of Downtown Iowa City, Marybeth Slonneger, p 98

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