Our Iowa Heritage: Iowa Celebrates: The 1920’s.

During the 1920’s, both Iowa City and the State University of Iowa (S.U.I) grew exponentially. And most of that growth happened on the west side of the Iowa River.

(P-0287) Circa 1920’s SUI campus
(P-0288) Circa 1920’s SUI campus
(P-0319) The Quadrangle – Men’s Dorm was a massive commitment to the west side of the SUI campus.
Circa 1920 – Varsity Cleaners – on-the-streets of Iowa City!

During the early 1920’s Old Capitol went through major renovations – with the pillars on the west side portico of the building finally added.

1925Pentacrest copy
Many of the campus photos from the 1920’s came from the camera of Fred W. Kent. Read more about Fred W. Kent here.
(P-0318) This “Aeroplane View” of Iowa City was probably a photograph taken by Fred Kent, prior to 1924 when University Hall (Jessup Hall) (the final building of the Pentacrest) was completed.
(P-0260) A beautiful view of the 1920’s Pentacrest.
(M-0041) State University of Iowa Hospital Souvenir Plate – circa 1920’s

By 1915, after three wings had been added to the University Hospital, it had outgrown its facilities. When a 1919 state law required the hospital to accept patients statewide, and after receiving a donation for $2.25 million from the Rockefeller foundation, ground was broken (1926) for a seven-story, 770-bed modern hospital on the west side of the Iowa River.

While the main hospital remained on the east side until 1928, the University built a 150-bed Children’s Hospital on the west side of the Iowa River in 1919 and a Psychopathic Hospital for those with mental illness in 1921.
(P-0113)  University Hospital Tower. When the move to the west side was finally completed in 1928, University Hospital with its beautiful Gothic tower became the foundation of the modern University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
Iowa Field House & Armory (1927). In the late 1920’s, the University expanded rapidly on the west side of the Iowa River. Within five years (1925-1930) the University opened a new Armory & Field House (1927), a new Hospital (1928), and a new Football Stadium (1929). Both the women’s and men’s basketball teams played in the Field House from 1927 to 1983.
Iowa Stadium under construction – March 21, 1929. Renamed Kinnick Stadium in 1972, Iowa Stadium first opened in 1929, replacing Old Iowa Field. It was constructed in only seven months with groundbreaking and construction beginning on March 6, 1929. Workers labored around the clock using lights by night with horses and mules as the primary heavy-equipment movers. The first game was played October 5, 1929, against Monmouth College. Iowa won the game 46–0. The stadium was dedicated two weeks later, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, when the Hawkeyes tied Illinois 7–7. My dad, George Boller, age 8, was there for both of these games!

(P-0083) Souvenir Folder of Iowa City, Iowa and University of Iowa (circa 1920’s).

(P-0263) A beautiful scene of the Iowa River just north of Iowa City.
(P-0128) A view of the S.U.I campus in 1921, the birth year of my dad, George E. Boller.

Here’s some other exciting events across Iowa in the 1920’s…

Two Iowa communities with Norwegian histories were chosen to be a part of the First Day of Issue ceremonies in 1925. Algona and Decorah, both located in northern Iowa and settled in the 1850’s by Norwegian immigrants. These 1925 Norse-American commemoratives were the first US postage stamps with a First Day of Issue in Iowa!

One thousand years ago, 500 years before the arrival of Columbus in the New World, explorers landed on the shores of North America. These men were called Vikings and the leader of at least one expedition was an adventurous Norwegian by the name of Leif Ericson. He called the area “Vineland.” Eight-hundred years later, on October 9th, 1825, the first permanent Norwegian settlers sailed across the ocean into New York Harbor, ready to make America their home. For the 100th anniversary of the Norwegian immigration to America and almost 1,000 years after the Viking explorations, the United States honored both historic events with a beautifully engraved set of two bi-color stamps.  It was called – appropriately – the Norse-American Issue and appeared for the first time on May 18, 1925.

(C-0126) (C-0127) 1925 – Norse-American Heritage – 2¢ Sloop Restaurationen and 5¢ Viking Ship with First Day of Issue in St. Paul, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Benson, MN; Northfield, MN; Algona, IA; Decorah, IA; and Washington, D.C.

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