Old Stone Capitol Remembers – Abraham, Martin, & John.

Since it’s inception in 1841, the Old Stone Capitol in Iowa City has been a gathering place for Iowa Citians. So many pictures have been taken over the years: pictures of big celebrations, graduations, picnics, and more. But, the Old Stone Capitol is a place of mourning as well…

There have been two major photographers in our city’s long history who have made massive contributions to our rich Iowa City heritage – Issac A. Wetherby and Fred W. Kent. Between these two men, we have over 60,000 photographs – taken as early as 1854 and ending in the early 1970’s. We encourage you to view just a handful of their classics – Wetherby (here) and Kent (here).

On this page, we want to remember three solemn occasions – all held on the front steps of Old Capitol – all three mourning the loss of life and remembering the good that came from the person’s life being celebrated…

From the camera of Isaac A. Wetherby

Old Stone Capitol Remembers – On Wednesday, April 19, 1865, mourners gathered for a memorial service for President Abraham Lincoln who was elected to the presidency in 1860 and assassinated on April 15, 1865.

(L-0076) In 1958-1959, on the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the USPS issued four commemorative stamps honoring our 16th President.
From the camera of Fred W. Kent

Old Stone Capitol Remembers – On Monday, November 25, 1963, mourners gathered for a memorial service for President John F. Kennedy who was elected to the presidency in 1960 and assassinated on November 22, 1963.

(C-0202) John F. Kennedy Memorial. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas on November 22, 1963, every American went into a state of shock. Much like 9/11, everyone who was alive in the 1960’s remembers where they were when they heard the news. Sadly, four sitting U.S. Presidents have been murdered: Abraham Lincoln (1865), James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), and John F. Kennedy (1963). This interesting 1964 First Day Cover depicts those four assassinated presidents.
From the camera of Fred W. Kent

Old Stone Capitol Remembers – On Tuesday, April 9, 1968, mourners gathered for a memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – the civil rights activist who was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Two USPS stamps have been issued to honor Dr. King. The “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the subjects chosen for a 1999 commemorative stamp series honoring the most iconic events of the 1960’s. King’s speech was delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement and among the most iconic speeches in American history.

Read about the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Iowa City.

In 1968, the musical artist Dion released a mournful pop song that reflected on the great losses we Americans experienced during the 1960’s – President John Kennedy (1963), Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968), and Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1968) – all to assassin bullets. The song tied these great loses back to the assassination of our 16th President – Abraham Lincoln.

DYK- February 21, 2022

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

Old Capitol Draped For Lincoln’s Funeral, April 19, 1865, University of Iowa Digital Library

Crowd gathered on Pentacrest for President Kennedy memorial service, November 25, 1963, University of Iowa Digital Library

Crowd gathered in front of Old Capitol at Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial service, April 9, 1968, University of Iowa Digital Library

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