From University Square To The Pentacrest. The State University of Iowa started small with a central campus (1847-1874) made up of only four buildings. By the turn-of-the-century, the number was up to twelve, but here’s the story of how SUI went from a handful of eclectic buildings to the iconic Pentacrest we all know and love today.
1901 – Opening Johnson County’s New Court House. It’s Saturday – June 8th, 1901 in Iowa City, Iowa. The city is full of excitement – for today is the big dedication ceremony for the new Johnson County Court House. According to the local newspapers at the time – this is one of the largest celebrations in Iowa City in years. Come read all about it.
40 Turn-of-the-Century Leaders Who Shaped Iowa City. In 1906, the Iowa City business community published a little booklet entitled Our Live Ones – Iowa City – hiring a cartoonist by the name Hruska to draw 40 sketches of our city’s most prominent leaders. From Frank R. Hatch and W. E. Shrader to Otto H. Fink and Thomas A. (Buster) Brown, the list offers an entertaining look at 39 men and 1 woman (remember – this is 1906) “who made and are making Iowa City.”
Hannah Elizabeth Irish – Iowa City’s Business Entrepreneur. At the turn-of-the-century, a visionary named Elizabeth Irish opened a business college, becoming Iowa City’s first business woman to be included in The Commercial Club – the forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce. Over the next 45 years, Irish’s University Business College successfully prepared 12,000 students for productive jobs in the business community.
Iowa City’s ‘Look For The Label’ Department Store. Solon native – Frank R. Hatch opened his new department store in 1900 – choosing to sell quality products over quantity. His store’s tagline was “Look For The Label” and it paid off for Hatch – becoming one of Iowa City’s top retailers at the turn-of-the-century.
Economy Advertising – Birthplace Of The Midland & More. So many of the earliest publications coming out of Iowa City were produced at Economy Advertising located on North Linn Street. Maybe the most recognized of all was Midland Magazine – a forerunner of the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
As The Dunkel World Turns. In 1840, Kasper & Mary Dunkel rolled into Iowa City and had the honor of birthing Iowa City’s first white male child – William J. Dunkel. Over the next 80 years, three generations of Dunkels lived their lives in such a way that their stories would often end up on the front pages of local newspapers. An influential family when it came to travel and entertainment, the citizens of Iowa City were often entertained by their up-and-down lives. Now, you can be entertained by some of their exploits as well!
1908 – Oakdale Hall – Iowa’s Answer To The White Plague. Tuberculosis (TB) – also known during the 18th and 19th century as the White Plague or Consumption – was the #1 killer in the world during the early-to-mid 1900’s. The only known remedy was to move those with this deadly lung disease into sanatoriums. In 1908, the State of Iowa opened Oakdale Hall on 280 acres of farmland north of Coralville. Working alongside dedicated doctors and nurses from SUI, the Oakdale campus faithfully served those with TB over the next 50+ years.
Klondike Bill & Friends Visit Iowa City. In late November 1911, a 16-year veteran mail carrier from Alaska came riding into town on a seven-team dog sled – on wheels! Klondike Bill was in the midst of a four-year, 62,000 mile journey – determined to win a $100,000 wager if he completed his challenge in Washington D.C. by June 1912. But wait – was Bill’s story all true? Inquiring minds want to know!
Let’s Go To City Park! Iowa Citians have always enjoyed their parks, and from the very beginning (1839), there’s almost always been a City Park where folks can get away from the busyness of life. Part I covers the history of City Park #1 (1839-1890), Iowa River Recreation & The Island (1880’s through 1906), and City Park #2 (1906-1930).
Let’s Go To City Park! (Part II) City Park became a popular attraction for countless Iowa Citians soon after it opened in 1906. With the advent of the automobile, access to City Park was available to most residents, yet one reoccurring problem still needed to be addressed: Flooding. In 1939, two federally-funded projects drastically changed the Iowa River while reshaping City Park, and two major attractions were added in the 50’s, making City Park what it is today.
Captain Tom, Iowa City & The Red Devil Airship. In October 1910, a former circus showman, Thomas S. Baldwin, came to town. The Johnson County Fall Farm Festival was in full swing and the highlight this year was Captain Tom and his Red Devil aeroplane. On October 13, aviation history was made with both the first successful flight and the first plane crash in Iowa history.
The Iowa City Airport – A Rich Aviation History. Did you know that Iowa City hosted one of the earliest commercial airports in the country – serving as one of the strategic stops in America’s first cross-country air mail route? As a matter of fact, today, Iowa City’s airport – which opened in 1918 – is the oldest airstrip west of the Mississippi River that’s still in its original location – with many of the early pioneers of flight landing here – including Wiley Post, Jack Knight, Charles Lindbergh, and Will Rogers.
Click here to go to the next section of our INDEX…