Iowa City Penny Postcards – Old Capitol & Iowa Avenue.

As the old expression goes – a picture is worth a thousand words. And by 1900, penny postcards had become the primary way for everyday folks to quickly communicate both their important messages and their simply greetings.

(P-0270-e) From 1909 – this rare penny postcard features a view of Old Capitol as seen from Iowa Avenue – looking west. On the left is the Hall of Liberal Arts – Schaeffer Hall – and on the right, the Hall of Natural Science – MacBride Hall.

Over the next few posts, I’d like to share with you a unique look at Iowa City as our community appeared on countless penny postcards postmarked during the first twenty years of the 20th century. Without a doubt, the most photographed subject that graced these picture postcards was the Old Stone Capitol – so that’s where we’ll start. Enjoy the view!

(P-0012) The cornerstone of the Old Capitol Building was laid in Iowa City on July 4, 1840. Iowa City served as the third and last territorial capital of Iowa, and the last four territorial legislatures met at the Old Capitol Building until December 28,1846, when Iowa was admitted into the United States as the 29th state of the union. 59 days after being admitted into the union, the state of Iowa passed legislation in the Old Capitol Building authorizing the formation of the state’s first public university. When the state government moved to Des Moines in 1857, the Old Stone Capitol Building became the first permanent building owned by the University of Iowa. Click here to read more.
(P-0235) Click here to view the amazing postcard story of the Wieneke family.
Above – (P-0018) Below – (P-0348, P-0349) (P-0350)
1-OldCapWaterShed
(P-0019) Circa 1907 – Here’s a picture postcard a person “wrote” to themselves describing Old Capitol.

(P-0010, P-0013, P-0015, P-0014, P-0011, P-0017)

(P-0016)
(M-0136)
(P-0041) Ornate Hexagonal Watering Trough (1905-1910)  Located on Iowa Avenue & Dubuque Street. Made for horses and five ornate drinking fountains for people! Eventually moved to City Park, this unique fountain was a gathering place for many years in Iowa City. Below -The Fountain and Close Hall in the background.

(P-0245) Circa 1909 – Iowa Avenue looking east from “The Fountain”another C.L. Wieneke postcard! “Just see what the good old summer time can do for Iowa City.”

(P-0042) Circa 1900 – Looking west on Iowa Avenue Close Hall on the right, Unity Hall, and Old Capitol.
(P-0308)
(P-0043) Circa 1910 Looking west down Iowa Avenue from Linn Street, you can see The Fountain and Old Capitol on the horizon.
(P-0270-c) A rare view of Iowa Avenue looking east – on the left is University Hospital.
Circa 1910 – Iowa Avenue looking westward from Dodge Street. Below – 1914 Elk’s Parade down Iowa Avenue.

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


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