1947 – The SUI Centennial Celebration.

(P-0221) On February 25, 1847, when the State of Iowa was only 59 days old, the State Legislature, meeting in the new Stone Capitol in Iowa City, approved the recommendation that our state sponsor a new university. While the idea might have sounded very lofty, making the dream into a reality was quite another story. Read more here. But now, it’s 1947 and the idea not only worked – it proved out to be a brilliant move on behalf of all Iowans!

In Macbride Hall – built in 1906 – the “official” SUI seal was included in the main entrance floor. Click here to read more about how & when SUI became UI.

In an earlier post, we told you how SUI began – in 1847 – with a heavenly bang – so it’s only appropriate that in 1947 – the University pulled out all the stops in celebrating 100 years of quality education in Iowa City.

1947 SUI Centennial Celebration with Iowa Memorial Union waiters presenting the SUI birthday cake – via the camera of Fred W. Kent. At the dinner – held on February 25, 1947 – a special display was also set up reviewing SUI’s rich heritage.
(P-0003) 1947 – The University of Iowa celebrates its’ 100th anniversary! This beautiful Old Capitol postcard, postmarked in Iowa City on August 3, 1946 makes for a colorful “First Day of Issue” of the 100th Anniversary postage stamp. On February 23rd, 1947, the University of Iowa celebrated its 100th Anniversary. (M-0001) Above is the 1947 University of Iowa Homecoming Badge featuring the Old Capitol dome and below,
(P-0133) (P-0132) (P-0134)

(P-0138) Here (middle) is a SUI Promotional Postcard distributed by the Alumni Association to SUI graduates and (M-0022) a special Commemorative Centennial Pin and Ribbon made for the 1947 Homecoming Celebration.

(L-0020) Here is a promotional brochure distributed by the State University of Iowa to potential students used during the 1940’s.

(M-0021) September 1947 – Arriving on the Corn Belt Rocket at the Rock Island Depot in Iowa City. The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad named its post-depression passenger trains “Rockets” not just for speed, but after the first American steam passenger locomotive of 1852. The Corn Belt Rocket started service in 1947 and connected Chicago with Omaha across Illinois and Iowa. It was a day train (no sleepers). Here is a one-way ticket from Philadelphia to Iowa City, dated September, 1947 This passenger would have taken the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) from Philadelphia to Chicago, and then change trains to the Corn Belt Rocket  – Seat 29 in Car C. Click here to read more about the Iowa City depot.

After WWII, the Iowa City airport became a major hub for United Air Lines – so forget Cedar Rapids – fly Iowa City! Read more here about the amazing history of the Iowa City airport.

Of course, once you arrived in Iowa City – you’ll needed to stock up on Penny Postcards – still very popular in the 1940’s.

(P-0085) Visitors particularly liked these colorful Postcard sets like this one here – which was mailed off to Salt Lake City for only 2-cents!

(P-0210) Here’s a second set of SUI & Iowa City postcards – this one is heading off to Mena, Arkansas!

DYK-March 30, 2022

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

Centennial birthday cake, Centennial Dinner, Iowa Memorial Union, The University of Iowa, February 25, 1947, University of Iowa Digital Library

Exhibition at Centennial Dinner, Iowa Memorial Union, The University of Iowa, February 25, 1947, University of Iowa Digital Library

Old Capitol anniversary banquet, The University of Iowa, 1947, University of Iowa Digital Library

Centennial Dinner, Iowa Memorial Union, University of Iowa, February 25, 1947, University of Iowa Digital Library

Iowa City Airport pictures, History of the Iowa City Municipal Airport, City of Iowa City


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