Our Iowa Heritage: U of I Gathering Places.

(P-0256) Our Boller family moved to Iowa City in 1966. This scenic postcard (circa 1965) features a birds-eye view of our new home from just west of Iowa Stadium.

Let’s face it. Going off to college is more than just taking classes. College life means building friendships. Some of those friendships will last a lifetime, others will fade away. The nice thing about Facebook and other on-line tools is that, today, you can be-friend old friends, yet still do it from the safety of your own home!


Circa 1915 – Here’s a view looking east on Market Street picturing the original Mercy Hospital on the far left, and the original Iowa City High School in the middle, which in my day, became Central Jr. High School.

m-1969MartyTuba copy
At Iowa City High School, I found that music was my forte. Thus, my friendships were made up primarily of fellow band, orchestra & chorus members.
(M-0072) A Sousaphone Christmas Ornament. A good reminder of my tuba days at Iowa.
Click here to read more about The Hawkeye Marching Band.

Once I completed my core courses, I spent most of my time hanging around with my friends in places such as Eastlawn, the Music Hall, and in 1972, the new Music Building built adjacent to Hancher Auditorium on the west side of the river. Click here to read more about The Hawkeye Marching Band and the School of Music.

(P-0160) Click here to read more about The Scottish Highlanders.

(P-0159)  Back in my day, The Hawkeye Marching Band was for guys and The Scottish Highlanders was for gals. But the times, they were a-changing. In my senior year (1972-1973), we had two young ladies join the HMB. Wow, did they get a lot of attention!

Click here to read more about The Hawkeye Marching Band.

(P-0158) Circa 1970’s “Greetings.”  If my friends and I weren’t at the Music Building, or at George’s (the musician’s bar), you could often find us hanging around the Student Union. From the very first day the University of Iowa opened its doors (1855) to today, there has always been meeting places where students can hang out, build friendships, and relax from studying!

In the earliest days, there was South Hall and North Hall.


By the turn of the century, there was Unity Hallthe former Unitarian Church on the NE corner of Clinton St. & Iowa Ave. Click here for more details about Unity Hall…


(P-0040)  But, as the University continued to grow, Unity Hall proved to be inadequate. In December 1913 the Student Union was moved to the rooms above the Brunswick Bowling Parlor at 121-123 Iowa Avenue. In 1914, the Student Union moved, once again, to the larger St. James Hotel on the SE corner of Clinton St. & Iowa Ave. But, when fire destroyed the building on Good Friday – 1916, the University was forced to go back to Unity Hall, sharing it now with the School of Music.

Click here to read more about the St. James Hotel and some of the retail shops surrounding it.

Unity Hall (on the left) with School of Music sign over the door via the camera of Fred W. Kent.

1923 – Laying the Conserstone for the new Iowa Memorial Union via the camera of Fred W. Kent.
Iowa Memorial Student Union – 1925. In 1919, President Walter A. Jessup advocated for the construction of a student union dedicated to the memory of servicemen who died in World War I. By 1925, the original section (Unit I) was completed, including the main lounge, a roof-top sun porch, and office space.
(P-0161) Iowa Memorial Student Union – 1927.  Unit II was completed, including a three-story addition to the east, a lobby, meeting rooms, the WSUI radio studio, and space for the private, faculty-run Triangle Club.
Iowa River walk – circa 1933. In the early 1930s, the University envisioned and initiated a series of beautification projects, starting with both buildings and scenic structures such as walls, walkways and skating ponds. On the west side of the river between Iowa Avenue and City Park Bridge the Maybee Theater Building and the Arts Campus were built atop a series of abandoned quarries. The senior class helped build and fund a shelter house near now nonexistent skate ponds.

(P-0164) (P-0162) Iowa Memorial Student Union Foot Bridge & Fountain – 1935.

(P-0165) Iowa Memorial Student Union – Danforth Chapel – 1952.
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Iowa Memorial Student Union – 1955. Unit III was completed (a ground floor and a first floor to the south of Units I and II) featuring a recreation area, more office space, a student lounge, library, and music rooms.
Circa 1965 – West side of Clinton Street Kenney’s Bar was a very popular place for the Writer’s Workshop participants in the 1960’s. “Since my Iowa days I’ve heard that Kenney’s has appeared more in American novels than any other bar.” Philip F O’Connor, “The Fellowship” A Community of Writers: Paul Engle and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Iowa Memorial Student Union and surrounding Fine Arts campus – circa 1968.

(P-0228) Clinton Street -looking north – Circa 1970’s

Robert Childress (1915–1983) was an American illustrator, perhaps best known for his work in the classic Dick and Jane books for children (1950’s). In the 1970’s, Childrenn created “The Great University ‘Portrait’ Series,” in which he produced three to four campus scenes from more than thirty colleges around the country. After traveling to each campus for photographs, he returned home to paint the scenes which he then marketed to members of alumni associations. These are the three prints Childress created for the University of Iowa: Old Capitol, Hospital Tower, President’s Home.

Click here for an overview of Iowa Homecomings from 1912 to the present…

Click here to go on to the next section…

Click here for a complete INDEX of Our Iowa Heritage stories…

Click here for a complete INDEX of PEOPLE-PLACES-THINGS…

Click here for a complete INDEX of stories listed CHRONOLOGICALLY…

Click here for a numerical INDEX to all of the U.S. postage stamps, postal cards, and coins in our collection…