Iowa City – Iowa River Bridges. The Iowa River played a major role in why Iowa City is where it is today. In the earliest years, crossing the river was no easy thing to accomplish. Here’s the story of how we became a City of Bridges.
The 1860’s in Iowa City. in the 1860’s, photography has now become common-place. Here’s some wonderful Iowa City shots taken during this turbulent decade.
Iowa – RPO’s. As railroads became the fastest and most efficient way to move both freight and people, so the United States Postal System wisely used the rails to get mail across the country. RPO’s (Railway Postal Offices) were the mobile offices that made it all happen.
Iowa & The Underground Railroad. From the moment Iowa was first proposed to become the 29th State in the Union, the pressure was on the good people of The Hawkeye State to decide if we would be a northern state, siding with those against slavery, or join with our neighbors to the south, Missouri, which was a slave state. Iowa overwhelming supported freedom for all, thus becoming an important stop in The Underground Railroad.
St. Agatha’s of Iowa City – Breaking The Glass Ceiling. In 1861, Mary Haberstroh donated one of her late husband’s prime properties, The Park House, to the Sisters of Charity (BVM), who then transformed it into a cutting edge educational haven for women. Over the next fifty years (1862-1911), St. Anthony’s Seminary joined the State University of Iowa in making Iowa City into one of the most opportune places in the nation when it came to attaining equality in education.
Clark + Clark + Cole = Equality in Education. Did you know that the Iowa Supreme Court outlawed segregated schools in 1868 – eighty-six years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954? Thanks to Muscatine’s Alexander Clark and his 12-year-old daughter Susan, working alongside Judge Chester C. Cole, the color barrier was broken, placing the Hawkeye State on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement.
George D. Woodin & The Lane Trail. In the 1850’s the anti-slavery movement was gaining momentum, and Iowa was strategically located to be right in the midst of the battle. When Kansas Territory opened up, John Brown and many others needed the help of compassionate Iowans to help organize The Underground Railroad. George D. Woodin, from Iowa City, was one of those Iowans.
Iowa & The Civil War – 1861-1865. Iowans played a major role in the Civil War. Here are some rare covers and letters postmarked during that era.
Major Ira J. Alder – The Hundred-Day Civil War Veteran. In 1864, the North desperately needed more man-power. President Lincoln approved a recruitment idea that added over 80,000 men to the war effort, asking each man for a 100-day commitment. SUI student, Ira Alder was one of those young men who served his country and then returned to Iowa City, being called The Major until his death in 1922.
Henry County’s Newspaperman, Statesman & Civil War Hero. Here’s a salute to Samuel McFarland, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa’s Civil War hero who also played a big part in the history of Iowa City as it transitioned from State Capitol to Home of the University of Iowa.
A Rocky Mountain Mayor with Strong Iowa Roots. Here’s yet another story of one Iowa farm boy who risked it all in the Civil War and then took advantage of free land in Kansas, eventually becoming the mayor of Great Bend, Kansas and then Colorado Springs!