Our Iowa Heritage: Iowa Celebrates: The 1970’s-1980’s.


(C-0156) Christmas Greeting from the Old Capitol Restoration Committee – circa 1970’s.  In 1970, the university undertook a six-year interior renovation of Old Capitol, restoring it back to its original condition as a government building in the 1850s, and for use as a state historical museum. It was declared a National Historic Landmark on January 7, 1976 and reopened to the public on the nation’s bicentennial, July 4, 1976.

(M-0086) July 4, 1976 – Old Capitol Re-dedication Commemorative Key. A special full-size commemorative key (just like the original that was used on the front doors of Old Cap) was produced to celebrate the re-opening. We enjoy placing this key on our Christmas tree each year! Take a look at those early years when Old Capitol was the New Capitol.

On July 3rd, a big grand re-opening of Old Capitol was held on the front steps. Iowa graduate, Simon Estes, sang (left), and renovation supervisor Margaret Keyes (L) poses with Susan Hancher (R). For a complete tour of Old Capitol as it appears today, click here.


(M-0081) 1971 – Old Capitol Whiskey Decanter by Ezra Brooks Distilling Company & Promotional Post Card.

(P-0169) Circa 1970’s – Postcard Celebrating our Two State Capitols: Iowa City: 1840 –  1857, Des Moines: 1857 – present.  Click here to read more about the transition from Iowa City to Des Moines.

(P-0217) This colorful postcard features both capitol buildings plus other Iowa sites!

(S-0066) 1776-1976 Bicentennial – State Flags – Set of 50. Issued as part of the ongoing Bicentennial celebration, the 13¢ State Flags pane was a first in U.S. history. This was the first time a pane with 50 face-different stamps was issued. Each state is represented by its official flag, with the stamps arranged on the sheet in the same order each state was admitted into the Union.
(C-0158 1976 13¢ Iowa State Flag from 50-stamp US Flags Issue.

(S-0047) Iowa State Flag.  With the help of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Iowa held a design contest in search of a flag design in 1917. The winning design, by Mrs. Dixie Gebhardt, was selected on May 11. Gebhardt’s design featured an eagle on a white stripe between a red stripe (for courage) and a blue stripe (for loyalty, justice, and truth). The state name is written below the eagle in red, to symbolize the sacrifices of the men who went to war.


(M-0028) 1776 – 1976 – American Revolution Bicentennial – State of Iowa Commemorative Medallion. This commemorative medallion was produced to celebrate the Bicentennial in Iowa. On the obverse is the State of Iowa flag motto: Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain. On the reverse is the Bicentennial state emblem, a modernized plow with the four-leaf clover “Iowa-A Place To Grow” logo.

(M-0029) Iowa City Coin Club – 1958 – 2008. Fiftieth Anniversary Coin. This would be an appropriate place in our collection to look at this rare coin collectible. This is Coin #34 from a limited minting of coins commemorating the 50th anniversary (1958 – 2008) of the Iowa City Coin Club. A beautiful coin indeed, picturing Old Capitol and Hawk flying over the State of Iowa.

Other Celebrations of Iowa in the 1970’s…

(C-0159) 1976 13¢ Bicentennial – Spirit of 76 Set of 3 – Postmarked on July 4, 1976 in Iowa City.
(C-0160) R.A.G.B.R.A.I – IV.  Every year since 1973,  bicycle riders from around the world come to Iowa to ride across the state over a week’s time. The 1976 race covered 430 miles and went through Iowa City on August 6.  Postmarked on August 6, 1976 in Iowa City.
(C-0256) We end the 1970’s by celebrating Pope John Paul II and the papal visit to Iowa on October 4, 1979.

Now…let’s look at the 1980’s…


(S-0067) 1982 – State Birds & Flowers of the U.S. – Set of 50.  The father-son team labored for over a year on this beautiful philatelic masterpiece. Arthur created the birds, while son Alan painted the flowers. Each stamp is unique – making it the first series of its size to feature original artwork for each different stamp. At the time of their issue, these stamps were the most popular in U.S. Postal history.

(C-01611982 Iowa State Bird & Flower from 50-stamp US Birds & Flowers Issue.  This stamp features a watercolor picturing an Eastern Goldfinch and a Wild Prairie Rose, Iowa’s state bird and flower. The story of these stamps begins in 1978, when Fleetwood hired father-son wildlife artists Arthur and Alan Singer to create 50 original paintings of state birds and flowers for a set of Fleetwood FDC covers. When U.S. Postal Service officials saw the high-quality paintings, they immediately decided to issue a 50-stamp se-tenant showcasing the father-son team’s watercolor paintings.

(C-0162) (S-0048)

(P-0197) Circa 1985 – Welcome to Iowa!

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…