Matthew Cavanagh (1832-1927), Iowa City Attorney/Mayor & The Cavanagh/Zetek House. This cover comes from the law office of Matthew Cavanagh (1832 – 1927) and is postmarked in Iowa City on Sept. 27 (circa 1870-1871). Cavanagh was the son of James Cavanagh (1806-1880), native of Ohio who moved to Iowa City in 1840; a farmer who was also involved in local politics. James Cavanagh built this home at 704 Reno Street in 1870 and after his death (1880), his wife Amy lived there until 1902. The house was then sold to Joseph Zetek and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Matthew Cavanagh, James’ son, engaged in the practice of law and real estate, and was born May 12, 1832 in Cass County, Michigan. He was married September 1858 to Mary Fellows of Lee County, Illinois. Matthew and Mary both graduated from Cornell College and Matthew was admitted to practice law in Iowa in 1861. He was Sheriff of Johnson County, Township Trustee, a member of the City Council (1862), Mayor of Iowa City (1878-1879) and a member of the Iowa City School Board and its President. He died October 13, 1927 at the age of 95 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City.
Other 1870’s Highlights…
On November 11, 1876, Harper’s Weekly featured a massive supplement edition highlighting displays from the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia. On page 921, the State of Iowa Exhibit was highlighted with two engravings featuring the soils and products of Iowa.
The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World’s Fair in the United States, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 10 to November 10, 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Officially named the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine, it was held in Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River on fairgrounds designed by Herman J. Schwarzmann. About 10 million visitors attended, equivalent to about 20% of the population of the United States at the time.