Our Iowa Heritage: Weber’s Fun Facts – Old Stone Capitol.

In 1976, the Iowa City Lion’s Club took it upon themselves to publish a book by one of its long-time members. The book was called Irving Weber’s Iowa City and it included 102 short stories that had originally been published by the Iowa City Press Citizen. In remembrance of Mr. Iowa City, here is our tip of the hat to Weber’s first article from his first book, written in a quiz format, focusing on the most prominent landmark in Iowa City… the Old Stone Capitol.

The Old Stone Capitol – Iowa City. Read more about this historic landmark here.

Weber’s Clue #1.

This view of the Iowa River might just be the way it looked on May 4, 1839. Read more about this here.

Weber’s Clue #2.

The decision to relocate the territorial capital to a more centrally-located Johnson County was made here: Old Zion Church in Burlington, Read more about Iowa’s first capital city here.

Weber’s Clue #3.

“That was Iowa City in July, 1839 — a map, a paper plat, recorded in the office of I. P.  Hamilton, the recorder of Johnson County,” Benjamin F. Shambaugh wrote in his 1939 book, The Old Stone Capitol Remembers. Click here for Shambaugh’s writings about July 4, 1839.

Weber’s Clue #4.

Butler’s Capitol – Since it was going to take a long time to build the new stone capitol in Iowa City, in 1841, a man named Walter Butler built a two-story frame building (on the corner of Clinton and Washington Streets) and here the Legislature met in Iowa City for the first time in December of 1841. It was not until 1842 that the stone capitol could be used. Read more about those early days here.

Weber’s Clue #5.

Legend attributes the original design of Old Capitol to Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, a Dominican missionary priest, who designed churches in the Territories of Iowa and Wisconsin. Read more about Father Mazzuchelli here.

Weber’s Clue #6.

Besides the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois (above), John F. Rague also designed the historic Mathias Ham home in Dubuque. Click here to read more about John F. Rague.

Weber’s Clue #7.

We Build Our Capitol – 1841 – an oil painting by Iowa City artist Mildred Pelzer (1934). Mildred Pelzer’s mural depicts Chauncey Swan (right), who is sometimes called the “Father of Iowa City” since he was part of the original team that selected the site and then stayed here until 1849, serving in a variety of leadership roles; and Father Samuel Mazzuchelli (left), a Dominican missionary priest, who designed churches in the Territories of Iowa and Wisconsin. Click here to read more about Chauncey Swan.

Weber’s Clue #8.

On February 25, 1847, the Iowa Legislature, meeting in Iowa City, proclaimed that our state, only 59 days old at the time, would develop a university of higher learning, a place where doctors, lawyers, and other professionals would be trained for service to our state. But it wasn’t until On September 3, 1857, ten years after its formal birth, the Iowa City campus finally got what it so badly needed; a game plan to focus all state efforts on building one school in one city. Read more about the transition from state capitol to state university here.

Weber’s Clue #9.

Today, the Pentacrest, with the Old Stone Capitol at its center, is the focal point for the University of Iowa. Read more about the formation of the Pentacrest here.

Weber’s Clue #10.

Professor Benjamin F. Shambaugh wrote extensively about the early days of Iowa and its new capital, Iowa City. Read more about this great historian here.

Here’s to Irving Weber and the Old Stone Capitol . . . two Our Iowa Heritage classics!

(BH-021) 1976, Irving Weber’s Iowa City, Irving Weber, Iowa City Lion’s Club. Click here to read more about Irving Weber, Mr. Iowa City.


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

Review all of Irving Weber’s written material – thanks to The University of Iowa Digital Library

Irving Weber’s Iowa City, Irving Weber, Iowa City Lion’s Club, 1976, pp 2-3

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