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Posts Tagged ‘Local History’

Jalapenos @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on August 18th, 2015

Jalapeno Poppers are a family favorite and the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is the best place to purchase fresh jalapenos this time of year. Often these morsels serve as a meal at our house. Baked Poppers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days (although they rarely last that long at our house) and are delicious cold as well as reheated.

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer's Market

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

We have many variations of our Jalapeno Popper recipe and often the final product is contingent on what’s in the refrigerator. Crumbled crispy bacon, goat cheese, and artichoke dip can all be substituted into the basic recipe for delicious results.

One word of caution: Make sure you remove all the seeds from the jalapenos. In general, Jalapeno Poppers are only a bit “warm” – especially with the delicious cheese to cool down the palate. Forgotten seeds can surprise the person eating the popper, though, so caution is needed if consumers are wary of hot food.

Here’s our basic recipe:

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Select fresh, large Jalapenos.

Cut off the top and split in half lengthwise.

Remove all seeds.

Fill with cream cheese.

Wrap with Prosciutto (we prefer Iowa-made La Quercia)

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Arrange on cooking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check after 15.

If you are looking for summer recipe inspiration, browse our catalog or check out the many awesome books at the Library. 641 is the call number to get you started.

Let us know which delicious dishes you are creating from the fresh ingredients you find at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market.

See you at the Market!


History in the Making

by Susan Craig on June 5th, 2015

Our month long celebration of local history is over for another year.  In May, National Historical Preservation month, we highlight local history during a series of programs we call WOW—Weber on Wednesday.  The programs honor Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber.lemme

This year we heard about historical gardens, beer caves, food history (oyster bars galore, who knew!), corner grocery stores, downtown Iowa City, and early Coralville.  We also hope to encourage interest in local history and get people involved in preserving and researching.  We offered special scanning days to allow people to use professional grade scanners to digitize documents and solicit items for our Digital History Project.

Of all the programs this year the one that most imbodies the spirit of Irving Weber was a presentation by the 6th grade girls of Helen Lemme school who visited the University of Iowa Women’s Archives, the State Historical Society Library and the Iowa City Public Library to research their school’s namesake, Helen Lemme.  They presented their finding at a WOW program and also shared it with the governor this week.  Their research and work reflects that our history is for everyone – not just scholars.

Many people are concerned about access to the records that make this and future research possible.  The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs which oversees all the state’s arts and cultural programs, including state historical libraries in Des Moines and Iowa City, has reduced hours at both facilities to just three days a week.  The Iowa City State Historical Society of Iowa had a staff of 20 in 2000, as of July 1, they will have two.

University of Iowa associate professor of history and geography, Tyler Priest, has focused well deserved attention on concerns regarding access to the historical documents housed in the Iowa City Centennial Building.  His perspective is as teacher and a scholar.   The issues he raises affect all Iowans.  We are all “citizen historians,” just like Irving Weber.  All of us who care about the history of our state need to educate ourselves about the situation and follow up on the consultants’ report due out in about a month that the DCA has commissioned.

Currently, the DCA is gathering feedback on how historical collections in Des Moines and Iowa City are used.  If you are interested please complete the survey:

<>  now through Tuesday, June 30.  It will take approximately 10 minutes or less to complete.

Irving B Weber would thank you for your interest!

Breakfast @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on May 12th, 2015

Breakfast at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

I love the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. I grew up in Iowa City, so I have happy memories of going to the Market when I was young. My children have also grown up going to the Farmer’s Market and one of their favorite Saturday morning activities is breakfast at the Market.

We typically bring our coffee cups and stop at Cafe del Sol for a refill, and then take in the Market. Once we’ve checked out all the booths we wander over to Washington Street and scope out all the different choices for breakfast food.

Our final decision for what to order is typically based on what looks good and where the shortest lines are. My personal favorite is the breakfast burritos while my kids like the breakfast sandwiches that use pancakes as the outer layer and yummy eggs and other fillings in the middle.

Once we have our food, we typically pull up a seat on the curb and people watch. We always see lots of friends so it turns into a social occasion too.


Poppyseed Kolache from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

A trip to the Market would also not be complete without our beloved kolaches. I grew up with a Czech grandmother who made the best kolaches in the world, so finding a good kolache is a real treat. My favorites are poppy seed while my family prefers apricot, cherry, and peach. We all agree the prune kolaches are to be avoided.

Writing this blog post inspired me to investigate the books about Czech cooking at the Library. I found many awesome selections at the call number 641.59437. One book has recipes for poppy seed and cheese filling as well as the dreaded prune filling.

It’s so exciting to welcome the Iowa City Farmer’s Markets back into our weekly routine. I look forward to the food, fun and meeting friends. See you at the Market!

Signs of spring: the IC Farmers Market

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 5th, 2015

Were you among the hundreds of people to converge downtown Saturday morning for the first Downtown Iowa City Farmers Market of the season? I lost track of the number of people I said hello to, including the Library’s AV Specialist who attended the market with her four-week-old daughter, as I browsed the stalls with a smile on my face.

My breakfast on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Yum!

My breakfast on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Yum!

It’s farmers market season once more.

Growing up in on the other side of the state (shout out to anyone from Webster County!), I had no experience with farmers markets until I moved to Iowa City in mid-1990s. My college roommates and I would visit the market after classes every Wednesday, during which each one of us would purchase something to contribute to our weekly roommate dinner. This is how I learned to cook using ingredients that weren’t prepackaged.

The Library wants to help you make your farmers market experience even better, which is why we created recipe cards promoting two things: ICPL’s cooking resources and the Digital History Project.

Did you know the number of cookbooks in our collection numbers somewhere in the thousands? With that many choices — not to mention our collection of food-related magazines and children’s cookbooks — you are bound to find a recipe to help you utilize the foods you purchase at the farmers market.

For those of you who love local history, we have access to some treasured family recipes thanks to the Digital History Project. Take time to explore what’s available and look through your own collection of photos. You may have something to add!

FarmersMarketLogoYou can find the recipe cards on the Iowa City Farmers Market table. In addition, Library staff will be blogging about their farmers market experiences all summer long. Feel free to share your stories with us!

We’ll see you at the market!



Dig out your photos! Bring your IC-related pics to ScanIt@ICPL–May 9, 2-5 p.m.

by Candice Smith on May 1st, 2015

tbt42315I was digging through some boxes of photos the other day, and found this one that made me especially happy for two reasons. The first is because of the carousel–the Drollinger carousel in City Park. This is one of the rides that is still in the park, but when this picture was taken (I think in 1997 or 1998?) there were other rides that are no longer there. I like to think of all the times I was in the park, all the kids and families enjoying Iowa City’s very own amusement park that used to be just a little bit bigger.

I’m sure there are many of you who have similar items tucked away at home–maybe some photos of picnics or ballgames in the parks around town, or of your kids messing about in the old fountain in the ped mall (that old, wonderful, vaguely dangerous, somewhat evocative fountain), of family outings to the Devonian Fossil Gorge right after it was created. Pictures of the floods, of the tornado’s aftermath, of buildings that used to be downtown, old pictures from school, scenes of neighborhoods and homes from a while back. We want to see them! We’re looking for photos and documents related to the history of Iowa City to scan and add to our Digital History Project, and we’re hoping our patrons and community members can help!

The second reason I was happy to find this photo? Because the two tiny little children in it are turning 22 today–happy birthday, Peter and Rachel!

Celebrate Local History with Weber on Wednesday at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 24th, 2015

Are you ready to be WOWed?

WOW — Weber on Wednesday – is a month-long program created specifically for local history buffs. On every Wednesday in May – and a few other dates – the Iowa City Public Library will host an event that delves into Iowa City’s history.

WOW is held in conjunction with Irving B. Weber Days, which are held every May in honor of Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber. May also is National Historical Preservation Month.

Plum Grove Gardens Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Iowa State Extension Master Gardeners Betty Kelly and Carolyn Murphy will talk about the gardens at Plum Grove, the home of Iowa’s first Territorial Governor, Robert Lucas. Co-sponsored by the Johnson County Historical Society and Master Gardeners of Johnson County.


Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Bring your photos and documents related to Iowa City and Johnson County history, and have them added to the Library’s Digital History Project. Staff will help you scan your items, and send you home with your original and a digital copy. Please bring a USB thumb drive.

A Pictorial History of Downtown Iowa City

Wednesday, May 13 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Author Marybeth Slonneger will present a program on the history of Downtown Iowa City. Co-sponsored by The Friends of Historic Preservation.

Prohibition, Breweries and Beer Caves in Iowa City

Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Marlin Ingalls, Architectural Historian, will give a presentation on prohibition, breweries and the beer caves in Iowa City.

Iowa City Food History from 1830 -1900

Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Rachel Wobeter, a University of Iowa Museum Studies student, will give a tour of Iowa City’s food history, sharing photos and historical notes about the town’s early grocers, brewers, and more. Refreshments will be provided. Co-sponsored by Historic Foodies.

Helen Lemme: A History

Tuesday, May 26 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Learn about Helen Lemme from the Lemme Elementary sixth-grade girl history detectives. Join them for an ice cream social after the program.

Images of America: Coralville

Wednesday, May 27 at noon in Meeting Room A

Author and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Director Emeritus Timothy Walch will share stories about Coralville from his new book “Images of America: Coralville.”

History of Iowa City’s Grocery Stores

Wednesday, May 27 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Tom Schulein, citizen historian, will present a program on the history of Iowa City groceries from the corner store to the superstore. Co-sponsored by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Pie Plant – What’s that and what’s it have to do with Irving B. Weber?

by Maeve Clark on April 23rd, 2015

Rhubarb- Did you know that rhubarb is also known as pie plant?  I hadn’t heard, (or at least I didn’t remember hearing),  rhubarb called pie plant, (or pieplant), until I lived in Dubuque. However, a little online digging shows that term pie plant has been in written use since 1838.  If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you might recall that it from a passage in The First Four Years -Laura was cooking for the threshers, the first dinner in her very own little house, and was running through the menu: “There was pie plant in the garden; she must make a couple of pies.”

A discussion of the term came up last month when I attended a meeting Historic Foodies, a local group with an interest in using recipes from the cookbooks of  yesteryear.  We were using The Iowa City Cook Book, and on page 181 one of our members found the recipe below. Pie PlantThe cookbook dates from 1898 and is chock-full of recipes that will invite much discussion.  You might just recognize the names of prominent Iowa City residents of the past.  In fact, while we at the meeting we consulted Margaret Keyes book Nineteenth century home architecture of Iowa City to see if we could locate the recipe writer’s house. When we did we pulled up the Iowa City assessors website to find out if the house was extant.  It was tremendous fun and we found a good number of the names in Dr. Keyes’ book and many of the houses are still here!

So what does all of this have to do with Irving B. Weber?  First, Weber wrote the introduction to Dr. Keyes book.  Second,  while Weber’s mother doesn’t have any recipes in the cookbook, some of his parent’s neighbors do.  Third, we are just about to celebrate Irving B Weber Days,  webera full month of programming and displays dedicated to local history.  Fourth, the Historic Foodies will be providing refreshments from the Iowa City Cook Book for a program during Weber Days. Make sure you mark your calendar to come to Rachel Wobeter’s talking to tour of Iowa City food history.  Rachel will share her research on what Iowa City folk ate between 1830 and 1900 on Wednesday, May 20 at 7  p.m.  The program will air live on Library Channel 2o.

And finally, what  does pie plant have to do with with Irving Weber?  Well, here’s what I think, I bet you anything Irving ate pie plant in either a pie or as a sauce or maybe even like I did as a child, by dipping the stalk in the sugar bowl and taking a great big bite of sour delight.



ICPL announces May Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 23rd, 2015

May is National Historic Preservation month and the Iowa City Public Library will celebrate by honoring local historian, Irving B. Weber. In conjunction with the many Weber on Wednesday events, the computer classes for adults will focus on history through genealogical research.

Have you ever wondered about your family tree? Not sure how to start searching for your ancestors? Come join us for an Introduction to Genealogy on Friday, May 8, or on Tuesday, May 19, beginning at 10 a.m. A librarian will help you get started by talking about what questions to ask, how to keep track of your information, and places you might want to search.

At 10 a.m. on Monday, May 11, and Friday, May 29, find out how to use the library’s genealogy resources at Using for Genealogy. Find out how both Ancestry and Heritage Quest, two leading, genealogical databases, can help you solve your family tree mysteries.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early.

Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Share your photograph, tell our story.

by Candice Smith on March 7th, 2015

schoolIt’s said that a photograph is worth a thousand words. Photographs can document and show an event, they can convey an idea, they can explain a thought. They can preserve a moment and tell the story that goes with it.

ICPL wants your photographs and your words. We want your stories.

Join us on Saturday, May 9 from 2-5 pm in Meeting Room A for ScanIt@ICPL–Local History, part of the Library’s Weber Days events.

Bring in your photos, letters, documents, and other items related to the history of Iowa City and Johnson county. Share your items and tell the stories that go with them — stories about the people, places, events, and things that are part of our past, but also part of who we are now. Help the Library build a resource about and for our community — help us tell our story.

We will help you scan your items, and then send you home with your originals plus digital copies of them (you can supply your own USB, or we can send you the copies in an email). If you have questions about what you can bring in, or if you’d like to schedule a specific time (not necessary — drop-ins are welcome!), contact Candice Smith at or 319-887-6031.

Check out our Digital History Project, then become part of it.

Post From the Past.

by Candice Smith on October 13th, 2014

letter2   A couple weeks back the Info Desk received a letter in the mail from someone who had recently purchased a postcard mailed from Iowa City. The card had been sent in 1875, and had a unique stamp that was the postage cancellation mark. This person wanted to know if we were able to determine anything about that mark and what it might mean.

Where to begin, right? I’m not very familiar with the collecting and/or research of letters and stamps, and we had little to go on. The cancel mark itself looked like the letters ‘JIC’ and didn’t appear to be handwritten. I didn’t even know what to call the mark, so I started by looking at some general resources about the postal system. I found that, before the advent of machine-generated stamping and marking, postmasters would cancel postage in various ways, including uniquely-carved stamps that were often made of cork. The marks that these stamps made are often called ‘fancy cancels.’ I then started looking for other postcards that had been recorded or auctioned that were sent from Iowa City, as well as looking though numerous different fancy cancels from Iowa. I eventually did find one other postcard that had been sent from the area that had a very similar cancel, but was unable to find any specific information about it. However, that was enough to make me think that we were indeed dealing with a stamp that was regularly used by one of our postmasters.

Without ever being able to positively identify what the initials stood for, a good guess would be ‘Johnson Iowa City.’ Other fancy cancels served a similar purpose of identifying place of origin. I also wondered that it might be the initials of a postmaster…but how would I find that out? I started browsing some of the resources contained in the database Ancestry, and lo and behold, it contains the aptly titled Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971. I was easily able to view all of the postmasters from Iowa City who had appointments during the time this postcard was sent, and…nothing. No names matched those initials. What I did find, though, was that several of the area’s well-known people were appointed as postmasters, including Samuel Trowbridge, Chauncey Swan, and Edward Lucas, son of Robert Lucas. There were other notable names too, such as landowners Jacob Ricard and George Clark, and store owner John Whetstone. Finding these names in this database tells a little more of the story of Iowa City, of the people who lived here and helped build it.

In the end, I was not able to provide a definitive answer for our patron, but I did enjoy trying. If you have any information or ideas related to old postage marks from Iowa City, please leave a comment.

Want to try out Ancestry Library Edition? Stop by the Info Desk for help!

Want to see some old letters mailed to Iowa City? Check out our Digital History Project!

Want to read an oddly fascinating book about postal systems? Check out The Crying of Lot 49!