Chauncey Swan is not, as I thought when I moved here, a species of water fowl. (I know, I know, but I’m not an ornithologist.) He is also not two people; there is no Mr. Chauncey. He is one man, a founding father of Iowa City. He was one of three appointed by the territorial governor (Robert Lucas) to determine the location of the capital of the new Iowa territory. It should be noted that Chauncey Swan deserves the most credit of the three men as he was acting commissioner for the survey, reported back to the legislature, and Robert Ralston was three days late and didn’t really help at all. It should also be noted that they chose the site of Iowa City on May 1st, 1839. It wasn’t really official until May 4th because they were waiting for Ralston. So, a Happy Chauncey Swan Day to you! Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged ‘Local History’
Get ready to learn more about local history with the Iowa City Public Library’s Weber Days.
Our annual celebration of local history is held every May in honor of Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber. May also is National Historical Preservation Month. This year’s lineup of programming is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about the community they call home.
Realizing Stephen Smith: His Conscience and Conflict
Wednesday, May 4, noon to 1 p.m. in Meeting Room A
University of Iowa student Steve Smith (1944-2009) encountered violence as a civil rights worker in Mississippi, led a hunger strike in downtown Iowa City, and burned his draft card in the Iowa Memorial Union in protest of the escalating war in Vietnam – all before his 21st birthday. UI Archivist David McCartney recounts Smith’s life and efforts in the UI Archives to document his ideals and his struggles.
History of the UI School of Music
Wednesday, May 4, 7 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room A
Since 1906, there has been a School of Music at the University of Iowa. Come hear Music Librarian Katie Buehner discuss the evolution of this 110-year-old program as evidenced in documentation from the University Archives and the collections of the Rita Benton Music Library.
First United Methodist Church Organ Concert
Wednesday, May 11, 7 to 8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Iowa City, 214 East Jefferson St.
A local history display and organ concert featuring Dr. Melanie Sigafoose.
Restoring Scanned Images Part I
Friday, May 13, 11 a.m. to noon in the Computer Lab
Learn to restore a scanned image by using GIMP, a free, open source software similar to Adobe Photoshop. In this class learn how to get around in GIMP, import a scanned photo, save your project, straighten a photo, and crop and resize it. Registration is required.
Restoring Scanned Images Part II
Tuesday, May 17, 10 to 11 a.m. in the Computer Lab
Learn to restore a scanned image by using GIMP, a free, open source software similar to Adobe Photoshop. In this class learn how to get around in GIMP, import a scanned photo, save your project, straighten a photo, and crop and resize it. Participants must have good mouse and keyboarding skills, and need to demonstrate familiarity with GIMP or have taken Restoring Scanned Images Part I to participate. Registration is required.
The Secret Lives of Houses: How to Research your House’s History
Wednesday, May 18, noon to 1 p.m. in Meeting Room A
Learn how to research the history of your home or a building from Alicia Trimble, Executive Director of Friends of Historic Preservation.
Maintaining and Preserving Digital Photos Part I
Saturday, May 21, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Computer Lab
Want to learn how to take care of your digital photo collection? Begin by getting familiar with important terminology and file types. Then learn the key steps needed to preserve your digital photos. Come with your questions. Registration is required.
Maintaining and Preserving Digital Photos Part II
Saturday, May 21, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Computer Lab
Want to know about the various tools and software which can help you organize, store, and edit your digital collection? Part II of this series will show you how to use metadata to organize photos. Then we will discuss and talk about tools like Picasa, Apple Photos, Adobe Lightroom, and many more products. Bring your questions! It may be helpful to take Part I of this class depending on your familiarity with digital photos. Registration is required.
Introduction to Genealogy
Monday, May 23, 4 to 5 p.m. in the Computer Lab
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. From what questions to ask and where to start searching to how to keep track of the information you find we’ll get you started on your search. Space is limited register online or by calling 356-5200.
Old Post Office Brass
Wednesday, May 25, noon to 1 p.m. in the Lobby
Old Post Office Brass reflects the home base in the Senior Center, formerly the Iowa City Post Office, and is a part of the New Horizons Band. This traditional brass quintet (two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba) performs a large variety of music, including classical, ragtime, Dixieland and popular (show tunes, etc.) for a variety of audiences in different venues.
Making Sense Out of Iowa City Streets
Wednesday, May 25, 7 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room A
Why can’t we seem to drive directly from place to place in Iowa City? Why are there no churches on Church Street? Why are some street signs in Iowa City blue, instead of green? Why do the streets First Avenue through Seventh Avenue go from east to west? How did we get all of those streets named after movie stars? And, what is with those strange-sounding names of St. Mathias Alley and St. Clements Alley? This presentation by citizen historian Thomas Schulein will explain the layout and naming of the streets of Iowa City. Historic Foodies will provide street food after the presentation.
Click here to register for classes or call the Library at 319-356-5200. If the class is full, you can add your name to the waiting list.
Click here for more information about Weber Days.
Back in November I wrote about using the City of Iowa City Housing & Inspection Services’ permit activity lookup tool for finding more information about Iowa City house history. A coworker recently showed me another great house history link hidden at the bottom of individual accounts on the Iowa City Assessors parcel search results page. If you are looking at a house result you can scroll to the bottom of that page and you’ll see “related information links” below the GIS map. There are a few useful links for house hunters here including former tax information for the property as well as a quick link to the GIS map with coordinates. The most interesting link for local history buffs is the “Old Property Report Card” in the lower right corner which will show you a past record of ownership with names and prices paid. There’s also often pointed comments on these cards regarding the huge leap in sales prices that happened in the 1990s such as these :
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.
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)
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!
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.
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:
<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001YdNu7DMwVzH4raGEeYA-8Z1fTPY4vdfIwNOxhkrQkRkTnKZQtM7HP4WdOpXAWYi4MCdl_zCjI_MXkpeh_oKMPZo6pe4-_N2I9mkRPp2q-22a1dNUETjMOt6QqaTmoULR3ywLPt4k76SbyFs5xX9kcQ==> now through Tuesday, June 30. It will take approximately 10 minutes or less to complete.
Irving B Weber would thank you for your interest!
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.
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!
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.
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!
You 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!
I 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!
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.
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. The 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, a 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.