Posts Tagged ‘Local History’


A Historical House and a Holy Hooligan

by Candice Smith on August 31st, 2017

sanxay2The Press Citizen recently had an article about Gloria Dei Lutheran Church’s plans to relocate a historical home on their property, before selling said property to the UI. That house was at one time owned by Theodore Sanxay, one of Iowa City’s early citizens and business owners. He was also one of the founding members of the First Presbyterian Church, and you can find his name on the Church’s original 1847 Constitution, as well as two letters written by him, on the Library’s Digital History website. Those two letters tell a small part of a very interesting story: the beginnings of the First Presbyterian Church, and the Reverend Michael Hummer. The letters were written to Rev. Hummer while he was out east raising money for the new church that was being built, and they discuss various details related to the ongoing construction and various costs, but also relate gratifying little bits of information and news: “Mr. Trowbridge has married the widow Willis!” and “I am commencing business here once more…My father wanted me to try business in some other place as he thought I had made a perfect failure here.” Reverend Hummer eventually returned to his flock, and the Church was completed in 1850. Before that, though, things got a little weird. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytime Recap: Old and New

by Anne Wilmoth on August 1st, 2017

It all started when I was combing through the milk crate of flannel board stories in our back room, searching for something to share at my Monday toddler storytime.  I stumbled upon a “House That Jack Built” story so old that its accompanying story sheet had been typed on a genuine typewriter; even better, the story was typed on the back of a children’s room calendar from 1976!  I adore vintage paper ephemera, so my mind immediately began to race, imagining how I could create an entire storytime around this fascinating bit of library history.

Had my storytime been on a different day this week, I could have easily paired it with a pleasingly alliterative catchphrase: “Throwback img_0222Thursday” or “Flashback Friday.”  Even “Way Back Wednesday” might have worked in a pinch, right?  But alas, my storytime is on Monday each week, so I simply called it “Storytime: Old and New.”

I shared the 1976 “House That Jack Built” flannel board story, handing out the many flannel characters to my toddler attendees ahead of time, inviting them to come forward and place their piece on the flannel board when their character appeared in the story: the “man all tattered and torn,” the “cow with the crumpled horn” and the “priest all shaven and shorn” arrived on cue.  I paired this old flannel board story with a new one, that of Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons, which is great for toddlers in that it’s colorful, involves repetitive singing and counting, and teaches the Buddhist principle of non-attachment.

I showed everyone the retro calendar I’d found and then showed them a picture of the children’s room in 1965, which I fo6d81bbe1ff985dee2cd794e1db607768-1und on ICPL’s Digital History Project.  Gratifyingly, the parents seemed as delighted as I was by these items.

I read an old book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and a brand-new one – Feathers and Hair: What Animals Wear by Jennifer Ward.  Children rang handbells and danced to an early ’70s hit, “ABC” by the Jackson 5.  Interspersed throughout were songs and fingerplays that I chose because of their nostalgia factor for my own childhood – I vividly remember singing “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail” at the now-defunct Jack and Jill Preschool.

Despite the regretful lack of a catchy title, I think we had a blast (from the past) anyway!

Pox in the park

by Candice Smith on May 26th, 2017

pesthouseThere are many reasons to take some time and visit Hickory Hill Park: have a picnic in the shelter at the Bloomington St. entrance, take a leisurely stroll and see some native wildflowers, go for a run and get a good workout on the hill up to Pappy Dickens’ Preserve, or go and have a nice, quiet sit at one of the many benches that have been installed recently. But hey, maybe you prefer a little disease and/or history when you’re in the park? If so, then I’ve got a walk for you…we’re going to visit the pest house in Hickory Hill Park!

Pest houses were used for a number of years to provide quarantine of patients who were infected with communicable diseases such as small pox and tuberculosis; this was the solution during a time when many hospitals did not have isolation wards and vaccinations had not been implemented to such a degree that the disease was wiped out. It may seem incredibly antiquated, but even Iowa City had a number of pest houses during the years of 1881-1920s; the one in Hickory Hill was the last. While there is very little to see there, we will be able to fill in the picture a bit with information from old Press Citizen articles and a few pictures from Margaret Beck, Assistant Professor in the UI Anthropology Department, who did a mapping project of the site in 2011. If you can’t make the walk with us, but are interested in learning more, stop by the Info Desk at the Library to use our databases, microfilm, and other historical resources.

Celebrate Local History in May at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 27th, 2017

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Swan Tales: The Life and Adventures of Chauncey Swan

by Anne Mangano on May 2nd, 2016
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Portrait of Chauncey Swan from Weber’s Historical Stories About Iowa City

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 »

Celebrate Local History in May at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 27th, 2016

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.

Finding a record of ownership

by Jason Paulios on April 22nd, 2016

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 :

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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:

<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!

Breakfast @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by Kara Logsden on May 12th, 2015
Breakfast

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.

Kolache

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!