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Release: Jan. 14, 2002

Old Capitol memories revived by Libraries exhibition


Left photo: A section view from the UI Department of Grounds and Buildings of the Old Capitol Building dated June 1940.
Right photo: A renewal receipt of $5,000 dated 1863 showing insurance coverage of the Old Capitol Building by the New England Fire & Marine Insurance Co. of Hartford.

IOWA CITY—For more than 160 years, the Old Capitol building has meant different things to different people: a place to celebrate or mourn, a place to protest or play. A University of Iowa Libraries' special collections department exhibition on the Old Capitol reprises some of those memories by presenting 1940s era restorative dome blueprints, pictures and other memorabilia that reflect the building's significance to the campus community.

David McCartney, university archivist and libraries staff member Denise Anderson compiled the free and public exhibition that shows how the Old Capitol was used as a symbolic and meaningful part of the university. Among the archival quality items featured in the glass-enclosed display cases are a 1923 Old Capitol general lighting blueprint produced around the time of the first great restoration project, memorial badges, and an 1863 New England Fire and Marine insurance certificate showing $5,000 indemnification of the building and grounds.

The 1940 blueprints of the dome, which include specific measurements of the exterior columns, supporting joists, and other measurements, might include details of the building unavailable elsewhere and that recently hired architects will need to review and replace the structure destroyed by fire last November.

Photographs from three separate memorial services held there for Abraham Lincoln on April 19, 1865; John F. Kennedy on November 25, 1963; and Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 9, 1968, are poignant reminders of the Old Capitol as a place for community reflection.

The displayed materials were culled from the university archives and private collections. The exhibition runs from now until mid-March. It is open to the public and is located on the third floor of the Main Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is visible from the public corridor on weekends and evenings.

For more information, contact the special collections department at (319) 335-5921.