In 1978, the Palmyra Township in rural Warren County was considering razing the 100-year-old Palmyra Methodist Episcopal Church. The prospect of demolition led to the formation of Friends of Palmyra Church, a group focused on restoring the historic church and listing the building on the National Register of Historic Places. The church was added to the Register in 1979, preventing demolition and propelling the group forward with its restoration plans.
The process was slow, but by 1984, auxiliary Sunday School rooms were removed to return the church to its 1870 footprint. The interior was restored and period-appropriate internal fixtures were installed. The church was made available for events and weddings and a non-denominational annual service was scheduled. The group’s recent focus has shifted to the exterior, raising funds to replace the aging roof and apply a fresh coat of paint. Photographed April 3, 2009.
In the mid-1990s, the 130-year-old Manatt house was about to be sold by the city council in the Poweshiek County town of Brooklyn. The council was willing to dispense of the building for $1, given the buyer would move the building to make room for the new library. Residents received word of the arrangement made by the council and immediately began raising the $50,000 required to void the sale. The community banded together, raising $52,000 in less than a month. The home was purchased and now is operated as a historical museum by the Brooklyn Historical Society.
After three years in Burlington, a committee chose Iowa City as the site of the new Iowa territory capital in 1839. An architecture and construction contract was awarded shortly after, with the cornerstone laid on July 4, 1840. Four rooms were complete by December 1942, when the territorial legislature met in the building for the first time. Iowa officially became the 29th state in the union on December 28, 1846, with Iowa City retaining capital city status for the next eleven years.
When the state capitol was moved to Des Moines in December 1857, the Old Capitol became the first permanent building of The University of Iowa. The site housed the entire university until 1863, when the school’s second building was occupied. Renovations were made to the building in the 1920s, 1970s, and 1990s, with contractors on the final project accidentally setting the dome on fire. While damage was limited to the dome area, the building did not officially reopen to the public until 2006.
The building now houses the Old Capitol Museum, which is open to the public six days a week.
Constructed in 1857 at a cost of $40,000, the former Dubuque County Jail is one of a handful of Egyptian Revival buildings remaining in the United States. Featuring 18-inch gray limestone walls, the building functioned as a jail until 1971. A few years later, the Dubuque Art Association leased the building for use as a museum, an arrangement that remained in place through 2003. When the Association moved to a remodeled bank building in 2003, the Dubuque County Historical Society established the Old Jail Museum in the historic facility.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The Muscatine Journal reports that the pictured Graffiti Barn was destroyed in an early morning fire; arson is suspected. Located two miles west of Grandview on Highway 92, the Graffiti Barn had become an area landmark. The barn was covered with many layers of graffiti, primarily painted by students from the Louisa-Muscatine and Columbus Junction school districts.