IOWA CITY, p-v., capital of Johnson co. and of the ter. of Iowa, 33 w. n. w. Bloomington, 86 s. s. w. Du Buque, 75 N. by w. Burlington. Situated on the s. bank of Iowa r., which is navigable for boats to this place at all stages of the water. The water of the r. is clear and pure, the banks are high and dry, and the neighborhood furnishes fine building stone and excellent timber. This place was the hunting ground of the Indian until 1839. The first plateau from the r., half a mile long and 100 yards wide, is devoted to a public promenade. The second elevation is about 12, and the third about 30 feet, above the promenade. Upon the brow of the last runs Capitol-street, 120 feet wide, and is met at right angles by Iowa avenue, of equal width. The Capitol, on Capitol-st., fronting Iowa avenue, is of Grecian-Doric architecture, 120 feet long by 60 feet wide, and 2 stories high above the basement. It is surmounted by a dome resting on 22 Corinthian columns. Its situation is commanding. The v. has a church, 11 stores of different kinds, 150 dwellings, and about 800 inhabitants. (Haskell's Complete Descriptive and Statistical Gazetteer of the the United States...,1840)
IOWA CITY, a flourishing town, capital of the State of Iowa, and seat of justice of Johnson county, is beautifully situated on the bluffs which rise from the left bank of the Iowa river, about 80 miles from its mouth, 33 miles N. W. from the Mississippi river at Muscatine, and about 760 miles in a straight line W. by N. from Washington. Lat. 41° 39' N.; Ion. 91° 30' W. When this place was selected as the seat of government, in May, 1839, it was entirely in a state of nature; and within a year from that time it contained from 500 to 700 inhabitants. The town is embowered among groves of trees, and surrounded by fertile prairies. The principal streets are Capitol street and Iowa avenue, which are above 100 feet in width. At the intersection of these, on a commanding eminence, stands the capitol, a fine edifice of the Doric order, 120 feet long by 60 feet wide. The material was quarried in this vicinity, and is marked with spots and rings, which give it the name of "bird's-eye marble." The cost is estimated at $100,000. The river is navigable by steamboats from its mouth to this place in all stages. .Several railways have been surveyed, which, when finished, will connect the town with Dubuque, Keokuk, and Davenport. The river affords in this vicinity excellent water-power, which is partially improved. Iowa City contains several churches, a college, an academy, and other schools. Three or four newspapers are published here. Population in 1830, 2262; in 1853, about 4000. (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)
IOWA CITY is the county-seat of Johnson County, and until the last session of the legislature, was the capital of the state. At that session a bill was passed, removing the seat of government to Fort Des Moines, in Polk County, some hundred and twenty miles further west; and providing for the erection of temporary public buildings, to be approved by the governor, before a session of the General Assembly will be holden there.
The present State House is not entirely finished, but is an elegant edifice of stone ; capacious, well adapted to legislative and other public purposes, and an ornament to the city. This building, with its extensive grounds, is a grant to the State University, and will be appropriated to its use immediately upon the removal of the State offices and legislative sessions.
The University has an ample fund, and is now in operation in this city ; well provided with competent professors, and temporarily occupying what is known as the Mechanics' Academy. The number of students is at present but about forty, as the first session was opened only on the first Monday of March last.
Besides this infant institution, strong in resources and promises, there is the Female Collegiate Institute, in successful operation. This institution has been reared to its present prosperity, principally under the auspices of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in this city and other portions of the State. The building designed for this seminary, will be completed, probably, during the present year, and no expense will be spared to render it equal in architectural beauty and finish to any in Iowa.
There is, also, the City Union School, with a principal and three assistants, besides numerous private schools, all thriving finely. There is no town in the state better supplied with educational advantages, considering its population.
There are two newspapers published in this city, the Republican, a Whig, and the Capital Reporter, a Democratic journal; connected with both of which are flourishing job-printing offices. By an act of the last Legislature, also, the State Printer will hold his office here, until the final removal of the seat of government.
A steam grist-mill is now operating successfully in this city; amount of business not known, as it has just commenced operations. Another is to be erected on the west side of the Iowa River the present season. About three miles west of town, or north-west, are Clarke's flouring-mills, clearing their owners at least $10,000 per annum.
The manufactories most needed here are a paper-mill, plow and wagon factory, wool-carding machines. A good foundry and brick-yard would also pay well.
The city is well stocked with churches, there being no less than seven church edifices, and eight religious societies. Of these, there are one Baptist, built of brick in superior style; an Old School Presbyterian, Methodist, — Protestant Methodist, Catholic, and Universalist, also of brick, and very creditable structures ; and the New School Presbyterian, a neat stone edifice. The Episcopal Society worships in the basement of the Methodist Church.
According to the census of 1854, the population of the city was 3083; which is probably nearer four than three thousand at the present time. It is situated at the conjunction of two great contemplated railroad routes : the one from Davenport, of which the present year will doubtless witness the completion to this point — and the Lyons road, in which the city is also deeply interested, which will probably be finished in at least fifteen months. (Iowa As It Is in 1855; A Gazetteer for Citizens..., 1855)