Friday, September 23, 2022

Review of "Old Capitol’s Ghosts," by Robert E. Belding

 Review of

Old Capitol’s Ghosts,  by Robert E. Belding

Four out of five stars

History of a building, few if any ghosts

 This book is improperly named. It is not a set of short stories about the apparitions and weird noises seen and heard in the Old Capital building in Iowa City, Iowa. The stories contain little-known facts regarding the creation and history of the building. Those stories are of themselves interesting to people that have been in the building, as I have.

 The stories begin when Iowa was still a territory and was governed from the west bank of the Mississippi River. It was not long before it was decided that the state capitol should be farther west due to the overall westward movement of the central point of the population. The very frontier town of Iowa City was a logical choice because steamships could travel up the Iowa River to that point. Therefore, the decision was made to make it the capitol, which would require the construction of a building capable of accommodating the office of the governor, the legislature and all other necessary components of the state government.

 The stories cover the people that governed in the early years, the people involved in the design and construction, as well as people that worked to make it an actual governing house. For example, a significant library of books for the time were transported overland so that there would be a variety of reading and reference materials for the government officials. After the state capitol was moved to the more centrally located Des Moines, the nascent University of Iowa began operating in the building. It is also noted that the University of Iowa accepted female students very early in its’ existence.

 None of these stories are those that make you laugh or even chuckle. The book is just a set of short stories that deal with many aspects of the history of what is now the central point in the University of Iowa and a museum.

No comments:

Post a Comment