By Margaret N. Keyes
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Extra resources for Old Capitol: Portrait of an Iowa Landmark (Bur Oak Original)
At the same time, the west side of the first-floor hall became a room used as an armory. The University library, too, was bursting at the proverbial seams. In 1878, 8,500 books were housed in the room in the old Senate chamber that was just forty-two feet by twenty-seven feet. The board of regents approved "fitting up" the north end of the first floor of the capitol, creating a library on the west side of the hall and a reading room on the east. Major changes in the early 1880s saw the University library move again from the north end on the first floor of Old Capitol to the second-floor chapel room of North Hall.
The former cabinet room became a lecture room for advanced law, and the first-floor rooms vacated by the Natural Science Department became recitation rooms. One Old Capitol room, the first-floor room to the left of the east entrance and adjacent to the president's office, served a surprising usethat of a gymnasium! This is recorded in two different Page 31 sources, the minutes of the board of trustees and the memoirs of a former University student as reported in the Iowa Alumnus. " But most frequently the space was described as a recitation or law classroom until 1900.
Without the interest and cooperation of all levels of the central administration of the University of Iowa, the restoration could not have been undertaken. I especially appreciate the support and encouragement of Floy Eugenia Whitehead and Sara C. Wolfson, both former chairs of the Department of Home Economics, who made my leaves-of-absence possible. Darrell D. Wyrick, president of the University of Iowa Foundation, and his fellow directors were untiring in their efforts to secure more than half the funding for the 1970s restoration, and they have continued to supply support and advice.
Old Capitol: Portrait of an Iowa Landmark (Bur Oak Original) by Margaret N. Keyes