The Founding of the University
The University of Iowa was founded on February 25, 1847, 59 days after Iowa became a state. The first faculty offered instruction at the university in March 1855 to students in the Old Mechanics Building, situated where Seashore Hall is now. In September 1855, the student body numbered 124, of which 41 were women. The 1856-57 catalogue listed nine departments offering Ancient Language, Modern Language, Intellectual Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, History, Natural History, Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry.
The original campus was composed of Old Capitol and the 10 acres of land on which it stood. Following the placing of the cornerstone July 4, 1840, the building housed the Fifth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa (December 5, 1842) and then became the first capitol of the State of Iowa (December 28, 1846). Until that date it had been the third capitol of the Territory of Iowa. When the capitol of Iowa was moved to Des Moines in 1857, Old Capitol became the first permanent "home" of the university.