History of Old Capitol


May 4, 1839
The site of Iowa City was chosen by Chauncey Swan, John Ronalds and Robert Ralston, three commissioners appointed by the legislature.

November 12, 1839
The contract for the design and construction of the new capitol was awarded to John Francis Rague, the architect who designed the first capitol built in Springfield, Illinois.

July 4, 1840
Robert Lucas, first governor of the territory, officiated at the laying of Old Capitol's cornerstone.

December 5, 1842
The Fifth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa convened in the building-the third capitol of the territory.

December 3, 1846
Ansel Briggs', first governor of the state, was inaugurated in Old Capitol.

December 28, 1846
Iowa became a state in the Union.

February 25, 1847
The University of Iowa was founded in Old Capitol.

January 25, 1857
The State Historical Society of Iowa was founded in Old Capitol.

December 1857
The state capital was moved to Des Moines and Old Capitol became the first permanent building of The University of Iowa.

Old Capitol housed the entire University until 1863, when the University's second building, South Hall, was occupied.

Old Capitol underwent a major remodeling and structural rehabilitation.

July 18, 1970
University President Willard Boyd announced that Old Capitol would be restored as a historic monument.

© 2013 The University of Iowa
Old Capitol Museum
Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development