Historic Iowa Postcards

Grinnell College Libraries' Historic Iowa Postcard Collection. A collection of postcards from 1900 through the middle of the 20th century, covering all parts of Iowa.

Looking north from Third Avenue at park and church. 1906 postmark.

Embossed card with purple iris flower. 1906 postmark.

Looking northwest at Blair Hall. Constructed in 1882-1886 at a cost of $37,200 Blair Hall housed college chapel, departments of chemistry, natural science, mathematics, and physics. It was razed in 1961. 1906 postmark.

Looking northeast. Mears Cottage was constructed in 1888, costing $14,719. Originally served as a ladies dormitory. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 1906 postmark.

Looking southeast from Park Street. Constructed in 1907 at a cost of approx. $20,000, Herrick Chapel was designed to house the college's religious services and to serve as a general purpose large auditorium which seats 700. Notice the large stained glass window is not yet in place. The Christian Associations Building (Steiner Hall) is in the background. 1906 postmark.

Looking northeast from Fourth Avenue. The first Grinnell high school was built in 1904. An addition that expanded the building to include junior high students was completed in 1921. 1906 postmark. Title supplied by cataloger. It now houses the Grinnell Community Center.

Looking at street trolley #197 arriving at the Highland Park College campus which was established in 1889 and operated under that name until 1918, when the Baptist church bought it and renamed it Des Moines University. The school had some 40,000 students and 1,000 pharmacy graduates in its first twenty-five years. After some unrest, the school closed in September 1929, and the buildings remained empty until 1943, when Alfred W. Lawson of Detroit bought the property and founded the Des Moines University of Lawsonomy ("the study of everything"). The university closed in 1954 and the Park Fair Shopping Mall is on the site today at Second Avenue and Euclid Avenue. 1906 postmark. Number 1761.

Pearson-Ullberg Co., Minneapolis, [Minn.]
Looking at several hotels in Colfax, Iowa, including the Mason House, the Centropolis, the Old Monte Colfax, The Grand and the Victoria Sanitarium. Colfax is known, far and near, as "Spring City," owing to its numerous mineral springs, which are of great, medicinal virtue in the treatment of many diseases. Its large hotels call thousands here annually, for both pleasure and health. 1906 postmark.

A "rainbow parade" on Main Street with a Modern Woodmen Forester drill team marching in formation. "Humboldt M.W.A. team at Clarion." --t.p. Modern Woodmen of America was founded by Joseph Cullen Root on January 5, 1883, in Lyons, Iowa. He wanted to create an organization that would protect families following the death of a breadwinner. The drill teams became nationally known for events held from 1890 to the late 1930s, and the Foresters were even honored by Herbert Hoover at the White House. Because each group was differentiated by a different style and color of the uniform, their demonstrations were referred to as "Rainbow Parades." The Rainbow Parades were hosted by cities across the United States and included 10,000 units of Foresters, with more than 160,000 men participating. 1906 postmark.

This two story brick building and other out buildings were constructed by the government in the late 1890's at the resistance of the Meskwaki people. The Meskwaki people wanted to educate their children as they pleased and most did not allow their children to attend. 1906 postmark.

Looking northwest at back view of Goodnow Hall with Blair Hall in foreground. 1906 postmark. Number 133.

Looking at the southeast corner of the penitentiary, built in Romanesque, Gothic Revival. The institution was established in 1872. It is Iowa's largest prison. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 1906 postmark. Number 349.

Looking north at the Main II building built in 1890 at a cost of $50,000 after the Main I building burned down in 1889. Fire destroyed Main II in 1942 and would not be completely rebuilt until 1952. Main III is located at 700 College Drive, Decorah, Winneshiek County, Iowa. 1906 postmark.

Looking north on Main Street with what appears to be a farmer and wagon on the left and a possible stagecoach on the right. There is a grain and coal store on the left and a restaurant in the right background. 1906 postmark. Title supplied by cataloger.

Miller, H.B., Marshalltown, Iowa
Looking west at Boston Ice Cream Parlor and IOOF building. 1906 postmark. Number 114.

Man standing in front of the Old Settler's Pavillion. Many bands have played here. 1906 postmark.

Whitaker’s Pier, across the street from the Lake Shore Hotel, was one of the most ambitious yet short-lived entertainment facilities that were built in 1890 by Issac Whitaker. It contained band stands at each end & a bowling alley in the lower level. After several winters of ice damage, it was torn down in 1894, earning the structure name “Whitaker’s Folly”. 1906 postmark.

Looking at a bridge on the Des Moines River from Birdland Drive on the west end of Birdland Park. Prior to its acquisition around 1924 as a public park, Birdland Park was known as the Bird tract, after the family who owned it. It is located north of downtown Des Moines within the boundaries of the Union Park Neighborhood. Located at 2100 Saylor Road, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. 1906 postmark. Number 7.

Twelfth Street with bakery, law offices and meat market on the left. 1906 postmark.