When I was growing up there were three major murals in Iowa City that I loved to look at. The one I loved the best was in the children’s story time room at the Iowa City Public Library. The room was windowless in the addition to the original Carnegie of the ICPL. It was painted with children playing and anything that could be up in the air, kites, trees, birds, and ribbons. I really loved the mural and was truly sorry to lose it when the library moved into its new home (same location, but different building that it occupies now).
The second was downtown and had an optic effect where it when back and forth between a pattern of Native Americans and Eagles called the Black Hawk Mural that still has given its name to a small park next door. It was stripped off when the building was gentrified, the bricks blasted back to their original color and the boarded and painted over windows replaced. Recently the uncovering of a small part of the Black Hawk Mural, has shown that many other people also loved this mural.
Press-Citizen article about the rediscovery:
The Iowa City Public Library shared a link to an article about the history of the mural:
Video about the Black Hawk Mural shared by the Iowa City Public Library:
The third mural I loved was in the remains of the City Park Zoo. It showed a group of jungle animals being pushed aside by a bulldozer. It was located on the old ape cages cut from the solid rock of the side of the hill. They used to be open and kids could play in them when I was little (the apes were gone long before I was around). It used to be one of my favorite things to do in the park. A couple of years ago the cage was still there, but a different mural replaced the one I remembered. It was then painted as the city jail and the door was locked. I suspect that it was used at some point as part of a production by the adjacent theater. My most recent visit revealed that even this was no longer visible as a pile of dirt had been dumped in front permanently blocking the door. However, it is still there, if inaccessible, directly behind the Globe Theater sort of replica. Today, it looks like this:
If you haven’t seen it before they did this, this is about the top 2 feet of what used to be at least a 6 feet high mural. It’s been buried in a very high pile of dirt, but I assume the art work (and the cage) are still there underneath.
The fourth major mural I know about in Iowa City was actually inside an older building that was remodeled. It was much newer than the others and it was saved, photographically at least, when the building was knocked down to make way for the addition. You can see it here:
I would dearly love photos of any of these murals in their heyday. If anyone has them, please share.
A new mural has just been unveiled on parkade as described in article about the Black Hawk mural, I’ll try to do a post about it soon.
Sarah S. Uthoff is main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.