Old Capitol Title Page

Cupola and Dome

Photos of Old Capitol

Facts, Names, and Faces

House had a Gallery

Craftsmen Create Old Cap Charm

House Chamber Chair 

Rededication 20 Sep 2001

Fire Debris Photos

Workmen Realize Their Part

Fireplace in Territorial Library

Typical Window

Dedication 4 July 1976

Recollections of Cal Knight

Facts, Names, and Faces
Old Capitol Restoration
Iowa's First Capitol
Iowa City, Iowa


 Architects for the interior restoration and remodeling were Donald E. Ferry and E. W. Henderson of Springfield, Illinois.  Ferry and Henderson Architects, Inc. had previously served as architects for
 the restoration of the Illinois Old Capitol at Springfield.

 Architect Harvey W. Henry of Iowa City, Iowa was  retained by the University of Iowa as the Construction Management Consultant for the entire project.  He also served as the architect for exterior restoration work including repairs to stonework and  woodwork of the columns, cupola, and other exterior wood items.  His design work also included specifications for replacement of the copper gutters and the roofing and provision of storm windows.  


Gene Gessner of Iowa City was the Mechanical- Electrical engineer.  His associate, John Staska, was the engineer who attended the weekly progress meetings and observed the work of the mechanical and electrical contractors.




The General contractor was Calvin A. Knight dba Viggo M. Jensen Construction Company of Coralville, Iowa.
Contract Supervisor, Francis Vaughn of Coralville, Iowa
Carpenter Forman, Harold Brender of Iowa City


The Mechanical Contractor was Ira Anderson dba AAA Mechanical Contractors of Coralville, Iowa.


The Sheet Metal Contractor was Thomas Nereim dba Universal Climate Control of Coralville, Iowa.


The Electrical Contractor was Edwin O'Brien dba O'Brien Electric Company of Iowa City, Iowa.


Exterior woodwork restoration was done by Iossi Painting Company of Davenport, Iowa.


 Notes on the Restoration Work:

      Demolition work was started in 1974.  All interior finishes were removed down to the bare stone walls.  The windows were retained.  Restoration work was completed prior to the dedication on July 4, 1976.


     Even though the spiral stair was not a part of the original construction but was built during the restoration of the 1920's, it was decided to retain it during the restoration of the 1970's.  Load tests were made.  Strain gauges were used to measure horizontal and vertical deflection.  Concrete blocks were placed on each stair tread.  There was no indication of measurable movement and the spiral stair was adjudged to be safe and sound.


     The construction workers took meticulous care in accomplishing their work.  Jim Shalla of Kalona  was responsible for the installation of the Balcony stair railings and ballusters.  An examination of his work today shows ample evidence of his skills.  Under the watchful eye and with the assistance of Carpenter Forman, Harold Brender who was himself a finish carpenter, Jim Shalla, Steven Burns, Charles Ruppert, and Don Herrick were responsible for installing the millwork. They were assisted by Dave Busch.


     When one visits the building it may be hard to imagine that the old interior woodwork was completely removed.  All of the woodwork was replaced except for the windows themselves.  The window shutters are a forceful statement of  the work of the master craftsmen who labored  on Old Capitol.   The beaded board ceilings in several areas lend a special beauty to the finished product.  The massive doors and bold black iron hinges and locks are a statement of  rugged beauty. 


Calvin A. Knight age 85 in 2002

Harold Brender in 1975

Harold Brender age 83 in 2002


Charles Ruppert age 89 in 2002

Steve Burns measuring a window 

Steve Burns 2002


Jim Shalla working on a recessed panel that went in back of a window shutter


Jim Shalla's House Balcony Stair

Close-up of Stair


Some of Charles Ruppert's work

Craftsmanship.  What more can be said?


Steve Burns and Dave Busch


Don Herrick trimming out a pair of doors opening to the Senate Chamber


Carpenter Forman, Harold Brender and Contract Supervisor, Francis Vaughn