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1914IMUforweb

1910s

1911

  • Iowa Union forms as club for men of faculty and student body
  • Housed in former Unitarian Church (NE corner of Clinton St. & Iowa Ave.) until 1913

1913-1914

  • Brunswick Bowling Parlor Building (121-123 Iowa Ave.) becomes temporary Union headquarters in Dec. 1913
  • Union membership at 500 males; activities include Friday night dances at Old Armory, concerts, and debates

1914

  • Union moves to St. James Building (SE corner of Clinton St. & Iowa Ave.) in March
  • Costs $3,000 to obtain lease and remodel hotel to house Union
  • Facilities provide dormitory-style room and board with areas to study, relax, and recreate

1916

  • Fire destroys St. James Building in April
  • Union continues to sponsor events in other campus buildings after fire until WWI interupted efforts to obtain a new building

1919

  • President Walter A. Jessup advocates for construction of Student Union on campus as memorial to servicemen who died in World War I
  • Alumni Association forms an Iowa Memorial Union Corporation to raise $1 million for construction

1920s

1920

  • Locations considered for IMU: West bank of Iowa River adjacent to Quadrangle; Center of North Capitol Street; Plot at northwest corner of Jefferson & Madison Streets

1924

  • Construction begins on first unit of IMU

1925

  • Unit I completed: Includes 130'x90' Main Lounge, offices, and snack bar
  • Unit II construction begins: Includes lobby, conference rooms, meeting rooms, space to be leased to Triangle Club, and YMC
  • IMU is one of 16 college union buildings in the US
  • Assumes role of service center, offering Union Dining Service, housing and employment service, general hospitality, meeting facilities, and Union Browsing Library

1926

  • Unit I dedicated on Feb. 6
  • IMU first used as headquarters for freshman Registration Week in Sept.

1927

  • Unit II completed and dedicated in March
  • Union activities include smokers from various colleges, games, tournaments, tea dances, U Band concerts, U Sings, student presidential convention, and homecoming
  • Two units of IMU now in use; Facilities included Main Lounge, a library, WSUI studio, soda fountain and 500' roof deck for summer use

1930s

1930

  • Women first admitted as members of the Student Union Board

1936

  • Silver Shadow, a nonalcoholic nightclub, opens in Union Cafeteria
  • Class of 1935 establishes fund to make Mark Twain room; Pilot wheel arrives for room in 1937, and is put in River Room foyer until 1967

1938

  • IMU transitions to more of a cultural center than student/campus activities center

1940s

1942-43

  • IMU is used by Army Specialized Training Program for feeding and recreation for cadets and trainees during WWII
  • To serve military trainees, Union cafeteria, catering service and Triangle Club dining room all closed to the public until 1944
  • Women begin to be employed by IMU as information desk clerks, waiters
  • Board of Trustees of IMU Corporation gives IMU to University of Iowa

1950s

1950

  • Discussion of construction new facilities begin

1952

  • Danforth Chapel construction completed (dedicated Jan. 1953)

1955

  • Unit III construction completed and open: Adds recreation area, snack bar, office space, student lounge, music, and library rooms

1960s

1962

  • $4.2 million construction project for Units IV, V, VI begins

1964

  • Soapbox Soundoff begins as forum for students to speak their minds about topics such as the Barry Goldwater presidential candidacy, Vietnam War and cost of food in Union Cafeteria
  • Thieves Market first organized to bring together student-produced artwork

1965

  • Virtually new IMU opens with Units IV, V, VI completed in July
  • Unit IV Additions: New main kitchen, River Room cafeteria, State Room, private dining room
  • Unit V Additions: 112-room "Iowa House" Guest House
  • Unit VI Additions: 21 conference/meeting rooms, Second Floor Ballroom, small theater
  • New meeting rooms on Second Floor named in honor of famous Iowans; Rooms on Third Floor named for Big Ten/Ivy League Universities

1967

  • Wheel Room opens as tribute to many types wheeled transportation that have been important in Iowa
  • IMU used as site for student demonstrations, housing Students for a Democratic Society and becoming the site of several arrests

1980s

1988

  • $10.5 million renovation links the additions of 1920 and 1965 on the second and third floors; Project creates Terrace Lobby entrance, improves food service areas, establishes Student Activities Center, and creates University Book Store
  • IMU celebrates 65th Anniversary in October

1989

  • November issue of "American School and University" cites the 1988 IMU renovation as one of six outstanding college union projects

2000s

2005

  • IMU begins construction on Phase I of $24 million renovation project

2008

  • June 13th, the IMU closed due to flooding of the Iowa River
  • November 1st, the first through third floors of the IMU reopened to the public. The ground floor remains closed
Iowa Memorial Union

On the UI Campus
125 North Madison St. (Google Map)
Iowa City, IA 52242
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