an brief introduction of Pownalls' house

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an brief introduction of Pownalls' house - How's Your Building IQ? EDITOR'S NOTE: Another...
How's Your Building IQ? EDITOR'S NOTE: Another in a series of pictures snowing toe upper portions - of Important buildings in Iowa City . . . the portions above eye level. Can you name this one? By IRVING WEBER 1. Built* in 1857 by Louis Englert. 2. A three-story house, the basement built of limestone and the upper two floors of frame construction. 3. Three large rooms and a hall-entrance on the first floor, and four bedrooms on the second floor. One of the bedrooms later was divided when a bathroom was installed. 4. The first floor may originally have been two rooms. 5. No fireplaces in the house -- all heating on the t h r e e lloors provided by stoves. 6. The house, built partway up a bluff, originally was directed above a sharp, right- angle bend in the Iowa River. In 1940 the channel of the river was moved several hundred yards to the west by WPA workers, making the bend more gradual. This change eliminated "the island" that long had been a favorite spot for canoeists, picnickers, swimmers and lovers trysts. 7. Louis Englert, builder of the house, was born in Havana (Germany) in 1810 and came to the U.S. in 1842, landing at New Orleans. After a short stay in Cincinnati he came to Iowa City in 1842. He married Clara Kempfar that year. They had nine children. Adelaide Englert, a granddaughter now living at Lantern Park in CoraMlle, remembers visiting her grandparents at the house, and recalls her grandfather as a s m a l l , kindly man. 8. The Rock Island Railroad had reached Iowa City just the year before this house w a s b u i l t . All other commercial transportation to and from Iowa City was by stagecoach a n d this house served as a stop. Passengers loaded and unloaded under the porch at the lower level. The house served as an inn for stage passengers; m e a l s were served and a saloon was part of the establishment. Fred it again but had a large ice storage house there. The house was rented to William J. Hotz (Johnson county clerk), father of Marcella and Jess Hotz. lifelong Iowa Citians, and Albert Hotz, present-day Iowa Citian. 13. The house was sold in March 1916 to George a n Maude Ball. George Ball, an attorney, made a law library out of the area in the basement and Dorothy Pownall, present owners of the house, have the original "SALOON" s i g n , 16 inches wide and eight feet long, mounted on the wall in the basement room that originally was the saloon. 9. The Pownalls also discovered a round stone, three feet in diameter, in the floor of another basement room. When removed t ' h i s proved to be a bricked in tunnel to a cave under the house. 10. According to legend t h e house was a "depot" on Abolitionist John Brown's Underground Railway whereby he transported slaves from t h e south to havens of freedom be"yond Michigan/ 11. Historical sidelight: Louis Englert was Iowa City's first brewer, making six to eight barrels a day in a brass kettle. The brewery was located in the 300 block of Market Street on a lot toi( which he paid $250. He operated the brewery till 1877 when he sold it to his son, John J., and his son-in-law, Frank Rittenmeyer for h a l f price, $6,000; it being w o r t h $12,000. John J. also was in the wood business at this location and in 1881 started the Englert Ice Co. in conjunction. 12. After the deatli of Louis and Clara Englert, their son, John J., purchased the house where the saloon had been, lining the walls with bookshelves. Mrs. Fred (Virginia Ball) Hendershot of North Liberty, daughter of the Balls, recalls h e father bricked up a tunnel that ran to a cave in the yard, for fear of accident to her or her brother, George. 14. At the time the Balls purchased the house and property with it, which included 20 acres, they also purchased 22 acres from Elizabeth Grissell. T h Ball Addition was developed from these 42 acres. 15. In 1928, the Pownalls purchased the house and two acres from the Balls, and they have lived there ever since, 45 years. Their two daughters, Eleanor (Mrs. John Simmons of Iowa City) and Dorothy of Hopewell, N. J. grew up in the house. the house is now modem, it has been kept basically t h same, and retains the original charm of the dwelling built 116 years ago. 16. The vantage point of tins historic house, looking downstream south towards Old Capitol or upstream west towards the Elks Country Club, has enabled its occupants to observe a number of important business operations on the river . . as well as a number of recreational activities associated with the river. 17. Historical sidelight: When the house was built (1857) the Terrell Dam and Mill already were in operation. The d a m (five foot) and the mill, directly below and a little to the south were built in 1843. As previously mentioned the river at t h time came directly to the bluff where the house stands. T h mill continued to do a brisk business until .1881 when a flood washed a new channel around its west edge. 18. Another historical sidelight: The house contained a small refreshment stand when the first Fitzgerald Boathouse was located above the Terrell Dam site. The boathouse was operated by Hugh Fitzgerald, father of Melville and Gerald Fitzgerald and Mrs. Earl (Mary) Gifford, from 1894 to 1906. When :he dam was removed the boat- icuse was moved to a location just north of- where the Iowa Memorial Union is today, and was operated at this location }y Melville Fitzgerald f r o 1906 to 1960 when the university took over. In. addition to renting canoes at the location next to the Memorial Union, Fitzgerald a l s operated launches. On Sundays jefore the advent of cars the punches operated on a regular schedule from the boathouse to lity Park, to this house,, to the country club and to Coralville. 10. Another historical sidelight: During its long and colorful life this house looked up the river to the west and watched the Englert Ice Co. harvest its ice crop each winter. The ice company, s tarted in 1881 John J. Englert and later operated by his sons Clarence J. and John H. was sold in 1954 to W. R, Wicks. ANSWER ·jM.5)S 60S? lie apparently never lived inJMsnoq Hmiu,M|BSH.ia|ito:I

Clipped from
  1. Iowa City Press-Citizen,
  2. 07 Nov 1973, Wed,
  3. Page 35

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  • an brief introduction of Pownalls' house

    tracylucht – 09 Sep 2013

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