The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 31, 1975 · Page 24
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August 31, 1975

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 24

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Des Moines, Iowa
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Sunday, August 31, 1975
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Page 24
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Recall pre-World War I D.M. improvement campaign : 1 DBS MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER • Amst 31, W§ /JC By GEORGE MILLS The monument commemorating U.S. Senitor William Allison of Dubuque (in center of photo) is awkwardly located in relation to the tall Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument, which many people expected to be relocated at one time. ' Iowa historian George Mills is a retired Register reporter. Inner Des Moines would look better today if a Civic Center Commission of 62 years ago had achieved its goals. The commission in 1913 recommended building a boulevard more than 200 feet wide .leading up East Locust Street from the • Des Moines River to the Statehouse. Such a boulevard would have given the city "a magnificent approach" to;the state capital, a contemporary newspaper account said. At the same time the commission proposed building a museum and art gallery on the river bank between Locust and Walnut streets. That municipal improvement campaign of the pre- World War I era is being recalled now that the city is well along on an $11 million theater-plaza project for downtown Des Moines. Plans call for locating the theater- plaza on two square blocks west of the river, between Second Avenue and Fourth Street and Locust and Walnut streets. Clear arta Though the boulevard and museum-art gallery did not materialize in the years after 1913, probably the greatest single "face-lifting" success in Des Moines history did take place in that period. The 1913 Iowa Legislature voted the money to clear away some 20 blocks of buildings surrounding and pressing up against the Statehouse. Gov. George W. Clarke said that program would give Iowa "the most beautiful capitol grounds, in the world," not even excepting the grounds around the nation's capitol in Washington. The Iowa grounds were expanded from 11 acres to 93 acres and were turned into a park that was and is a matter of considerable state pride. The 1913 boulevard plan called for condemning all the property on either the north side or south side of East Locust Street to the alley and building a wide thoroughfare from the river to capitol hill, at considerable cost. State authorities and the city parks department liked the boulevard idea and offered to help. But the Civic Center Commission headed by Len Harbach soon realized that sufficient money would be hard to come by. The city was in no position to finance condemnation of the properties along East Locust and the project had to be abandoned. The museum-art gallery on the riverfront was to have cost 1300,000, probably equivalent to f2 million or more at 1975 prices. The building was to have been placed "where it will be of the best advantage to the beautifying of the capitol grounds approach." But the museum-gallery never materialized either. Ltff $600,000 The hope was that an unnamed philanthropist would finance both projects. The philanthropist, who may have been J. D.Edmundsont a wealthy banker, reportedly even made afl ocean voyage to study European architecture preparatory to building the museum-gallery. But he let it be known that he did not want to proceed right then. When Edmundson died in 1933, he left $600,000 to help pay for building the Des Moines Art Center in Greenwood Park. The groups promoting both the 1913 and 1975 improvement projects had similar names. Heading the 1913 drive was the Civic Center Commission and heading the 1975 campaign is the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. Before the 1913 expansion of the capitol grounds, the Statehouse was located in a rather junky east-side neighborhood. The much smaller Statehouse grounds then extended only from Walnut Street to Grand Avenue and from East Ninth to East Eleventh streets. East Eleventh ran right-by the-bottom-of-the east steps of the Capitol. The state bought up sufficient property to expand the 11 acres of grounds to 93 acres. Included in that total was 26 acres of streets and alleys donated by the City of Des Moines. Another expansion program in the 1960s increased the area of the capitol complex to more than 130 acres. A statewide row developed over the early grounds expansion, in large part because the cost was to be paid by a statewide property tax levy. The Legislature voted a one-half mill tax for each of the first two years, ,lesser levies for the next eight years. Opponents unsuccessfully fought the expansion in the courts. One foe even ran for governor on the issue but lost in the primary. The people evidently liked the idea of a better setting for their state capitol. 300 properties The state had to acquire some 300 properties for the grounds expansion and apparently got all the needed territory for under $1 million. From all reports, the area around the Statehouse presented an unkempt appearance in the pre-expansion days. There was a rooming house next door to the Soldiers and Sailors monument. Iowa Atty. Gen. George Cosson told of "old shanties wjth broken windows, billboards directly in front of the capitol advertising beer and underwear, tumbledown outbuildings, unkept yards, closets (privies) with the doors left open, unpainted shacks ont and two stories with decayed foundations, discarded clothing doing the service of window panes." Cosson's comments were included in his successful defense of the grounds expansion law in the courts. He also included in his printed argument photographs show* ing unsightly conditions around the Statehouse. People traveled almost ex- ACCMUMMTIONS FOR AIAIQI FAMILY REPRESINTATIVIS: • JERRY MASON IMOV.Mfctt Storm UM, towi M5M M.7U-7U-19M • ELMER RAMAEKERS Hiriy. kw» 50MS Ph.51VJ3M101 • EDGAR BAILS 30llUMP*nor*m« P«nor*. fewt 50216 SACCITV,IOWAS09l3-m.7ia-t*a-45*7 Sf NO KM WTAUf ON — NOMfIA AMftFMfNFf:.. f" NAME. ADDRESS.. CIFY., STATE.., PHONE. ..ZIP.. clusively on trains in those days. There was a lot of worry about how the Statehouse and its setting looked to travelers entering and leaving Des Moines. One estimate placed the number of passengers passing by on the Rock Island tracks south of the capitol at one million a month. Now there are none. Allison monument The monument com* memorating U.S. Sen. William Allison of Dubuque also was built and dedicated near the Statehouse in the pre- World War I period. That monument is located south of the capitol, directly Out of the building's south entrance. Its location is awkward in relation to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument which is located immediately to the west. The Allison promoters realized that placing their monument so close to the Civil War monument was a strange business. But they, and a lot of other people, expected the Civil War monument to be relocated. Iowa Civil War veterans never had wanted the Soldiers and Sailors monument placed where it was. "Over-shadowed by the Statehouse," they said. At one point state authorities had come to an agreement to move the Soldiers and Sailors monument to a new location on East Twelfth Street, straight east of the east entrance of the Statehouse. Nothing was done in the ensuing years. Then the 1917 Legislature enacted a law permanently fixing the location of the Civil War monument where it is. The Legislature voted against moving it because relocation "might result in great damage to said monument." That legislature also gave the state executive council power to move the Allison monument if any moving was to be done. That power never was used and the two monuments continue as awkward neighbors to this day. Allison served 43 years in Congress, eight in the House and thirty-five in the Senate, far longer than any other Iowa congressman. He was an influential senator" for more than a generation and was twice a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. A look at Grinnell College's 1975 Yreshpersons' By GENE RAFFENSPERGER irWl wrfttr GRINNELL, IA. - Some random thoughts while watching Gririnell College's S75 or so freshmen arrive on campus for'the start of a new academic year; Hazing is a long dead part of college life. Freshmen don't wear beanies, for example. But if beanies are gone, the new language of the '70s lies in wait as a subtle form of hazing. This year's Grinnell class is referred to in one, official publication as "freshpenoM." Siren song The old siren song of college is apparently gone. It's a rare "freshperson" these days who shows up on campus looking forward to the first cigarette and first bottle of beer taken comfortably out of range of parents. Eighteen-year-olds legally drink beer as high school seniors nowadays. Besides, Grinnell's liberal policy on beer, shared now by almost every college and university in the nation, permits legal-age students to drink beer in their rooms. This policy lays to rest the old joke about the student who arrived at college a few years ago and after his folks drove off the student ran down the hall seeking information about where he could buy a beer. Answer: Check your roommate, he's probably got some. No separate dorms ' The other obvious change in college life these days is that men and women students are no longer housed in separate dormitories, a fact that still comes as a jolt to some parents but is accepted matter-of-factly by the students. There seems to be an absence of the old carefree college outlook and an emphasis on getting with the business of. graduating and heading; for graduate school, witr medical and law school leading the choices. Unlike their older brothers and sisters of the '60s, these freshmen do not come armed with what some have called "the politics of confrontation." War, Waff rf ate over The Vietnam war is over. Watergate is slipping from view, and the feeling one is left with is a "freshperson" class with a shaken confidence in the American way but with no clear focus on how to attack or correct it. Finally, one tempers any judgment made here with the knowledge that in looking at Grinnell, one is not looking at a "typical" campus. The majority of these "fresh- persons" are from out of state. In the main they represent affluence and superior academic background, and they are attending a prestigious and expensive private school where academic excellence is a way of life and football players take chemistry and advanced mathematics. Grinnell's president, A. Richard Turner, whose genial manner and bearded face make you think he was sent out to this job by central casting, recognizes that although his new crop of "freshpersons" is more mature physically and better prepared academically than ever before, they nonetheless are 18-year-olds and not nec- essarily any more emotionally mature than other such classes. 'Intense competition' "There is an intense competition now for graduate school," says Turner. "These young people are going to work very hard. I just worry that maybe they are not having as much fun as they should in college." This does not surface as a major concern of several students interviewed here, but the concentration on academics does show. Timothy Caver, 17, (he'll be 18 next month) of Itasca, III, confessed he was slightly bewildered by the first-day activities at Grinnell but he added, "I'm not at all frightened. If I'm worried about anything right now it is the academics." Said Caver: "My Dad said that I should try to meet as many people as possible, be friendly and get as much out of it as I can because these will be the best times of my life." Grinnell President Turner says he doubts this class will be pulled together by what he called an external focus — the Vietnam war. "That gave them a mission and a cause," said Turner of college students in general. Looking inward "We're out of that now and the focus has become much more internal. There is a looking inward and a concern of one's own community. "I sense there is a shaken confidence in leadership and national institutions and the kids are not so sure that things really can work." Of the general change in campus attitudes and the change in the way of life on campuses, Turner said: "It's easy as hell to hate a war 12,000 miles away. It's hard as hell to make a moral judgment on the girl down the hall." YOUR HOME-BUILD AND IMPROVE m e«t 4$ih sinti. N.* Yon,. N.V. 1001 ? Q]Eneloied!iSt.25eiehfor Sludyprinti of Moult Dtiign No. 8034 I—I EncloMd ii $1.00 (or John D. Bloodjood booklet I I"20 HOUM Deiignt, 20 Horn* Improvement Idfll" CITY .(TAU»tlP_ Do not wnd cnh. Mikt ehtck or money order piytble to'Your Home Plini' ___,..»_ _«..__. ncAU mmf AH iNronMnTioH- HOME has 1,287.2 square feet; 48 feet by 25 feet, 10 inches deep. I ••' HOUSE DESIGN S034: For a small three-bedroom home, this house has lots of living space. Living-dining areas are combined. The kitchen has a breakfast corner. Lower level provides recreation room, den that can double as bedroom, lavatory, laundry, garage, storage area. INTRODUCING . . * NOTE: Special Cushioned "Achilles Collar" and Padded Top Line. \\ SPECS " FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DES MOINES! Open Labor Day SEPT. 1st 10:00 tO 5:00 Style Nos. Big Boys' Girls' & Men's Sizes Not All Colors In Every Size * 12.97 to $ 14.97 Better Known Brands, Comparably Constructed, Cost Over $20.00. Ml08: Leather and Nylon, used together, form the upper. All points of stress are leather covered and/or reinforced — Heel counter, toe and cap, vamp and around eyelets. Side stripe not only adds to the good looks, but ties the front of the shoe to the back for added strength. Upper is set on a "Flying Wedge" cushioned mid-sole. Unique out-sole gives positive traction for both forward and backward motion. THIS SPECTACULAR SHOE MERITS A SPECIAL SHOWING ... I SEE OUR COMPLETE LINE OF CASUALS LABOR DAY 10:00 to 5;00l Exclusively at — FAMOUS FOOTWEAR 4353 Merle Hay Road '/2 Mile So. of 1-80 ) \

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