Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

Memorial Union, 1953

Memorial Union, 1953


Memorial Union, 1953


This 1953 photograph shows the entire west side and terrace of the Memorial Union from street level. In it are easily seen many of the Union's unique architectural details including the pediments over the windows and in the roofline, balustrades, chimneys and balconies. Several cars are parked along the curved street, and two people are walking towards the street level entrance. The hill to the left is bare and un-landscaped, and a temporary barrier runs along its foot to keep dirt from spilling onto the sidewalk.
Designed by Proudfoot, Rawson, and Souers, the Memorial Union was constructed in 1927-1928 by Arthur H. Neumann and Company. Built as a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War I, the original construction included the main 5 story section, Gold Star Hall, and the Great Hall. By 1938, more space was desperately needed, and the south wing was built. The addition enlarged the dance space, increased the commons area, and included a bowling alley in the basement. An extension of the south wing and addition to the southeast corner was completed in 1948. Construction on the northwest corner started 1950, and included the west terrace, chapel, and browsing library. The bookstore and Sun Room were built in 1957-1958. The northeast section was built in 1964. This involved the Campanile Room, Regency Room, and Cardinal Room on the first floor, and the Pioneer Room on the second floor, and student office spaces on the ground floor. A southeast expansion for the bookstore and food production area was completed in 1973, and two additional floors were built on the southeast wing in 1978-1979. A ground floor renovation in 1995-1996, created the present day Food Court. The Union was again renovated in 2006-2008 which included the improvement of the facade facing Lincoln Way. From its beginning in 1927, the Memorial Union was a nonprofit corporation, independent from Iowa State, and governed by a Board of Directors. In 2003, the corporation was dissolved, allowing the Memorial Union to become part of the University.


Iowa State University




Iowa State University Library Special Collections;




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University Photographs;


11.4 x 9.5 cm


Still Image (grayscale)