City of University Heights, Iowa
University Heights City Hall | 1004 Melrose Avenue, University Heights (Iowa City) 52246 | 319-337-6900
UH Diamond Jubilee
We would love to hear from current or former UH residents with their memories of town. Please use the contacts listed at the bottom of this page to send your thoughts to include on this page!
Our latest contribution is from Shirley Taylor Nelson, who lived several places in UH, and still owns a home here and visits from her cuurent home city of Seattle.
I have a long history with University Heights! We came into existence the same year.
My parents Mr and Mrs Maurice Eugene Taylor (Gene and Kathryn) lived in a house they rented at 121 Highland Drive. On February 10, I was almost born at home, but Mercy Hospital won by a few minutes. Shortly after that time, we moved to Burlington Street. Wilbur and Betty Schramm were our neighbors, and Wilbur got a lot of exercise chasing the ball down the hill toward Gumps Grocery, after I threw it out of my playpen multiple times. We were very good friends of the Schramm's. I still keep in touch with Mary Schramm. At a later time, we both moved back to University Heights.
My parents bought a couple of homes on the east side during and after World War II, but they never forgot their dream of moving back to University Heights.
When I was in junior high, I knew that I would go to school from our Muscatine Avenue house, but go home to our dream house at 230 Koser Avenue. I think we bought it from Dr. Glles. Our wonderful neighbors on either side were Joe and Mary Jane Noone, and Dean and Velma Stuit. Across the street, at Koser, lived Gladys Manning and Helen Zeller. Barb and Dave Homewood, Bill and Ann Gay, and the present owner, Ann Perino, lived at 235, and I am close friends of all of them. Wonderful, wonderful neighbors.
My dad was the auditor of the Iowa State Bank and Trust Company. He had great respect for Gladys Manning, and with the support of my dad, the Summerwill's and Mr. Guthrie, Gladys also became an officer of the bank. My mother worked in the dormitory housing office at the universtiy, taking great personal responsibility in being sure that every roommate was matched perfectly! Sometimes this outcome was not achieved.
Apparently my dad not get enough number crunching at the bank. He was the University Heights treasurer for as long as I can remember.
I loved going to the Neuzil's for melons. I had my first charge account, as an early teen, at Lawson's grocery store. Henry Lawson and his wife were marvelous people. My first, very short lived business venture was parking cars on on the lawn of 230 Koser Avenue without the permission of my parents. My car parking career lasted one Saturday. Something about the grass, I believe! It seems like everyone knew everyone back then.
I loved to go to "Neuzil's pond" for any reason, and spend a respectable amount of time putting pennies on the train track for the train to smush them! Of course, Mrs. Winders is part of everyone's nostalgic memories. I still remember her on her Harley, keeping us all safe, and the coffers full of fines from those who would disobey the rules!
In summary, my existence began the same University Heights began. It continues today.
I still own the house at 230 Koser, and have lived in it a couple different times after my parents died. I continue to have very close friends in the neighborhood. Though I live in Seattle, I return to Iowa City once or twice a year, usually staying with my dear friend Mary Ann Thomas Sladek Park, at 1201 Benton Street.
As it happens, I flying from my home in Seattle there the day before the Diamond Jubilee. I hope to see old friends in my old 'hood! I love my heritage, and proudly wear my Iowa shirts, and soon to be acquired UHeights Jubilee shirt in Seattle. It is a wonderful way to meet Iowans in the Pacific Northwest!
Our second entry is from June Braverman, long time resident on Koser Ave. This story took place however, when she lived in Grandview Court:
"Our tireless protector and friend, Mrs. Winders cruised the blocks of UH on her awesome Harley bedecked in all the leather, pleather and plastic she came to be known for. From the bottom up glistening white boots to the helmet crowning her head and highlighting her rouged cheeks she was our town marshal, police force and sheriff’s patrol all rolled into one.
"One late afternoon in 1955 I was returning from work and followed back to our Grandview Court apartment from Melrose Ave. by this woman who sternly lectured me on the sin of speeding in UH as she accompanied me to my door. ( I may have been doing the Koser Speedway at 26 miles per hr) I think she was fully prepared to write a ticket as her rhetoric heated up until…I opened the door and she gasped, “My dear, this is really beautiful. Who did your drapes?” Needless to say the ticket was forgotten and a new relationship forged.
"She was an institution in UH, and it is probably thanks to her that our community became famous as the ultimate speed trap. Not all strangers in these parts expected to be hauled to the curb by a grandmother on a Harley."
Our first contribution is from Andy Garvy, currently living in Brandon, Florida. Mr. Garvy was about 10 when his family moved into 205 Golfview Ave. in 1950.
"I have so many memories of growing up in University Heights I am not sure where to begin or if any of my information is significant in the history of University Heights. So here goes, hope you find something helpful.
"I have so many found memories of University Heights from the Iowa football Saturdays to ice skating on Melrose Lake to delivering newspapers in University Heights. My Dad moved us to Iowa City from Chicago in 1945 after he got out of the service having served as a Doctor in the Army for over four years. We originally lived in a house on Friendly Ave. moving to the house on Golfview around 1950.
"At that time everybody knew everybody, Bucky O'Connor, the Iowa basketball coach, lived across the street as did Chic Meade. Lloyd Knowler lived next door and Eric Wilson, the director of sports information for the University of Iowa, lived two doors down. Jim and Irene Baxter lived a block or so away, Bill And Ethel Wick lived across the street on Grand Ave.
"Henry Lawson had the grocery store on the corner, he let me have a charge account as did my best friend Jerry Neuzil. Mr. Lawson was always reminding Jerry and I not to leave our bikes in front of the doors, we thought he was so mean. He also would remind us when our charge accounts got around $2.00 it was time to pay up.
"University Heights was a terrific place as a kid, my folks always left the keys in the car, I never had a key to my house as I don't ever remember the doors being locked.
Summers, we would all end up at the Kennel's house just over the bridge on Melrose to play kick the can, hide and seek and stay out until nine in the evening. I spent a lot of time with Jerry Neuzil at 69 Olive Court, they had all that land and it had a pond on it that we were always playing around. Leamer Court was a field, it is now houses. Jerry and I would go rabbit and squirrel hunting on what is now the University golf course, we would walk down the railroad tracks, jump the fence, and hunt with our dogs Toby and Bonnie. I remeber the Crandic rail car that travelled between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. I thought it was so neat.
"Football Saturday's were exciting as I parked cars on the yard for $1.00 per car and would make $45.00 on a good day. The trains would arrive mid morning from Chicago and the passengers would depart by the Melrose bridge up the stairs to the stadium.
"I remember Mrs. Winders riding her motorcycle around University Heights in uniform, Jerry and I referred to her as "the Sheriff". Ladies on motorcycles were a rare citing in the 50's. She was a nice lady, I mowed her lawn many summers.
"I still have Jerry Neuzil as my best friend, I talk to him regularly and see him frequently. He lives on the East side of Iowa City. I think more than anything else that may sum up my memories of University Heights. I return to Iowa City frequently, I attended the Iowa vs. Arizona football game last September, taking the train in from Coralville was a great nostalgic time.
"I am now 69 years old, attended St. Pat's grade school, graduated from City High in 1958. My sister Mary Beth is two years older, went to St. Pat's and graduated from City High in 1956. I attended Iowa for two years, moved to Tucson at the age of 20 and graduated from the University of Arizona. My business career after graduation took me to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta then Tampa my present home. I have four children three girls and a son. Three of my children live in the Tampa area, my oldest daughter lives in Lexington, Ky.
"I hope I have provided you with some good info, not just my rambling remembering my child hood growing up in University Heights."