Iowa State Memorial Union

History Timeline

 1919: Concept for a memorial at Iowa State discussed & planned.

 1920: Project launched - to be privately funded; donation pledging began in June with campus rallies.

 1922: Organization is incorporated as a non-profit under Iowa law.

 1925: Pledges reach one million dollars.

 1926: Site selected near Lake LaVerne; Architects Proudfoot, Rawson, Souers draw plans.

 1927: Mortgage obtained; groundbroken on April 26; construction started by Arthur Neumann, Des Moines contractor.

 1928: Opens September 23; Iowa State enrollment 4000.

 1929: Construction complete in January.  (North entrance pictured above).  Stock market crash slows pledge payments.

1936-37 Elevator installed; fourth & fifth floors completed.

1939: The first south addition began, with aid of student fees; housed South Ballroom, more space in the Commons and six bowling lanes. 

1943: Stained glass windows installed in Gold Star Hall.

1948-49 The second addition began with construction of a multi-story wing in the southeast corner; houses a dish room adjoining the main kitchen and meeting rooms on upper floors; third addition also began – a south terrace houses eight more bowling lanes.

1950-53: The fourth addition began with construction of northwest wing and west terraces; included air conditioning for the first time.

1955: Completion of Browsing Library and Chapel directly under Gold Star Hall.

1957-58: Fifth addition begins, covering the south terrace, providing space for the Book Store with the Sun Room above it.

1964-65: Sixth addition begins - Northeast wing; Pioneer Room and meetings rooms, Cardinal and Campanile Rooms, student office space, craft center.

1966-67: Seventh addition: parking ramp to the east of the building.

1972-74: Eighth addition begins: first phase of southeast wing construction, connecting parking ramp to building.

1977-78: Ninth addition begins: second phase of southeast wing construction.

1984: Names of Iowa Staters who perished in World War II, Korea and Vietnam are engraved in walls of Gold Star Hall.

1992: Extensive renovation of University Book Store occurs.

1995-96: Extensive first floor renovation for changeover of the cafeteria to a Food Court, and updated main kitchen, as well as student offices north of the main hallway; tenth addition is a utilities unit on the north/courtyard side of the southeast addition.

2003: The corporation is dissolved, allowing the Memorial Union to become a department of the University.

2006-08: Construction of the eleventh addition to the building (the third south addition) houses expanded book store space, the MU Market & Café and the Soults Family Visitor Center; also includes extensive renovation to the second floor, including restoration of the Great Hall and South Ballroom, relocation of the Main Desk and establishment of the Multicultural Center.

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