Iowa City, the capital of Johnson co., Iowa, and from 1839 to 1857 the seat of the territorial and state government, situated on the left bank of the Iowa river (here navigable by steamboats), 80 m. from its mouth, and on the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific railroad, 130 m. E. of Des Moines; pop. in 1850, 1,250; in 1860, 5,214; in 1870, 5,914. Since the census the city has been enlarged, and the population now (1874) is about 9,000. It is built upon the highest of three plateaus, 150 ft. above the river, and is surrounded, at the distance of a mile, by an amphitheatre of hills. It is the seat of the state university, which has an attendance of 600 students in the academical, law, and medical departments, an extensive laboratory, and a library of 6,500 volumes. The university occupies four buildings, the largest having been erected by the federal government for the territorial capitol. In connection with its medical department is Mercy hospital, with roomy wards and private apartments. (See Iowa.) The county offices and court house are the other principal public buildings. There are several flouring mills in operation, and the river furnishes motive power for various other manufactories.
The city contains two national banks, the state historical society's rooms, with a library of about 3,500 volumes, four ward schools, three academies, a commercial college, a daily and three weekly (one Bohemian) newspapers, a semimonthly periodical (published by the students in the university), and 15 churches.