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Pagliai & Holub Apartments Building Becomes a Local Landmark

A huge thanks to Iowa City Council members who voted to preserve the historic Pagliai & Holub Apartments building on May 21st. It was a unanimous vote! Thanks also to Jordan Sellergren, Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, for taking the charge to see that the Pagliai Building received this local landmark designation. With commitment from preservationists and enthusiastic and enormous support from the community, this historic and handsome building is now protected. Thank you for helping and for believing in preservation.

Will City Council vote in favor of landmarking the Pagliai Building? Five “yes” votes are likely. Two are uncertain. We need at least six “yes” votes to protect the building from future demolition. Please encourage these two council members to vote "yes" by sending them a message:

Mayor Bruce Teague:

Mayor Pro Tem Mazahir Salih:

The thought of losing this handsome, historic building keeps us motivated to save it! Write City Council members and show up at the Council meeting – hope to see you there.

The FINAL VOTE is Tuesday, May 21st at 6PM

Top left: Each brick is unique –
the Pagliai and Holub Apartments Building was built by hand, using locally made bricks. You’t see new buildings constructed like this ever again. The old-growth timber used throughout the building has become a rare, desirable material for its durability (tight growth rings). People now buy this high-quality wood second hand at places like Iowa City’s Salvage Barn.

Top right: The front facade of the Pagliai Building, constructed in 1875. This gem is handsome with great integrity.

Bottom left: In its earliest days, the building was called The National Hall. Joseph Holub was the second owner of the building. Grocery and dry goods stores occupied the commercial space under the awning.

Bottom right: West facing entrance to the Holub Apartments on North Linn Street. The Holub Apartments have 15 affordable apartments. Four of the apartments are the original hotel rooms, rented by farmers who came to town to sell produce in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

40 Years of Historic Preservation Awards
in Iowa City

This video was presented at the Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony on September 28, 2023.

Help Save 302 Bloomington Street


Background: The historic building at 302 East Bloomington Street, known as the home of Pagliai’s Pizza, the Holub Apartments, and Laundromania, has been a key property in Iowa City since 1875. The building is for sale and has been described as ‘perfect for redevelopment’ in the listing. Friends of Historic Preservation supports the effort to designate the building as a local landmark, a zoning designation that will protect it from demolition and provide financial and other incentives for continued use.

Before 1969, a grocery and dry goods store occupied the store front space, where Paglia’s Pizza is now. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the building had a hotel and stable (now the laundromat). The building also had a library, saloon, dining and meeting hall which served as the gathering site for Czech fraternal and social societies. The building helped immigrants adjust to their new country, while they preserved customs and traditions of the old country. You can learn more about the history of the Pagliai’s building (National Hall) at Our Iowa Heritage:


Members’ Discount Day @ The Salvage Barn

On the first Saturday of each month, we will have special discount prices available for members of the Friends of Historic Preservation! Discounts vary from month to month! You can purchase a membership on the day of the sale, for as little as $30 a year, which also gets you access to the Tool Library!

Featured Locations


Sanxay Gilmore House


Built in 1843 at 109 E. Market, the Sanxay-Gilmore House is Iowa City’s oldest house within the original city limits. The University of Iowa purchased the home in 2018. A plan to relocate the house has fallen through and its future is uncertain. 

Carson House, 906 E College St, Frederic

Thomas C. Carson House (Alpha Phi House)


Thomas Carson, a banker and merchant, had this house built in 1875 for $8,000. Carson is said to have arrived New Year's Eve 1855 on the first train to reach Iowa City (Weber, 1992). Carson was president of the Johnson County Savings bank from 1877-1905. This Second Empire style of architecture was popular after the civil war from 1860s-1880s and inspired by the architecture coming out of France during the reign of Napoleon III. The house was built with a fireplace in each of the 14 rooms and a bathroom in every bedroom. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Today the house serves as a home for the Alpha Phi sorority.

📷: Carson House, 906 E College St, Frederick W. Kent Collection, Special Collections, The University of Iowa Libraries


Jefferson Building


The Jefferson Building is located at 129 East Washington Street and was designed by architects H. L. Stevens Co. of Chicago. Built 1913, the Jefferson Hotel's “modern” amenities, such as an electric elevator, an artesian well, telephones, electric lights, and hot and cold running water, made it a premier hotel in Iowa at the time. The Jefferson Hotel opened as a six-story building in 1913. Two more stories were added in the 1920s, bringing it to its current 8-story height.

📷: Busy downtown scene near Racines Cigar Store and Hotel Jefferson Iowa City, Iowa between 1920 and 1925, Frederick W. Kent Collection, Special Collections, The University of Iowa Libraries

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