The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Original Emma Goldman Clinic building considered for historic landmark designation

Iowa City City Council will vote later this month if the original clinic location will be recognized.
Emily Nyberg
The original Emma Goldman Clinic location at 715 North Dodge St. is seen in Iowa City on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023.

The Emma Goldman Clinic has been a staple of the Iowa City community for over 50 years. The clinic, among the oldest in the nation, has been a health care provider for the past half a century and consistently advocates for reproductive rights.

The clinic has been the subject of multiple protests because of its abortion services — at one point even culminating in a firebombing of the original clinic location in the 1970s.

The firebombing occurred at the clinic’s original location of 715 N. Dodge St. — now a private residence — and only caused minor damage at the time. The building is now under consideration by the City of Iowa City to be designated as a historic landmark.

The Iowa City City Council unanimously approved a motion Sept. 5 to set a public hearing for Sept. 19 to further discuss the landmark designation.

According to documents from the city’s historic preservation committee, historic landmarks are buildings that are “individually significant” for architectural or cultural reasons. Buildings that receive this designation are then typically placed on the National Register of Historic Places or are at least eligible for this placement.

City documents note that current homeowners Benton McCune and Jennifer Glanville, a University of Iowa professor in sociology and criminology, support the plan.

Iowa City Planner Anne Russett said at a planning and zoning commission meeting Aug. 16 that the building already exists in a historic district and that the designation would highlight the building’s history, especially relating to the mid-‘70s health care movement of women.

“The purpose of this landmark designation is to really share the story of feminist healthcare and history of the Emma Goldman Clinic, and they are going to be celebrating a 50th anniversary this year,” Russett said.

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City residents, most from the Northside neighborhood where the house is located, support of making the building a historic landmark, including former chair of the historic preservation commission Kevin Boyd.

“It’s an opportunity to add a nuclei within the story — the story of these founders — who 50 years ago, this month, were preparing to open the enrollment to shift the power dynamic in health care,” Boyd said.

Susan Shullaw, a member of the Northside Neighborhood Association steering committee, also spoke in support of the plan.

“It’s hugely important just to remind everyone that there are other points of view, and there are other kinds of values and that’s what we represent here in terms of openness, and then all rights of all peoples,” Shullaw said. “Women, in particular, have worked hard to make their voices heard, and their rights respected when it comes to bodily autonomy.”

Jim Throgmorton, formerly a mayor of Iowa City and currently a co-chair of the association also attended the meeting to voice his support.

“I’ve lived in the Northside Neighborhood for 28 years … I’ve never had any idea that the Emma Goldman Clinic started in that particular building,” Throgmorton said. “It was a real treat to learn about it and discover that these young women got together back then to create this clinic and to do what they did.”

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About the Contributors
Alejandro Rojas
Alejandro Rojas, News Editor
Alejandro Rojas is The Daily Iowan's news editor. He previously worked as a news reporter covering Johnson County and was the summer executive editor in 2023. He is a senior, double majoring in journalism and political science.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.