Iowa Steel and Iron Works
In 1919, Howard Hall started his first company. Together with business partner, John Jay, Howard purchased what would become Iowa Steel and Iron Works. This company had been in existence for 16 years as the Carmody Foundry. The plant produced iron and steel beams used as the structural framework for many buildings in Eastern Iowa. It also manufactured boilers, pulleys, and architectural ironwork.
Iowa Steel and Iron Works was located at 12th Avenue SE and 4th Street SE, in the New Bohemia neighborhood. It eventually encompassed three blocks in the area between where St. Wenceslaus Church and the NewBo City Market now stand.
Along with producing boilers, pulleys, and architectural ironwork, the plant also provided castings and fabricated parts for Howard’s other company, Iowa Manufacturing, which produced rock crushing and road paving equipment. Over time, Iowa Steel and Iron Works gradually became an affiliate of Iowa Manufacturing and supported the boom of interstate building in the 1950s.
After Howard’s death in 1971, Raytheon acquired Iowa Manufacturing and its subsidiary at the time, Iowa Steel and Iron Works. A decade later, the structural steel part of the business closed. By 1984, the remaining iron works section of the business was sold to a member of the management staff before completely closing in 1995.
The former Iowa Steel and Iron Works building was demolished in 2001. The area was eventually redeveloped into mix-use space in the rejuvenated New Bohemia Main Street district. The company that relocated to the former Iowa Steel and Iron Works location, Geonetric, reflects the site’s history through photos of Iowa Steel and Iron Works in their décor.