City Hall Bombing - 1970

Shortly after 9 AM on May 22, 1970, a bomb exploded outside a barred jail window at police headquarters just below the department’s communications center, injuring nine; two seriously.  The blast, heard throughout central Ames, extensively damaged the south side of City Hall, blowing out the barred window and the jail door.  Many neighboring businesses sustained broken windows and structural damage, and a helicopter pilot surveying the scene noted building debris atop the Sheldon-Munn Hotel and several other buildings in the central district.  No arrests were ever made.  A number of months later, a suspect in the case accidentally blew himself up in a failed bombing attempt in the state of Minnesota.


Wayne Moore, vice president for business and finance, yesterday morning contacted city officials to offer any University aid which might be needed by the city following the bombing of city hall.  Facilities at the University hospital, use of vehicles, communications systems and other services were offered to the city, Moore said.  Also, maintenance and security personnel were made available to aid with construction and clean-up and help the city police.

Moore said city officials did not ask for “any significant assistance” from the University. “The number of injuries was small so that it did not overcrowd the facilities at Mary Greeley, and the University hospital did not need to be used,” Moore said.

A highway patrol communications system unit arrived at city hall about 11:30 a.m. to aid police and other city officials, so University radios and telephones were not used.  Pres. Robert Parks had left at 8 a.m. yesterday for a day-long meeting in Omaha, but cut his visit short by about two hours to return to Ames.  Parks was notified of the bombing incident when his plane touched down at the Omaha airport.  After returning to Ames Parks contacted local officials to find out what had happened and what assistance the University could offer.

In other developments following the bombing incident, Campus Security Chief Fred Tonne declined to comment on what type of additional security measures the campus police might employ.  He refused to say if additional personnel had been requested from the Ames police or the Iowa Highway Patrol. “We’re not putting out any information whatsoever on this,” Tonne said yesterday afternoon.  “We don’t need any publicity on this at all.”


Ames Daily Tribune, May 23, 1970

An open forum on "current community problems" will be held on radio station KASI-AM and FM, beginning 2 p.m. Sunday.  Fielding the questions and comments telephoned in by listeners will be a panel composed of Mayor Stuart Smith; City Manager J. R. Castner; Carl Hamilton, ISU vice-president for information and development; Wayne Moore, ISU vice-president for business and finance; Wilbur Layton, vice president for student affairs, and Joseph R. Coupal Jr., Iowa director of highways.

A planned peace rally, originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon has been called off, acording to Layton.  "The students involved felt it best at this time to cancel the event," Layton said.

"No rock festival had been approved at Iowa State this weekend, and none will be held," Layton said, referring to an event proposed by some students.  It was to be attended by college and high school students for Ames and other Areas.