Benjamin F. Shambaugh, professor of political science from 1896 until his death in 1940, was an Iowa native and a University of Iowa graduate. Known around campus as a sharp dresser and the author of The Campus Course: Approaches in Liberal and Cultural Education, Shambaugh had a dedication to the intellectual and artistic that still infuses the home his widow, Bertha, bequeathed to the University in 1953. The Shambaugh House, while a private residence, was host to Amelia Earhart and to Roald Amundson, among others, as part of the University Lecture Series, which Benjamin Shambaugh chaired. After becoming University property, the building at 219 Clinton Street housed the Honors Program. In planning for the new Blank Honors Center in 2001, it was determined the home should be moved to its current location, three blocks to the north. The Shambaugh House now welcomes visitors again as the home of the International Writing Program.
When Shambaugh decided to build his home, he requested a design that was “substantial, but not ostentatious.” Completed at a cost of $1,620, the Queen Anne-style house is notable for its ornamentation, including finial-topped balustrades, Ionic colonettes supporting the front porch, a scallop shell in the front gable, and an elliptical window on what is now the south side. Renovations in the 1940s had obscured or removed much of this decorative work, and cast iron had replaced the front porch colonettes. Before the building was moved to its current location in January 2002, it enjoyed a renovation that restored much of the house to its original state. The attention to woodwork continues inside with fine finishes in the public spaces of the first floor.
The first floor of the building is accessible.