The "Refrigerator Boys" of Blue Top Motel , 1991

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Dublin Core


A group of seven University of Iowa students and football players pose for a photograph. The young men wear their football uniforms and grin at the different cameras taking their pictures. Two of the young men kneel while the other five stand behind; the student standing in the middle rests his arms on the shoulders of the kneeling players.

Front row, left to right: Matt Rogers & Jeff Skillet

Back row, left to right: Jon Filoon, Rob Baxley, Mike Saunders, Brian Wise, & John Derby (Wiederrecht-Finke, p. 56).

Larry and Judy (Howe) Smith, owners and managers of the Blue Top Motel, were part of the University of Iowa Town Hawk Program. In this program, they acted as a local family for college students who came from other parts of the country to play on the University football team. Larry and Judy met and befriended football players who would often come to visit the Blue Top Motel. One such cohort became known as the 'Refrigerator Boys.'

Larry and Judy described the following two reasons this particular group of football players were called 'The Refrigerator Boys' in the book "The Blue Top Motel": "We had large magnets made, one for each boy - black enamel, 12 inches square - with the player's name and jersey printed in gold. The magnets were placed on our refrigerator... The 'Refrigerator Boys' also had the habit of holding the refrigerator open while they looked for something to eat" (Wiederrecht-Finke, p. 56).


Marcia Wise


Coralville Public Library. Coralville Digital History Library.





Educational use only, no other permissions given.




Johnson County, Iowa


Marcia Wise, “The "Refrigerator Boys" of Blue Top Motel , 1991,” Coralville Digital History Library, accessed July 14, 2024,

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