Preserving history in Cedar Rapids

The first homesteaders who arrived in Cedar Rapids didn’t have much. They built humble homes and tilled large, fertile acres of farmland beside the Cedar River. Gradually, the number of these small houses increased, people opened general stores and sold goods and services. By the later part of the 19th century, it was a booming agricultural and industrial city that attracted immigrants from all over the world.


Needless to say, the humble homesteads that once dotted the plains gave way to far more majestic buildings. The Brucemore mansion, George B. Douglas House, Granger House and numerous other grand examples became part of Cedar Rapids’ architectural heritage.

While there are the famous buildings many of us know about, there are numerous historic treasures that are not as well known. Too often, these historic properties are neglected or even razed to make room for new construction. However, a group of impassioned citizens are hoping to put an end to this.

Renovating history

The organization Save CR Heritage was formed by a group of residents who were alarmed when the city’s oldest church, the 1875-era People’s Church, was demolished to make way for a new office building. This and other proposed demolitions became a call to action, and Save CR Heritage is now working to save historic homes, both commercial and residential, from the wrecking ball. 

And it’s not just landmark buildings they want to save.

Take for instance their latest project, the restoration of the late 19th-century house known as “Frankie House.” As beautiful and charming as this house was, it needed some work. So, with the help of several organizations, including AmeriCorps, volunteers and workers installed new electricity, heating, plumbing and restored the gable trim and interior woodwork.

If you’re wondering how far they’ll go to save a historic home, with the Frankie House, they physically moved the house from its original location to a new lot.

That’s dedication, but it’s worth it. There’s no doubt that renovated, historic buildings add a great deal of charm to a neighborhood and make an area more desirable. In turn, this increases the quality of life in the city.

If you want to know more about historic renovations or great properties you could move into, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They know all about the wonderful and exciting things happening in the Cedar Rapids housing market.

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