Community

Historic preservation demonstration planned before Bever Building demolitions

Above the front door of the Bever building it reads
Above the front door of the Bever building it reads "Bever Bvilding" at 417 First Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Decrying “subsidizing the demolition of our city’s heritage,” historic preservation advocates are planning a demonstration Monday afternoon in front of the Bever Building, 417 First Ave. SE, before the 1923-built structure is demolished.

This is the latest in a series of demolitions or scheduled demolitions of historic properties, including a former Sinclair gas station structure in the Automobile Row District and an early mansion to make way for a parking lot for a Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa expansion, according to Save CR Heritage, the group organizing the event.

In many cases, public tax incentives are supporting the new developments that are triggering the demolitions.

“We believe that needs to change, beginning with incentives offered for historic preservation,” Save CR Heritage said in a news release.

The gathering is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday and will serve as a recognition of the Bever Building. The building has ties to the Bever family, who were influential in Cedar Rapids’ early history.

The public is welcome to attend and bring signs to show their support, according to the news release.

The Bever Building, along with the former homes of Albert Auto Service and Sub City, is slated to be razed to make way for an $11 million, three-story headquarters for Skogman Co. A demolition date has not been announced.

The building was named for the Bever & Co. investment firm, according to Save CR Heritage.

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“Steeped in family and Cedar Rapids history, the Bever Building was constructed to last, with reinforced concrete, front brick with Bedford-cut stone trim, marble in the main hall and stairway, and rooms trimmed in mahogany,” according to the news release.

The loss of the building, and the neighboring Faulkes Building and service station, prompted the State Historic Preservation Office to advise this will “weaken this end of the Downtown Historic District,” according to Save CR Heritage.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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