116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A landmark predicting the future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk in Riverside was recently moved one block east, into an alley on the south side of City Hall.
City officials cited an issue with property ownership in the decision to move the landmark.
The monument marks the supposed future birthplace of the lead protagonist of the science fiction Star Trek franchise. A line from the film series notes that Kirk is born in Iowa in the year 2228. This led the Riverside City Council in 1985 to brand the town as the specific future birthplace.
While not technically canon, the town’s reputation is broadly accepted by Star Trek fans, putting it on the map as the annual location of TrekFest the last weekend in June each year, earning a name drop in the series’ 2009 prequel film, and being the basis for visual elements of several other Star Trek stories.
The birthplace marker had been behind a hair salon in downtown Riverside.
“Steve Miller was the one who started the whole ’Birthplace of Captain Kirk’ thing when he was a councilman,” Riverside City Clerk Becky LaRoche said. “That was his property, so that’s where they decided it was going to be … now, he is retired and the property is changing hands, so we no longer could keep it back there.”
Miller said his daughter and son-in-law, who now own the salon on the birthplace’s former lot, wanted to add space for a massage therapist, and that moving the marker would facilitate that goal while improving the tourist attraction’s visibility.
The City Council voted unanimously in April on the new birthplace location, despite initial hesitation.
“It’s not my first choice, but I don’t know what a second choice is,” council member Tom Sexton said at an April 19 meeting, when the council voted on the new location.
The move’s bureaucratic backdrop hasn’t stopped the town from preserving its science fiction lore.
“It was discovered that in order to prevent the Klingons from discovering the accurate location and returning in time to change events that the records depicting the accurate birthplace were altered,” a tongue-in-cheek news release from the Riverside Area Community Club said, a reference to the plot of “Star Trek: The Voyage Home” (1986.) “This was discovered when construction uncovered an old city archive containing documents showing the location of the birth site were altered.”
The Riverside Area Community Club, which owns the Kirk birthplace marker, will foot the bill for its relocation before gifting the landmark to the city government, according to LaRoche, who is a member of the organization.
Although the city won’t cover the relocation cost, the council is considering expenditures to improve handicap access to the new location. LaRoche said the property is ADA-compliant via an entrance from the back of the alley, but that improvements such as a paved walking path would be discussed in the future.