CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids historian has quickly found a new spot to land after resigning from The History Center last month, according to an announcement Wednesday evening.
Mark Stoffer Hunter, 53, is partnering with Hobart Historic Restoration — a housing and mixed-use development company with a focus on historic preservation — to create a new Cedar Rapids company called History Connect as a subsidiary of the Hobart company.
The company “will specialize in the research and development of historic initiatives, including project management of restoration projects, grant writing and preservation advocacy,” according to a news release.
The company will support “outside developers working to restore historic sites of all budgets and sizes,” according to the news release. History Connect officially begins offering its services on May 28.
Stoffer Hunter was hired at The History Center in 2000 and remained connected with the organization in various capacities up until his most recent role as a research historian. In deciding to resign, he cited pay concerns and wanting to work closer to his family — he relocated to Moline, Ill., along with his wife and young children three years ago and he’s been commuting ever since.
He’s become well-known leading historic tours, presenting, serving on historic preservation boards and organizations, and has been a go-to source when questions of local history emerge for developers, city officials, reporters and others.
His resignation prompted some to seek ways to keep him around, including launching a GoFundMe campaign.
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Hobart, which was founded in 2013, has been active in Kingston Village in Cedar Rapids taking on historic renovations of two late 1800s brick structures at risk of demolition — the Mott Building and Knutson Building, which is now called The Chelsea — and converted them into apartments.
Hobart also completed a new building called The Metropolitan in that area. The company also has projects throughout the region including restoring the Woolen Mill in Amana into Hotel Millwright, due to open in 2020.
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