News

Postcards commemorate Cedar Rapids history, preservation

Project focuses on success saving old buildings from demolition

The Sokol Gymnasium building on Third Street SE in Cedar Rapids, seen in March 2014, is among the structures featured in a new series of historic postcards focused on the city’s preservation efforts. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The Sokol Gymnasium building on Third Street SE in Cedar Rapids, seen in March 2014, is among the structures featured in a new series of historic postcards focused on the city’s preservation efforts. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A new series of historic postcards celebrates Cedar Rapids’ past with proceeds going to historic preservation.

Titled “Preserving Our History,” the collection features 12 properties that have been saved in Cedar Rapids, as well as the date built, a brief history, current use and city involvement. The front has an old photograph, while the back has a current image of the structure.

“While we’ve lost some historic structures in the community, this is about recognizing a number of historic buildings and properties we’ve saved,” said Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids city manager.

The postcards come at a time when historic preservation advocates are trying to index and create awareness about historic properties before they become at risk for demolition or redevelopment as many others have over the years.

Pomeranz said the postcard idea was inspired by people dropping off Cedar Rapids postcards featuring “community success stories,” and they decided to focus on success saving old structures. The postcards were designed and produced by city staff, he said.

Pictures featured come from various collections.

“It’s a positive thing, showcasing the success of the community with historic preservation and hopefully inspiring other successes,” Pomeranz said.

The postcards are available for sale in the treasurer’s office in City Hall, 101 First St. SE, and are expected to be distributed through Friends of Historic Preservation and Save CR Heritage.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

They are being sold in packs of 12 for $10, with proceeds going to historic preservation efforts. They also are available at the Czech Village-New Bohemia District office at 1107 Third St. SE.

The first batch has limited production.

One card displays a 1909 photo of the Rowell Hardware Building at 120 Third Ave. SW. Today the building hosts Dash Coffee Roasters.

“Rowell was a very innovative structure when it was first built because it was designed to be an indestructible building,” the card states. “Rowell Hardware company, a hardware store that stocked items such as dynamite, utilized this heavy duty, fireproof retail store building until the 1930s.”

The building was renovated in 2017 with help from the city’s historic preservation tax incentive program.

Smulekoff’s Furniture Store, Ausadie Apartments, Cedar Rapids Milk Condensing Co. and Sokol Gymnasium are among the other structures featured.

“They are beautiful,” said Abby Huff, executive director of the Czech Village/NewBo District. “It is definitely drawing awareness to Cedar Rapids preservation.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.