Become a part of history
Jan 2020

Become a part of history

Mark Stoffer Hunter addresses the crowd in front of Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services at the start of the Hidden Homes Walking Tour on July 26, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS — As Save CR Heritage looks ahead to 2020, board members also took a look back during the non-profit’s annual strategic planning session on Jan. 26.

Successes during 2019 were many. We held four Museum Meetups, where members and friends of Save CR Heritage joined together to learn about some of the city’s museums and then furthered discussion at local restaurants. The Meetups, which celebrated its anniversary last year, are open to all.

If you missed out, take a look back at our 2019 Museum Meetups:

History Center/Phong Lan

African American Museum/Little Bohemia

Seminole Valley Farm Museum/WWII Remembered

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library/Sykora Bakery

Follow Save CR Heritage on Facebook to learn about upcoming Museum Meetups and other events, including the Feb. 22, 2020 Meetup!

Tour-goers were able to see inside the historic Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services building during the Hidden Homes tour. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

We also held two popular tours in 2019. Our Hidden Homes walking tour in July attracted nearly 150 people, who heard historian Mark Stoffer Hunter describe the homes “hidden” behind storefronts on First Avenue in Cedar Rapids. Tour-goers were able to see inside the historic Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services Building. See the tour recap.

Our School Bus Tour in October highlighted some of the Cedar Rapids elementary schools that are at risk if the School District proceeds with its facilities master plan. Mark Stoffer Hunter discussed the history behind the school buildings to two busloads of attendees, who also were able to tour inside the historic Arthur Elementary School.

A house known as the Churchill home, is demolished in December 2019 in a local historic district in Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

In 2019, we also diligently searched for new “homes” for three houses that are at-risk of demolition; a process that is still ongoing, and called attention to a devastating demolition of a home owned by the city of Cedar Rapids in one of the city’s historic districts.

Save CR Heritage also participated in outreach events, such as EcoFest 2019, and held several days of a popup shop at NewBo City Market, where we told stories behind the salvage work that our volunteers perform on buildings slated for demolition in Cedar Rapids.

Two of our board members, Jay Vavra and Cindy Hadish, participate in the city’s Historic Asset Inventory subcommittee, which came up with a list of 500 historic properties in Cedar Rapids last year. Our volunteers are starting the Local Landmark process on some of those buildings to protect them in the future.

Members and volunteers of Save CR Heritage are shown during a salvage day at 1408 First Ave. NE, before the building was demolished in 2018.

We also submitted the final petitions that called on the Cedar Rapids City Council to end financial incentives for projects in which historic buildings are demolished, a practice that, unfortunately, continues.

While many challenges remain, our board is grateful for everyone who attended meetings or tours, volunteered at events, signed a petition, purchased a salvage treasure and donated to our cause this past year.

More plans are already underway for 2020. If you’d like to participate on a committee or become more involved, stop by one of our meetings, held on the last Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the second-floor meeting room of CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. All meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome to attend!

Save CR Heritage has been raising awareness of at-risk historic properties in Cedar Rapids since 2012. Help continue this important educational and advocacy work by donating here. We can’t do it without you!


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