UPDATE Jan. 23, 2022: The owners of the rural Toddville home have decided to demolish the farmhouse; the Czech Village home is still available if someone can move it.
By Cindy Hadish/Save CR Heritage
A rural Toddville home and a Cedar Rapids home, both built around 1888, are in need of new owners who can move them.
The Toddville farmhouse, off North Center Point Road on the east side of Interstate 380, will need to be moved by spring 2022, so the homeowners can build a new house.
A new development is planned in the location of the Cedar Rapids home, on C Street SW in Czech Village. That home also would need to be moved by spring 2022.
Both will be demolished if they are unable to be moved.
Anyone with a serious interest in relocating either of the homes can reach out to Save CR Heritage at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Owners of both homes are offering the structures for a token fee; basically for free.
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom Toddville house, built in 1888, has two full stories, plus an attic. An addition was built in 1955, and the home was remodeled as it turned a century old in 1988. A metal roof was added in 2010.
Like many homes from that era, the farmhouse was built on solid support beams that have held strong for more than 100 years.
The two-bedroom, one-bathroom Czech Village home first appeared in the 1888 Cedar Rapids city directory, so it likely was built between 1886 and 1887, according to Save CR Heritage President Nikki Halvorson, who researched the home’s history.
Frank Hronik, who is listed as a laborer in the Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and Northern Railroad shop, was the home’s first resident. He and his wife, Mary, had a son, Joseph Hronik, in 1888.
By 1893, John F. Bailey, listed as a teamster, a watchman, a bill poster for Greene’s Opera House, and an assistant deputy sheriff, lived at the address with his wife, Etta.
The 1895 city directory shows Anton E. Serovy, an owner of Serovy and Turecheck Grocery, 41 16th Ave. West, and his wife Emma, lived in the home.
In 2008, the two-story house was flooded along with the rest of Czech Village, with about 6-to-12 inches of water on the entry level, which was gutted and restored with new utilities and appliances. The owner is including the appliances with the house, for anyone able to move it.
Save CR Heritage has experience moving a home of the same era. The late-1800s “Frankie House” was moved in 2015. Board members and volunteers rehabbed the home before it was sold in 2017 as affordable housing.
The cost of the move itself is relatively affordable, but acquiring a vacant lot, building a foundation, tree trimming, moving utility wires and upgrades to electrical systems and other city code requirements, puts a move in the range of $100,000 and above.
Save CR Heritage most recently tried to facilitate the move of two homes in northwest Cedar Rapids.
The buildings’ owner, the Salvation Army, purchased three homes next to its headquarters at 1000 C Ave. NW in order to build a warehouse.
Save CR Heritage found potential homeowners interested in two of the houses: one built in 1912 and one in 1951. A larger 1894 home also was available. Board members donated their time to the effort, including the late Erik Halvorson, who worked on identifying electrical needs for the homes before he was killed in a car crash in 2020.
City staff helped in locating two vacant lots nearby, but the costs, particularly in moving utility wires and a general contractor’s fees, escalated to the point that each house would have cost more than their value and the potential homeowners were unable to obtain mortgages.
Save CR Heritage advocates for using older homes and businesses in place, as the most environmentally friendly and cost effective means to save our historic structures. When that cannot be done, we promote the relocation of buildings, and have advocated for city assistance in containing costs.
Developers in Iowa are regularly given financial incentives to construct new buildings, but little is available for moving buildings or incorporating historic structures into new developments.
As a last resort, Save CR Heritage salvages buildings that are destined for demolition, rescuing doors, windows and other items before these irreplaceable treasures are sent to the landfill. We appreciate the board of the Salvation Army for being proactive in letting our nonprofit know about the need to move the homes and in letting Save CR Heritage do a limited amount of salvage.
Oak baseboards, cabinets, a staircase and other elements of the 1912 home were so well built that they were impossible to remove and went down with the house; an incredibly disheartening moment, but a testament to the workmanship of the builders in a home that could have lasted for many more generations.
The J.E. Halvorson House, a 1905-home that Save CR Heritage is currently rehabbing at 606 Fifth Ave. SE, will eventually need to be moved. While we believe we have a realistic fundraising goal, our preference would be to make any such move affordable, so more of these solid structures, built with skilled craftsmanship and unsurpassed quality, can be saved for future generations.
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!