History Center Tours

The History Center offers fun and informative walking tours January through October. Special walking tours may occasionally be scheduled, so keep an eye out for any announcements.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING

SUMMER 2020 WALKING AND BIKING TOURS:

  • Tours are currently limited to 16 individuals.
  • All tours require advanced ticket sale. Please see tour description to purchase tickets. Payments will not be accepted at time of tour.
  • Masks are required for all individuals.
  • Social distancing is strongly encouraged.
 
Tour Admission
$5.00 for History Center Members
$7.00 for General Public

 

 

If you are interested in joining multiple tours this season or planning to bring the whole family, our histoury hopper is a great way to save money. It also makes a great gift for history buffs of all ages.

For the latest updates, please visit us on Facebook


To view our severe weather guidelines, click here

HISTOURY HOPPER

Available for purchase at The History Center or when purchasing tour tickets.

 

2020 Walking Tours

August 4, 2020

Automobile Row/Mansion Hill

Time: 6:00 PM

Meeting Location: The History Center, 800 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

Purchase Tickets

This tour begins and ends at The History Center! Learn about the area originally known as “Mansion Hill” along Third, Second and First Avenues East. Get a closer look at the very few surviving19th century residences on the “Hill”.

 

Discover how this section of Cedar Rapids was transformed into “Automobile Row” following the routing of the Lincoln Highway as early as1913. See many of the restored “Auto Row” structures and get updates on how the area is changing with the expanding MedQuarter District.

August 18, 2020

College District/Mound View Neighborhood

Time:  6:00 PM

Meeting Location: Whipple Firehouse, 1424 B Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Purchase Tickets

Enjoy a closer look at this incredibly historic neighborhood nestled between the campuses of Coe College and Mt. Mercy University in northeast Cedar Rapids. Discover the unusual history of the first name for this area.

 

The tour features an eclectic mix of residential, commercial and early industrial historic sites. Highlights of the tour include many places associated with celebrated artist Grant Wood including a close look at his Cedar Rapids childhood home where he lived starting in 1901.

August 25, 2020

Mays Island 

Time: 6:00 PM

Meeting Location: 101 First Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Purchase Tickets

ENCORE TOUR! Learn about the early history of Mays Island and how Cedar Rapids transformed it into the only island government center in the Western Hemisphere. Following a tour of the island, experience the history of what was originally known as “Commercial Street”.

This tour along several blocks of First Street SE will reveal details about the earliest downtown retail locations before the Civil War period, the construction of landmark “skyscrapers” and a close look at surviving historic warehouse structures including the Smulekoff and Hach buildings.

September 1, 2020

IA BIG Religious Structures

Time: 6:00 PM

Meeting Location: TBA

Purchase Tickets

NEW TOUR!  This tour was designed by IA BIG students.  Explore some of Cedar Rapids oldest places of worship. 

September 15, 2020

Linwood Cemetery

Time: 6:00 PM

Meeting Location: Linwood Cemetery, 520 Wilson Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Purchase Tickets

Experience the history of the oldest cemetery on the west side of Cedar Rapids. Highlights include visiting the final resting site of some of the infamous Cherry Sisters and a look at the memorial to many of the victims of the May 1919 Douglas Starch Works Explosion in Cedar Rapids.

October 20, 2020

Creep the Alleys

Time: 6:00 PM

Meeting Location: Town Centre Plaza, Third Avenue & Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 

Downtown alleys reveal a great deal of history about Cedar Rapids buildings, and they can be a little spooky too! Come explore the dark side of downtown architecture with this unique historic alley tour.

 

Included are stories of how alleys function for service and utility access, how they provided secret entrances for Prohibition era businesses, as well as clever retail store designs. There will be a few surprises along the tour as well! Please wear alley appropriate footwear.

October 27, 2020

Creep the Alleys

Time: 6:00 PM

Meeting Location: Town Centre Plaza, Third Avenue & Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 

Downtown alleys reveal a great deal of history about Cedar Rapids buildings, and they can be a little spooky too! Come explore the dark side of downtown architecture with this unique historic alley tour.

 

Included are stories of how alleys function for service and utility access, how they provided secret entrances for Prohibition era businesses, as well as clever retail store designs. There will be a few surprises along the tour as well! Please wear alley appropriate footwear.

Walking Tours are generously sponsored by:

 

2020 Biking Tours

Bring your bicycle and join us on a unique way to experience Cedar Rapids History!
Two biking tours are scheduled, each exploring different routes: the North Route and South Route.
All biking tours begin and end at Hall Bicycle, 419 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.
 
FREE bike rentals are available at Hall Bicycle.
To reserve a bike, please call Hall Bicycle at (319) 362-1052.

August 29, 2020

South Route Bike Tour

Time: 10:00 AM

Purchase Tickets

Highlights include stops throughout the historic Wholesale and Warehouse District as well as segments of the New Bohemia and Czech Village neighborhoods.

Biking Tours are generously co-sponsored by:

Hours

Tuesday - Saturday

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Admission

$7.00 for general public

$5.00 for students (with ID)

Free for children ages 4 and younger

Free for members of The History Center

All galleries and exhibits are self-guided.

The History Center

Linn County Historical Society

800 Second Avenue SE

Cedar Rapids, IA  52403

office@historycenter.org

Tel: 319-362-1501