Time Machine

Pioneer Cemetery

Iowa Code 523I.102 — “Pioneer cemetery” means a cemetery where there were twelve or fewer burials in the preceding fifty years.

With hundreds of tiny pioneer cemeteries in Iowa, the prospect of writing a column about the [...]

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Cold War fallout

The United States’ diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and China were in tatters, the Soviet Union had tested its first atomic bomb (1949) and the development of the hydrogen bomb (1952) escalated the arms race into overdrive. The na [...]

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The flame that never was

Even as the million-dollar Veterans Memorial Building was rising from the municipal island in the middle of the Cedar River, its appearance still was not finalized.

Several ideas for the huge building’s tower were under discussion an [...]

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Unconventional shapes

Our deep red car was an unrecognizable gray. Clouds of dust rose each time we opened or closed a door. Both of us really wanted a shower, but my husband and I considered our day a success when we discovered four Eastern Iowa round barns after trav [...]

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William Lightner, master builder

Curiosity led me to William H. Lightner.

Along E Avenue NW, in the 1700 block, are two stone pillars mounted on concrete bases, alike, but on separate properties.

Strangely, on C Avenue NW, there are two more, once again in the 1700 [...]

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John Brown and the Underground Railroad

On Oct. 16, 1859, John Brown and his small band of abolitionists seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va.

His plan was to arm his band of raiders and recruit as many slaves and sympathizers as possible to end slavery forcibly in th [...]

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Buchanan School building now houses Ambroz Recreation Center

The Cedar Rapids School Board faced a problem finding enough classrooms for a growing student population in 1902. A committee was formed to figure out a new building site on Mount Vernon Road, because the board thought it was imperative to [...]

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The aviators: First regional air service delivered Gazette to subscribers

The weather was fair and the trip to make the first air delivery of The Gazette was set.

Spread over two days, the first run to Belle Plaine, Independence and Vinton was scheduled shortly after 2:30 p.m. on July 18, 1919. Mount Vernon, Spr [...]

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The Red Ball Route, the original Avenue of the Saints

In 1911, the American Automobile Association, organized in 1902, urged national legislation for a transcontinental highway. One of AAA’s members was Robert N. Carson of Iowa City.

Carson was the primary promoter and advocate [...]

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The Shrine Armory

 

The El Kahir Shrine building committee took the first step to build a new temple in 1926 when Chairman James Blake announced that the once-opulent three-story brick house and barn sitting on the corner of A Avenue and Sixth Street NE nee [...]

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The pearl button industry

Clam shell gatherers were the front line in the booming pearl button business in 1897. Congress that year approved a favorable tariff law, the Dingley Act, giving American manufacturers an advantage over imports and making the business of button-m [...]

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'Steamboat Bill' Petersen

A river man for 38 years, Charles L. Petersen worked for the famous Diamond Jo Line out of Dubuque from 1872 to 1910.

He passed his love for the river on to his son, William, who was fascinated by the Mississippi.

“I spent so [...]

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The Czech School

Every summer since the 1870s, the Czech community in Cedar Rapids has supported a native language school.

In the beginning, community organizations or residents supported the school to ensure that children would be taught the language and [...]

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East Iowa's Lakes: Conservation and flood control

President Roosevelt's New Deal in 1933 included a program called the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, to hire unemployed young men to work on conservation projects throughout the nation. One of the program's 1,643 camps was established in Solo [...]

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The original breweries

The Christian Magnus Eagle Brewery and Bottling Works put out 25,000 barrels of 4.5 percent beer when it was in full production in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The brewery was built in 1859 by Jacob Wetzel, who hired Christian Magnus, the s [...]

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