The History Center

The History Center To provide a unique community resource that preserves and shares the stories of our past and connect The site was formerly Rapids Chevrolet.

The History Center began in 1969 as the Linn County Historical Museum Association, formed by several local residents who were interested in permanently preserving the history of Linn County. The first museum was located at Eighth Ave and First Street in Cedar Rapids. In the 1990โ€™s we became a professionally accredited museum and named that museum โ€œThe History Center.โ€ The organization officially b

ecame the Linn County Historical Society. In 1997, a capital campaign began to build a new museum at the recently purchased site at First Ave and Sixth Street in downtown Cedar Rapids. The new museum was officially opened on June 15, 1999. After careful consideration in 2014, the board of The History Center decided to purchase the Douglas Mansion, which had been donated by the Linge family to the city of Cedar Rapids. The opening of this new location in 2018 will be a new opportunity for The History Center to provide quality programming and exhibits within a building that is a historic treasure itself. You can learn more about our organization and our upcoming move to the Douglas Mansion by visiting our website: historycenter.org

The History Center provides a beautiful and unique backdrop for your PROM PICTURES!  Reserve a time for your group. Fees...
01/09/2024

The History Center provides a beautiful and unique backdrop for your PROM PICTURES! Reserve a time for your group. Fees apply. To reserve a time for your group, please fill out the form here: https://forms.gle/Ag3kTfYax8aamMWf8
๐Ÿ“ท

The History Center will be closed today, Tuesday, January 9th due to the weather.
01/09/2024

The History Center will be closed today, Tuesday, January 9th due to the weather.

On Valentine's Day, headlines often turn to stories of love. Join The History Center as we turn to our community's news ...
01/07/2024

On Valentine's Day, headlines often turn to stories of love. Join The History Center as we turn to our community's news archives to find the most touching, most amazing, and most hilarious tales of romance!

Limited number of tickets available. Program information and tickets:
www.historycenter.org/valentines

๐™๐™ค๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ'๐™จ ๐™œ๐™ž๐™›๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™๐™ค๐™ฅ ๐™๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ: ๐˜ฝ๐™–๐™จ๐™จ ๐™๐™–๐™ข๐™ž๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™๐™–๐™ง๐™ข๐™จ!Chris Bass grew up on a traditional Iowa farm and has been making a posit...
01/06/2024

๐™๐™ค๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ'๐™จ ๐™œ๐™ž๐™›๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™๐™ค๐™ฅ ๐™๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ: ๐˜ฝ๐™–๐™จ๐™จ ๐™๐™–๐™ข๐™ž๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™๐™–๐™ง๐™ข๐™จ!

Chris Bass grew up on a traditional Iowa farm and has been making a positive impact on the community ever since by farming chemical-free vegetables and herbs! Stop down and grab some Strawberry Jam or Smoky Maple Glaze. You'll thank us later.

The museum is OPEN today until 4:00 p.m.

Did you know The History Center is the PERFECT place to host graduation parties? Book your party in the Historic Douglas...
01/04/2024

Did you know The History Center is the PERFECT place to host graduation parties? Book your party in the Historic Douglas Mansion!๐ŸŽ“

Contact [email protected] for more information.

๐—ง๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—•๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜†! In honor of National Buffet Day, we have pictured from The History Center Archives is the ...
01/02/2024

๐—ง๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—•๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜†!

In honor of National Buffet Day, we have pictured from The History Center Archives is the staff from popular downtown cafeteria Bishop's!

In the late 1920s, the Bishop Cafeteria opened on the ground floor of the Allison Hotel building at 321 First Avenue SE. By the mid 1930s, Bishopโ€™s had become wildly popular with customers and hotel patrons. Food prices were extremely affordable and patrons only had to pay for what they chose from the cafeteria line. The Downtown Cedar Rapids Bishopโ€™s was one of the first of what would become several Iowa locations for the celebrated cafeteria.

Happy New Year!  Here's to a HISTORIC 2024. ๐ŸŽ‰๐…๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐‡๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐‚๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐€๐ซ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ:The Hotel Montrose Lobby filled with New Y...
01/01/2024

Happy New Year! Here's to a HISTORIC 2024. ๐ŸŽ‰

๐…๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐‡๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐‚๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐€๐ซ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ:
The Hotel Montrose Lobby filled with New Years Eve Dancers in 1926. The Montrose was located on the corner of 3rd Ave and 3rd Street downtown Cedar Rapids.

๐Ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐๐š๐ฒ ๐ข๐ง ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ: THE HOUSE SWAP!The Douglas Mansion (800 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids) became the new home of G...
12/31/2023

๐Ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐๐š๐ฒ ๐ข๐ง ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ: THE HOUSE SWAP!

The Douglas Mansion (800 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids) became the new home of George Bruce Douglas Jr. and his wife, Irene Hazeltine Douglas, in 1897, the same year their first child, Margaret, was born. Construction on home began in 1895, and was completed in early 1897.

The house was originally a part of a neighborhood known as Mansion Hill. From the late 1870s to 1905, over 120 large residences were built up the hill from the bustling downtown business district. They were primarily built between 5th Street and 12th Street East along A Avenue, First Avenue, and Second Avenue East and within the 800 blocks of Third, Fourth, and Fifth Avenues SE.

The birth of Ellen Douglas in October 1905 prompted the Douglas family to consider moving to a larger home. As luck would have it, the Sinclair family of Cedar Rapids, led by widow and matriarch Caroline Sinclair, was looking to move out of their very large estate out on the First Avenue "Boulevard" near 20th Street East. The Douglas and Sinclair families learned of each other's situation and in 1906 worked with well-known Cedar Rapids real estate agent Malcolm Bolton to complete the most memorable real estate swap in Cedar Rapids history.

By late 1906, the Sinclairs had moved to the Douglas home, which was smaller and closer to town, and the Douglas family moved out "to the country" to the larger Sinclair home built in 1886 at 1965 First Avenue SE. The former Sinclair estate was renamed โ€œBrucemore.โ€ Margaret Douglas, who spent the first nine years of her life in the house on Second Avenue SE, would grow up to become Mrs. Howard Hall and live in Brucemore until her death in 1981.

Thanks to our good friends at Brucemore for reminding us that today is Irene Hazeltine Douglas' birthday! Married in 189...
12/30/2023

Thanks to our good friends at Brucemore for reminding us that today is Irene Hazeltine Douglas' birthday!

Married in 1892, George and Irene (Hazeltine) Douglas initially lived as a couple in George's parentsโ€™ home at 500 First Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids. George's father, George Douglas Sr., was a native of Scotland who partnered with Robert Stuart to start the Douglas & Stuart cereal mill in 1873. After his father's death, George Bruce Douglas Jr. was active with the cereal and oatmeal mill until 1891 when it was merged with the Quaker Oats Company.

Expecting their first child in 1897, George and Irene Douglas were ready to move into their new home located at 800 2nd Ave SE (now occupied by The History Center). The splendid new house was quickly occupied by the new parents, baby Margaret, and several servants.

Many important social functions occurred in the Douglas home between 1897 and 1906. Lavish parties were held and many of the leading families of the Cedar Rapids and Linn County communities attended events during the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras.

Continue reading about Irene Douglas in the original post by Brucemore.

Happy birthday to Irene Hazeltine Douglas! Irene made significant contributions to the development of Brucemore during the time she lived at the estate from 1906 until her death in 1937. During her lifetime, she was known for her philanthropy, supporting the arts, education, and human services in the Cedar Rapids area.

In 1913 Irene described her birthday as a "[b]eautiful sunny mild day. Children + Geo. gave me presents โ€“ Birthday cake on the breakfast table."

Today is your last chance to view the ๐‘ญ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ถ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”: ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘ฐ๐’๐’˜๐’‚โ€™๐’” ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ญ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ 50 ๐’€๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’” exhibit! The museum i...
12/30/2023

Today is your last chance to view the ๐‘ญ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ถ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”: ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘ฐ๐’๐’˜๐’‚โ€™๐’” ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ญ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ 50 ๐’€๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’” exhibit! The museum is open today from 10:00 - 4:00 p.m.

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐„๐ฌ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐ž ๐‘๐จ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐š ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž!๐‘e๐งd๐žz๐ฏo๐ฎs a๐ญ ๐ญh๐ž ๐‘o๐จs๐žv๐žl๐ญ will run 3 weeks starting February 2nd.  Dates and ...
12/29/2023

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐„๐ฌ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐ž ๐‘๐จ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐š ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž!

๐‘e๐งd๐žz๐ฏo๐ฎs a๐ญ ๐ญh๐ž ๐‘o๐จs๐žv๐žl๐ญ will run 3 weeks starting February 2nd. Dates and times are very limited! Be sure to get your team signed up before the times are taken!

๐˜ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ, ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ. ๐˜‰๐˜บ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ข ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜š๐˜บ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜™๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜‹๐˜ณ. ๐˜™๐˜ฐ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ต ๐˜™๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ. ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ.

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

๐‘ซ๐’Š๐’… ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜?"The old square used to be a sand hill much higher than now covered by weeds, trees and tons of cockle burr...
12/29/2023

๐‘ซ๐’Š๐’… ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜?

"The old square used to be a sand hill much higher than now covered by weeds, trees and tons of cockle burrs," said an article in a 1911 edition of the Evening Gazette. The "old square" referred to Greene Square, the iconic park in the middle of downtown Cedar Rapids.

The land was donated to the city in 1849 by Judge George Greene, who requested that it remain open green space for public use.

The land originally was owned by a man named Parsons and was known as Parsons' grounds. Greene, along with Nicholas Brown, Addison Daniels, Julius Sanford and Hosea Gray purchased the property in 1843. It was believed to be solely owned by Greene in 1849.

For a time, it was informally known as "The Park" or "The Depot Park". It also was often called Franklin Square. Then, in 1900, the Evening Gazette decided to sponsor a contest for residents to name the park. Readers were invited to vote on a list of proposed names or even submit names of their choosing. The most popular name chosen was Washington Square, because the Washington School stood on the side of the square where the Cedar Rapids Public Library now sits (pictured far right in photo).

In the city's semicentennial year, 1906, William Krebs, secretary of the Parks Commission, recommended the city council honor Judge George Greene by renaming the park after him.

Hear more about Judge George Greene during "๐‹๐ข๐ง๐ง ๐‚๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ฒ ๐”๐ง๐›๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐" at The History Center on Tuesday, January 16th at 11:00 a.m.

Program information and tickets: https://www.historycenter.org/unburied

Only TWO MORE DAYS to view the exhibit: ๐‘ญ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ถ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”: ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘ฐ๐’๐’˜๐’‚โ€™๐’” ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ญ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ 50 ๐’€๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’”Exhibit closes after...
12/29/2023

Only TWO MORE DAYS to view the exhibit:
๐‘ญ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ถ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”: ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘ฐ๐’๐’˜๐’‚โ€™๐’” ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ญ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ 50 ๐’€๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’”

Exhibit closes after museum hours Saturday, December 30th.

Museum Hours:
Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 4:00 p.m. (LAST CHANCE!)
Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Our weekly E-News is here! Stay up to date with our current exhibits and upcoming programs.
12/29/2023

Our weekly E-News is here! Stay up to date with our current exhibits and upcoming programs.

The History Center E-News December 28, 2023 Museum Hours: Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday 10:00 - 4:00 p.m. Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. New Exhibit! Cultivating Curiosity: Ex

๐—ง๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜†! From The History Center archives is a picture of a group of workers from Link Belt S...
12/28/2023

๐—ง๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜†!

From The History Center archives is a picture of a group of workers from Link Belt Speeder enjoying a card game after dinner.

Gentlemen are identified: facing the camera Elmer Vavricek; Clockwise: Tom Birkicht, Milo Macek and Milton Woito. Date on the photo: May 4, 1956.

๐…๐”๐ ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐–๐‡๐Ž๐‹๐„ ๐…๐€๐Œ๐ˆ๐‹๐˜!Stop down while the kids are still on break from school and engage with our newest exhibit: Cul...
12/28/2023

๐…๐”๐ ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐–๐‡๐Ž๐‹๐„ ๐…๐€๐Œ๐ˆ๐‹๐˜!

Stop down while the kids are still on break from school and engage with our newest exhibit: Cultivating Curiosity, designed for KIDS!

Museum Hours:
Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

On this day in Linn County History:Greeneโ€™s Opera House was constructed in 1879, located at 113 Second Street NE, betwee...
12/27/2023

On this day in Linn County History:

Greeneโ€™s Opera House was constructed in 1879, located at 113 Second Street NE, between First and A Avenues. The opera houseโ€™s faรงade was made of red brick and trimmed black brick, cut stone and ornamental tiling. The edifice was crowned with an ornate iron cornice. The four-story building had the theater located in the second and third floor and was located across the street from the Roosevelt Hotel. The Greene Opera House was once listed as one the largest theaters between Chicago and Denver.

Judge Greene was one of the Cedar Rapidsโ€™ founders and a leading businessman. He was an Iowa legislator, as well as an Iowa Supreme Court justice. Rather late in his career, Judge Green considered building opera houses. In fact, his second opera house was still under construction when Greene passed away in June 1880. It was his son, Calvin H. Greene, who saw to the completion of the theatre and became the venueโ€™s first manager.

As with many nineteenth-century opera houses, the theater was not completely finished by opening night. Regardless, Greeneโ€™s Opera House officially opened to a house of 2,000 on Dec. 27, 1880. The first production was the Emma Abbott Grand English Opera Companyโ€™s production of โ€œThe Bohemian Girl.โ€ Unfortunately, it was winter, and the patrons of the theater were bundled up with coats and gloves throughout the performance. The building was not completed until that spring โ€“ Aug. 4, 1881. As with many western theaters, Greeneโ€™s Opera House advertised as one of the โ€œfinest west of Chicago.โ€

The theater included a parquet, dress circle and three balconies with seating for 2,000. The building was illuminated with gas. There with a large 92-jet โ€œsun burnerโ€ in the center of the theaterโ€™s dome that purportedly illuminate the space to be โ€œas bright as day.โ€ There were an additional 850 gas jets throughout the building for general lighting. Interestingly the stage area also included an elegant gas chandelier, that could be raised and lowered as required.

The theater remained in operation until 1928, although other sources note dates ranging from 1921-1926. When it closed, the theatre was $50,000 in debt and immediately fell into disuse (Des Moines Register, 1969). Greeneโ€™s Opera House eventually became a storage garage, destined to be demolished by 1969.

This is the last week for you to view the exhibit: ๐‘ญ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ถ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”: ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘ฐ๐’๐’˜๐’‚โ€™๐’” ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ญ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ 50 ๐’€๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’”In 1973, ...
12/26/2023

This is the last week for you to view the exhibit:
๐‘ญ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ถ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”: ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘ฐ๐’๐’˜๐’‚โ€™๐’” ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ญ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ 50 ๐’€๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’”

In 1973, Four Oaksโ€™ founders looked into the faces of youth and families that were struggling and chose to see their potential for success. Fifty years later, that unwavering visionโ€” Expect Successโ€”remains constant. Explore the 50-year history of Four Oaks from a single location helping 10 children to a statewide organization serving nearly 26,000 children and families every year.

The museum is open TODAY! Stop down and enjoy a look at the Four Oaks exhibit and MORE!

Museum Hours:
Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 - 4:00 p.m. LAST CHANCE to view the Four Oaks exhibit.

Today's gift shop highlight!Ebert Honey! What started as a hobby grew into a family business! Ebert Honey is sourced dir...
12/23/2023

Today's gift shop highlight!

Ebert Honey! What started as a hobby grew into a family business! Ebert Honey is sourced directly from the hive. Buy local delicious Honey from our gift shop.

Museum Hours:
Saturday 10-4
Tuesday 12-4
Thursday 4-8
Friday 12-4

Our weekly E-News is here! Learn about our current exhibits and upcoming programs.
12/22/2023

Our weekly E-News is here! Learn about our current exhibits and upcoming programs.

Bring the kids to The History Center for a hands-on, interactive experience! The History Center E-News December 21, 2023 Museum Hours: Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday 10:00

Program Manager Jenny Thielman was on Everyday Iowa this morning to talk about our newest exhibit Cultivating Curiosity!...
12/21/2023

Program Manager Jenny Thielman was on Everyday Iowa this morning to talk about our newest exhibit Cultivating Curiosity!

Be sure to bring the kids down and check out the exhibits while they're on break!

The holiday break is a great time to visit The History Center!

๐…๐”๐ ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐–๐‡๐Ž๐‹๐„ ๐…๐€๐Œ๐ˆ๐‹๐˜!Stop down while the kids are on break from school and engage with our newest exhibit: Cultivati...
12/20/2023

๐…๐”๐ ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐–๐‡๐Ž๐‹๐„ ๐…๐€๐Œ๐ˆ๐‹๐˜!

Stop down while the kids are on break from school and engage with our newest exhibit: Cultivating Curiosity, designed for KIDS!

Museum Hours:
Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Looking for something to do this weekend?

๐‘ฉ๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‡๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’š ๐’•๐’ ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’๐’“๐’š ๐‘ช๐’†๐’๐’•๐’†๐’“!

Explore the magic of agriculture through interactive activities: gather eggs from the chicken coop, harvest colorful veggies from our garden, and milk a life-sized cow model. Unleash your inner farmer as you cultivate curiosity while learning how food grows and the role animals play.

Museum Hours:
Thursday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. (Closed 12/14 for private rental)
Friday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Address

800 2nd Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
52403

Opening Hours

Tuesday 12pm - 4pm
Thursday 4pm - 8pm
Friday 12pm - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm

Telephone

+13193621501

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Our Story

Our Mission: The mission of The History Center is to provide a unique community resource that preserves and shares the stories of our past and connects people of all ages to the present and future of Linn County. We are dedicated to connecting the past to the present and future of Linn County and are passionate about making our history both accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Our Story: We began in 1969 as the Linn County Historical Museum Association, formed by several local residents who were interested in permanently preserving the history of Linn County. These charter members valued the diverse heritage of the land and people of Linn County and sought to preserve and celebrate its stories. At first, artifacts were stored in volunteersโ€™ homes. We have come a long way since then! The first museum was located at Eighth Ave and First Street in Cedar Rapids. In the 1990โ€™s we became a professionally accredited museum and named that museum โ€œThe History Center.โ€ The organization officially became the Linn County Historical Society.

In 1997, a capital campaign began to build a new museum at the recently purchased site at First Ave and Sixth Street in downtown Cedar Rapids. The site was formerly Rapids Chevrolet. The new museum was officially opened on June 15, 1999.

The History Center became The Carl & Mary Koehler History Center in 2004, honoring the Koehlerโ€™s significant financial contributions.

After careful consideration in 2014, the board of The History Center decided to purchase the Douglas Mansion, which had been donated by the Linge family to the city of Cedar Rapids. The opening of this new location in 2018 has been a new opportunity for The History Center to provide quality programming and exhibits within a building that is a historic treasure itself. You can learn more about our organization and our move to the Douglas Mansion by visiting our website: https://www.historycenter.org/


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