Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been many things over the years. For some prominent families it has been a home and a place of great culture. For most people it has been a city rich with different opportunities to get a good job and build a nice life. For the Cedar River, it's been great company for over 100 years. While the record flood of 2008 has gotten a lot of the major headlines, the vast cultural heritage is strong and vibrant. 

People like Grant Wood, Ashton Kutcher and Ron Livingston have all lived in Cedar Rapids for a significant portion of their lives. Afterward, they went on to achieve a lot of fame, along with many other people who hail from this area. It's a great place to have grown up, as well as a fun place to stay around. Cedar Rapids is a friendly place, as evidenced by its nickname of "The City of Five Seasons," with the fifth season being the time to enjoy the wonders of the other four. It's a great place to be.

Welcome to the city of Cedar Rapids, where you will be able to make just about anything happen. There are intriquing options in entertainment, education, affordable living and many other benefits the city offers its residents. It is also an area of history and culture.

Cedar Rapids History

The area where Cedar Rapids, Iowa currently sits has been populated for a very long time, though the original inhabitants were the Fox and Sac Native American tribes. Though these two tribes inhabited the area for hundreds of years, their nomadic lifestyles didn't qualify them as permanent settlers. The first permanent settler was Osgood Shepherd, and he arrived in the area in the year 1838. Establishing this area, a man named William Stone named the original town Columbus. However, N. B. Brown and his company resurveyed and renamed the town in 1841. Originally, the name Cedar Rapids came about because of the relatively quick currents that flow through the Cedar River, which is a significant part of the local geography. As well, the river itself was named after the fact that a lot of red cedar trees have traditionally grown along its banks.

The town of Cedar Rapids was incorporated in January of 1849. In 1870, the city annexed the community of Kingston. The year after this happened, the Sinclair Meatpacking Company formed in Cedar Rapids, which spurred a time of substantial economic growth and expansion. Since that time, the trade routes along the Cedar River have become less used, as shipping in small bodies of water has largely fallen out of practice, and since railroads and trucking lanes have become more commonplace.

Between 1884 and 1886, Caroline Sinclair had a home and surrounding woodland and garden area constructed known as Brucemore. This 26 acre area has been the home of several prominent families since the Queen Anne-style mansion home was built, and has also been a center of the area's arts and cultural scene. Caroline Sinclair was the wife of a pioneer industrialist named T.M. Sinclair, who built the local meatpacking facility and later died before the home was begun. This is the only National Trust Historic Site in the entire state of Iowa. While Thomas Sinclair, George Bruce Douglas and Howard Hall created the fortunes that allowed this home to become what it is today, their wives were the instrumental parts of transforming this from nothing but a vacant plot of land into a local historic treasure.

In 2008, The Cedar River rose to the highest level ever recorded, at over 31 feet. In June of 2008, the prior record had only been 20 feet above the 500-year flood plain. Well over 1,000 of the city's blocks were flooded, and over 500 blocks in the city were seriously damaged. The total number of buildings that had to be evacuated was just shy of 8,000, including most of the important government buildings. Because of this flood, more than 1,300 properties had to be demolished.

The 21st century has seen a great deal of expansion in Cedar Rapids. 

About Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa is both the second largest city in the entire state and the county seat of Linn County. Lying on the banks of the Cedar River, this city is about 20 miles north of Iowa City and 100 miles east of Des Moines, which is the state's capital. One of the more interesting geographic traits of Cedar Rapids is that it is one of the few cities on Earth with some of its important government offices located on a municipal island. Cedar Rapids is also a significant arts and cultural hub, featuring a multitude of museums and several civic theaters. As if all of that weren't enough, Cedar Rapids is also a significant economic center along a very important technological corridor of several counties. As of 2008, the population in the Metropolitan Statistical Area of the tri-county area had well over 255,000 people within it.

Cedar Rapids has had a lot of important people residing in the area over the years. One of those people was the man who painted American Gothic, Grant Wood. In addition to Wood, the historian and journalist William L. Shirer also lived there. As well, the photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten, the pioneer in the aerodynamic field Dr. Alexander Lippisch and a number of actors who rose to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s also have lived in Cedar Rapids. This city was also the setting for a musical known as The Pajama Game.

Cedar Rapids has taken on the unusual nickname of the "City of Five Seasons." The fifth season is the time to enjoy the other four. There is even a symbol for this unusual concept, known as the Tree of Five Seasons sculpture sietting along the northern river bank. In a great many forms, this notion of five seasons pervades the city in a number of different representative forms.

Cedar Rapids is split up into four different quadrants, divided along 1st Avenue and the Cedar River. The only part of the city to not have a quadrant other than places near but not inside the city is Mays Island, which sits in the middle of the river. Between all four of the quadrants, Cedar Rapids is split up into fourteen distinct ZIP codes. The city itself is just over 64 square miles, and more than 63 of those miles are actual land. There are a variety of different neighborhoods that are split into several ethnicities, with Czech being one of the more prominent ones. If not for the Cedar Rapids Czech Heritage Foundation, the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Pageant and the Czech Plus Polka Band might not even exist today.

About Linn County, Iowa

The city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa is both located in and is the county seat of Linn County. Linn County itself is an area that was originally named for the senator named Lewis Linn, who came from Missouri. Linn County is a significant part of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area. While it was originally organized in 1839, its original name came from a Revolutionary War general named Francis Marion. However, the county seat had some controversy associated with it, and debate began in 1855 regarding moving it to Cedar Rapids. However, the decision to finally do this did not go through until November of 1919, when the vote passed by a margin of over 5,000.

In 1859, the first railroad line was constructed through Cedar Rapids, which made both Linn County and Cedar Rapids into significant eastern Iowan economic players. However, both the city and the county were damaged significantly by the Cedar River's infamous flood in 2008.

However, despite the damage, Linn County is a very large place with a fairly large population. The county totaled over 724 square miles as of the 2000 Census report, and of that space more than 717 square miles were composed of actual land. While only about 1% of the county's mass is covered in water, this is still a significant amount of space. There were over 211,000 people living in Linn County as of the 2010 Census, with a population density of a good deal over 294 people living on every square mile. As a matter of fact, since the county was initially formed it has only experienced one ten-year period with any population decline, in 1990. As well, many of its population increases were in the two digit range.

Out of the entire county, the bulk of the population lived in families. The average household size was 2.43 people, while the average family had 2.99 people living in it as of the last Census. With the average for a household in Linn County being over $46,000 per year and the average family's income being over $56,000, this is a fairly affluent county.