Take A Tour of Repurposed Historic Downtown Building
The local nonprofit Save CR Heritage has been working hard over the last year to make this historic building their home, and now they want to invite you in to check it out. The group will have a dedication ceremony Saturday at the property, located at 606 5th Ave. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids.
The building was sold by Mercy Medical Center for $1 last winter, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and they still own the land. Save CR Heritage would like to move the actual building soon, but for now, the dedication in honor of their board member John Erik Halvorson will take place this Friday at 4 p.m. Tickets to the first walking tour of the weekend will go on sale at 4:30, and the tour will start at 5. That will be followed by another tour on Saturday at 11 a.m. with tickets going on sale an hour prior, at 10. Tickets for all the tours will be $10. Cedar Rapids historian Mark Stoffer Hunter will conduct the neighborhood walking tours, and speak about the history of the area surrounding the property.
Following each walking tour, visitors can take a free tour of the J.E. Halverson House with staff. Masks will be required for the indoor tours. You may need a jacket for the outdoor walking tours.
The future of the J.E. Halverson House does not include the building just sitting there for the sake of historic presence. In one of its previous lives, it served as "The Teacher Store", a shop for supplies for area teachers, so it's always been a useful landmark for the community. That is set to continue as the group aims to hold workshops on window rehab, floor restoration, and other skills homeowners can use to take care of their own homes and will eventually hold salvage sales (doors, windows, wood trim, and other items salvaged from homes slated for demolition.)
Meanwhile, a series of buildings nearby known as the "Banjo Block" is slated for demolition soon to make way for apartments, making the historic preservation of the J.E. Halverson House even more ironic and meaningful.
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