Save CR Heritage is a not-for-profit organization that, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, seeks to raise awareness about the value of older buildings. They have recently taken their own step toward preserving history, acquiring a building in the Cedar Rapids MedQuarter district as their (hopefully) permanent home.

KCRG says the historic building, over 100 years old at 606 Fifth Ave. SE, and most recently home to the "Teacher Store" right next to Kathy's Pies, will serve as the organization's home base.

The building is owned by Mercy Medical Center and has sat vacant for two years but in an agreement with Mercy, the not-for-profit has a new three-year lease on the land and the house which it purchased from Mercy for just $1. This home was built around 1905 as a single-family property and before this agreement was made, it was set for demolition.

Once the three-year lease expires, it's Save CR Heritage's goal to move the house itself to a vacant lot in Wellington Heights for its permanent headquarters. In the meantime, it needs a lot of repairs, to the tune of about $40,000. Save CR Heritage Board member Cindy Hadish says she and fellow board members will join volunteers in getting right to work on those repairs, seeking in-kind donations for a new roof, heating system, plumbing, paint, and other needs.

Not only will this become the permanent location of the organization's meetings, but it will also hold workshops teaching folks how to restore their own aging properties, including instruction on restoring windows and floors. Sales of items from other historic properties destined for demolition will also take place there. Once permanently occupied by Save CR Heritage, the location will become known as the "J.E. Halvorson House", in honor of John Erik Halvorson, a former board member of the organization killed in a car crash in March.

If all goes well, completion of the restoration will have the building ready to use for open houses and walking tours by summer 2021, but Hadish acknowledges that COVID-19 may push that back.

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