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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Top row: Mays Island; Middle left: Czech Village, Brucemore, Middle right: Tree of Five Seasons; Bottom row: Downtown Cedar Rapids
Top row: Mays Island; Middle left: Czech Village, Brucemore, Middle right: Tree of Five Seasons; Bottom row: Downtown Cedar Rapids
Flag of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Flag
Official seal of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Seal
Nicknames: 
City of Five Seasons, CR
Motto(s): 
The fifth season is a time to enjoy life, to enjoy the other four seasons.
Location in the State of Iowa
Location in the State of Iowa
Map from U.S. Census
Map from U.S. Census
Cedar Rapids, Iowa is located in Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Location in Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa is located in the United States
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State Iowa
County Linn
Incorporated 1849
Government
 • Type Home Rule
Area
 • City 74.26 sq mi (192.32 km2)
 • Land 73.03 sq mi (189.14 km2)
 • Water 1.23 sq mi (3.18 km2)
Elevation
810 ft (247 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 137,710
 • Rank 2nd in Iowa
 • Density 1,885.72/sq mi (728.08/km2)
 • Urban
177,844 (US: 193rd)
 • Metro
257,940 (US: 178th)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
52227, 52228, 52233, 52324, 52338, 52401-11, 52497-99
Area code 319
FIPS code 19-12000
GNIS feature ID 0465941
Interstate Spurs I-380 (IA 1961).svg
Public transit Cedar Rapids Transit
Website cedar-rapids.org

Cedar Rapids is the second-largest city in Iowa, United States and is the county seat of Linn County. The city lies on both banks of the Cedar River, 20 miles (32 km) north of Iowa City and 100 miles (160 km) northeast of Des Moines, the state's capital and largest city. It is a part of the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City region of Eastern Iowa, which includes Linn, Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, Johnson, and Washington counties.

As of the 2020 United States Census, the city population was 137,710. The estimated population of the three-county Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the nearby cities of Marion and Hiawatha, was 255,452 in 2008. Cedar Rapids is an economic hub of the state, located at the core of the Interstate 380 corridor. The Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is also a part of a Combined Statistical Area (CSA) with the Iowa City MSA.

A flourishing center for arts and culture in Eastern Iowa, the city is home to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the Paramount Theatre, Orchestra Iowa, Theatre Cedar Rapids, the African American Museum of Iowa, and the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance. In the 1990s and 2000s, several Cedar Rapidians became well-known actors, including Ashton Kutcher, Elijah Wood, Terry Farrell, and Ron Livingston. The city is the setting for the musical The Pajama Game and the comedy film Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids is nicknamed the "City of Five Seasons", for the so-called "fifth season," which is time to enjoy the other four. The symbol of the five seasons is the Tree of Five Seasons sculpture in downtown along the north river bank. The name "Five Seasons" and representations of the sculpture appear throughout the city in many forms.

History

DowntownCedarRapids
Downtown Cedar Rapids, overlooking the Cedar River.
Downtown Cedar Rapids
Second Avenue SE in downtown Cedar Rapids looking towards the Cedar River.

The location of present-day Cedar Rapids was in the territory of the Fox and Sac tribes.

The first permanent settler, Osgood Shepherd, arrived in 1838. When Cedar Rapids was first established in 1838, William Stone named the town Columbus. In 1841 it was resurveyed and renamed by N.B. Brown and his associates. They named the town Cedar Rapids for the rapids in the Cedar River at the site, and the river itself was named for the large number of red cedar trees that grew along its banks. Cedar Rapids was incorporated on January 15, 1849. Cedar Rapids annexed the community of Kingston in 1870.

The economic growth of Cedar Rapids increased in 1871 upon the founding of the Sinclair meatpacking company.

In 2010, the Census Bureau reported Cedar Rapids' population as 87.98% white, and 5.58% black.

Flood of 2008

Dairy Queen, Cedar Rapids, June 12 2008
Flooded Business District June 12, 2008

During the Iowa flood of 2008, the Cedar River reached a record high of 31.12 feet (9.49 m) on June 13, 2008, the previous record was 20 feet (6.1 m) surpassing the 500-year flood plain. 1,126 city blocks were flooded, or more than 10 square miles (26 km2), 561 city blocks were severely damaged, on both banks of the Cedar River. This is 14% of the city's total area. There were a total of 7,749 flooded properties that had to be evacuated, 5,900 were homes, and 310 were city facilities including the City Hall, Central Fire Station, Main Public Library, Ground Transportation Center, Public Works building, and Animal Control building. It is estimated 1300 or more properties are to be demolished in the Cedar Rapids area because of the flood, which caused several billions of dollars in damages. More than 4000 members of the Iowa National Guard were called up to assist the city. The temporary levies became saturated not only with the flood waters but also with additional rainfall causing the levies to fail.

Flood of 2016

During the flood of 2016, remnants of Hurricane Paine from the eastern Pacific Ocean via the Gulf of California caused the second highest recorded crest of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids reaching 22 feet (6.7 m) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. The inundation of southern Minnesota, central and western Wisconsin, and northeastern Iowa by Hurricane Paine's remnants began on September 21 and 22 and continued until the end of September 2016. This cresting in Cedar Rapids was below the initial estimate of 25 feet (7.6 m) and the revised estimate of 23 feet (7.0 m), but more than 10 feet (3.0 m) above the flood stage of 12 feet (3.7 m). This flood was above levels considered to have about a 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year. More than 5,000 homes were affected including the flooded areas around Time Check Park, the Czech Village, and the New Bohemia district causing over 5,000 persons to be evacuated. The Cedar Rapids Schools did not have school for a week.

In 2015, the city of Cedar Rapids approved a $625 million flood protection plan over 20 years for levee improvements. Although the improvement to the levee system in Cedar Rapids had not been completed due to over $80 million in funding not appropriated by the United States Congresses of 2014 and 2016 and the voting down by local residents of a temporary increase in the local sales tax to pay for the levee improvements, these students along with the hundreds of thousands of volunteers and 412 Iowa National Guard troops filled more than a quarter of a million sand bags in a successful effort that prevented any major flooding of the city outside of the evacuation zone. A 9.8-mile (15.8 km) system of Hesco barriers, earthen berms, and over 400,000 sand bags were used to plug the gaps in the levee system. The city of Cedar Rapids purchased additional Hesco barriers from Iowa City for $1.4 million. Numerous upstream cities which had been earlier affected by the September flooding and mandatory evacuations including Charles City, Greene, Manchester, Clarksville, Shell Rock, Vinton, Janesville, Cedar Falls and Waterloo sent hundreds of thousands of unused sand bags to support efforts in Cedar Rapids and nearby communities. The remnants of Hurricane Paine did not produce any rain to saturate the temporary earth berms and sand bags, which would have greatly increased the likelihood of breach in the temporary levee structures and thus causing a much greater flooded area; the river crested during very sunny weather in Cedar Rapids. Additionally beginning on the evening of Sunday, September 25, 300 to 400 National Guard troops along with the Iowa State Patrol, other law enforcement agencies, and 60 duly sworn law enforcement officials enforced an 8pm to 7am curfew, nightly.

Geography

The city is divided into four quadrants, used in addressing. 1st Avenue (U.S. Route 151 Business) divides the north and south sides of the city, and the Cedar River divides east and west. Mays Island, in the middle of the river, is the only area of the city where addresses have no quadrant. Areas outside of the city limit that use the "Cedar Rapids" city name on their mailing address also do not use the quadrants.

Except in the downtown area, 1st Avenue and the Cedar River tend to run diagonally instead of along the cardinal directions. Due to the curving of 1st Avenue, there are some areas in western Cedar Rapids where NW addresses are actually south of SW addresses.

Cedar Rapids is divided into fourteen ZIP Codes. Mays Island and the downtown area are covered by 52401. The northeast quadrant is covered by 52402 and 52411. The southeast quadrant is covered by 52403. The southwest quadrant is covered by 52404. The northwest quadrant is covered by 52405. Post office boxes are covered by ZIP codes 52406, 52407, 52408, 52409, and 52410. Several other ZIP codes are for specific business (Aegon USA, Rockwell Collins, etc.).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 72.07 square miles (186.66 km2), of which, 70.8 square miles (183.37 km2) is land and 1.27 square miles (3.29 km2) is water.

Neighborhoods

Czech Village in Cedar Rapids
Czech Village is at the heart of the city's Czech heritage. Pictured is Sykora Bakery which is now open to the public.

There are twelve active neighborhood associations in Cedar Rapids. The neighborhoods nearest downtown include Wellington Heights and Oakhill Jackson in the southeast quadrant and Moundview in the northeast quadrant. Also farther north in the northeast quadrant is the Kenwood Park, which was independent until it was incorporated into the Cedar Rapids city limits, and Noelridge Park neighborhood. The boundaries of Kenwood are 32nd Street to Oakland Road to Old Marion Road to C Avenue to 40th Street then 1st Avenue between 40th street and 32nd Street.

In addition to the neighborhood associations in Cedar Rapids, there are many informal, unofficial neighborhoods, such as Bowman Woods, Vernon Heights, Stoney Point, New Bohemia (NewBo) and Wilderness Estates.

Czech Village is located along 16th Avenue SW, which is south of the Cedar River. It is home to such Czech-related businesses as The Czech Cottage, Sykora Bakery, and Deda and Babi's Antiques. The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is one of the major tourist attractions in Cedar Rapids, and the nearby Bohemian National Cemetery may also be of interest to visitors. The National Czech & Slovak Museum's main building was located directly on the river and was badly damaged by the 2008 floods. 1400 The museum moved a few blocks after the flood to Inspiration Pl SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

The Cedar Rapids Czech Heritage Foundation is one of many local organizations working to promote and preserve Czech heritage in Cedar Rapids. They support and sponsor many programs and events throughout the year. One of these programs is the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa pageant. Two Miss Czech-Slovak US queens can claim this community as home: Lisa Volesky and Stasia Krivanek.

Olga Drahozal was the famed band leader of the Czech Plus Polka Band, a performing group that frequents the Kosek Band Stand in Czech Village. She, along with Bessie Duggena and Leona Poduška, taught Czech School (Česká škola) at Wilson Middle School.

In 2003, the African-American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa opened its doors. Cedar Rapids is also home to the historic 26 acre (105,000 m²) Brucemore Estate, on which sits a 21-room mansion, and the Masonic Library and Museum.

In 2009, Cedar Rapids was rated one of the "Top 10 cities to Grow Up In" in the United States, partly due to a low crime rate and a good public school system.

Climate

Cedar Rapids has a humid continental climate with long, cold, sometimes brutal winters with plenty of snow, while summers are hot and humid, with frequent severe thunderstorms.

The record low temperature in Cedar Rapids is −29 °F (−34 °C), set on January 15, 2009, while the record high temperature of 104 °F (40 °C) was set on July 31, 1988.

Climate data for Cedar Rapids, IA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
(18.3)
67
(19.4)
88
(31.1)
95
(35)
96
(35.6)
100
(37.8)
104
(40)
102
(38.9)
98
(36.7)
92
(33.3)
77
(25)
67
(19.4)
104
(40)
Average high °F (°C) 28
(-2.2)
34
(1.1)
47
(8.3)
61
(16.1)
71
(21.7)
80
(26.7)
84
(28.9)
82
(27.8)
75
(23.9)
62
(16.7)
47
(8.3)
32
(0)
59
(15)
Average low °F (°C) 11
(-11.7)
16
(-8.9)
27
(-2.8)
38
(3.3)
49
(9.4)
57
(13.9)
63
(17.2)
61
(16.1)
51
(10.6)
40
(4.4)
28
(-2.2)
15
(-9.4)
38
(3.33)
Record low °F (°C) −29
(-33.9)
−21
(-29.4)
−20
(-28.9)
1
(-17.2)
25
(-3.9)
39
(3.9)
46
(7.8)
40
(4.4)
27
(-2.8)
18
(-7.8)
−11
(-23.9)
−22
(-30)
−29
(-33.9)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.92
(23.4)
1.27
(32.3)
2.10
(53.3)
3.05
(77.5)
4.15
(105.4)
4.92
(125)
4.46
(113.3)
4.48
(113.8)
3.16
(80.3)
2.62
(66.5)
2.11
(53.6)
1.42
(36.1)
34.66
(880.4)
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.20
(15.75)
6.90
(17.53)
3.10
(7.87)
1.00
(2.54)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.10
(0.25)
1.70
(4.32)
7.80
(19.81)
26.80
(68.07)
Source: http://www.intellicast.com/Local/History.aspx?location=USIA0138

Demographics

Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1860 1,830 —    
1870 5,940 +224.6%
1880 10,104 +70.1%
1890 18,020 +78.3%
1900 25,656 +42.4%
1910 32,811 +27.9%
1920 45,566 +38.9%
1930 56,097 +23.1%
1940 62,120 +10.7%
1950 72,296 +16.4%
1960 92,035 +27.3%
1970 110,642 +20.2%
1980 110,243 −0.4%
1990 108,772 −1.3%
2000 120,758 +11.0%
2010 126,326 +4.6%
2020 137,710 +9.0%
and Iowa Data Center
Source:
U.S. Decennial Census
Cedar RapidsIowaPopPlot
The population of Cedar Rapids, Iowa from US census data
Cedar Rapids Metro
Cedar Rapids metropolitan area. From left: Benton County, Linn County, and Jones County.

The Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of Linn, Benton, and Jones counties. The MSA had a 2000 census population of 237,230, with an estimated 2008 population of 255,452; Linn County was the only county in the MSA before the MSA was redefined after the 2000 census.

As a growing job center, Cedar Rapids pulls commuters from nearby Marion and Hiawatha. Other towns that have become bedroom communities include Ely, Swisher, Shueyville, Palo, Atkins, Fairfax, Walford, Robins and Bertram.

Based on the 2010 American Community Survey 1 Year Estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $51,186, and the median income for a family was $63,265. Males had a median income of $40,413 versus $26,402 for females. The per capita income for the city is $26,370. About 6.3% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under the age of 18 and 4.3% of those 65 or older.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 126,326 people, 53,236 households, and 30,931 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,784.3 people per square mile (688.9/km2). There were 57,217 housing units at an average density of 808.2 per square mile (312.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.98% White, 5.58% African American, 0.31% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 2.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.31% of the population.

There were 53,236 households, of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.

Age spread: 23.5% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.

Arts and culture

Brucemore entrance
Brucemore, Iowa's only National Trust Historic Site, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Cedar Rapids is home to Orchestra Iowa, the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site, among others.

Cedar Rapids is also home to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, The Cedar Rapids Ceramics Center, Legion Art's CSPS Hall, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the African American Historical Museum, Kirkwood Community College's Iowa Hall Gallery, and the legendary Grant Wood Studio at 5 Turner Alley. These Cedar Rapids venues have recently hosted world class and award nominated exhibitions, including the works of Andy Warhol, Grant Wood, and the Iowa Biennial, among others.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses the largest collection of Grant Wood paintings in the world. The 1920s Paramount Theatre is home to the Orchestra Iowa and the Cedar Rapids Area Theatre Organ Society. Concerts and events such as high school graduations, sporting events, exhibitions, and political rallies are held in the U.S. Cellular Center, formerly known as The Five Seasons Center.

Many arts centers in Cedar Rapids sustained severe damage during the June 2008 flood. Among those severely damaged are the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, the National Czech & Slovak Museum, and the African American Historical Museum. Two Wurlitzer organs were damaged, located at the Paramount Theatre and Theatre Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art suffered minor damage. It is expected to cost $25 million to repair the Paramount; Theatre Cedar Rapids reopened in February 2010.

Parks and recreation

Cedar Rapids has over 3,360 acres (13.6 km2) of city owned property for undeveloped green space and recreational use. There are 74 formally named parks or recreational facilities. These include baseball and softball fields, all-weather basketball courts, two frisbee golf courses, sand volleyball courts, the Tuma Soccer Complex, a BMX dirt track, two off-leash dog exercise areas, the Old MacDonald's Farm (a children's zoo), 10 splash pads, and many parks that have pavilions, picnicking areas and restroom facilities. The various trail systems in Cedar Rapids have a total of 24 miles (39 km) for walking, running or bicycling.

The YMCA has had a local chapter since 1868. It has many facilities including Camp Wapsie.

Economy

Cedar Rapids - Roosevelt
The 12-story Roosevelt Hotel was inaugurated in 1927 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of several prospects attracting outside investors to the city.

Cedar Rapids is one of the largest cities in the world for corn processing. The grain processing industry is Cedar Rapids' most important sector, directly providing 4,000 jobs that pay on average $85,000, and also providing 8,000 indirectly. Fortune 500 company Collins Aerospace and trucking company CRST are based in Cedar Rapids, and Aegon has its United States headquarters there. A large Quaker Oats mill, one of the four that merged in 1901 to form Quaker Oats, dominates the north side of downtown. Other large companies that have facilities in Cedar Rapids include Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, General Mills, Toyota Financial Services and Nordstrom. Newspaperarchive, based in Cedar Rapids, is the largest newspaper archive in North America with a repository of more than 150 million pages assembled over 250 years; it was taken offline for two days by the 2008 flood.

Top employers

According to Cedar Rapids' 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the area are:

# Employer Employees
1 Collins Aerospace 9,400
2 Transamerica 3,800
3 St. Luke's Hospital 2,979
4 Cedar Rapids Community School District 2,879
5 Hy-Vee 2,356
6 Nordstrom Direct 2,150
7 Mercy Medical Center 2,140
8 City of Cedar Rapids 1,309
9 Four Oaks 1,100
10 Quaker Oats Company 920

Sports

Cedar Rapids has been home to several sports teams:

  • the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a member of minor league baseball's Midwest League since 1962, are the Class-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins and play at Veterans Memorial Stadium
  • the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are members of the United States Hockey League, playing at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena
  • the Cedar Rapids River Kings played in the Indoor Football League at the U.S. Cellular Center and folded in 2020.
  • the Cedar Rapids Rampage played in the Major Arena Soccer League at the U.S. Cellular Center and folded in 2018.
  • the Iowa Raptors FC are members of the United Premier Soccer League that began play in 2021.

The 15,000-capacity Kingston Stadium is located in Cedar Rapids. It is used for American football and soccer.

The city is also home to the Fifth Season Races, which began just after the running boom. In 1986, a former Iowa State University runner Joseph Kipsang won the popular 8-kilometer race in 23:24 and won $7,000. A few notable runners who have won include Keith Brantly, Janis Klecker, Jeff Jacobs, Kenneth Cheruiyot, and Pasca Myers. The race is not the largest road race in the region and most recently has included both the 8K and a 5K run.

Education

Colleges and universities

Cedar Rapids is home to two four-year colleges, Coe College and Mount Mercy University. The University of Iowa also has an evening MBA facility there. Kirkwood Community College is the area's only two-year college, while Kaplan University (formerly Hamilton College) and Upper Iowa University also have campuses there. Cornell College in Mount Vernon and the University of Iowa's main campus in Iowa City are both within 30 miles (48 km) of Cedar Rapids.

Primary and secondary schools

The Cedar Rapids Community School District is the largest school district in the metropolitan area with an enrollment of 17,263 in the 2006–07 school year. Most of the city is in the district limits. The district contains 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools: Jefferson, Washington, Kennedy, and Metro High School (an alternative high school).

Two neighboring school districts draw students from within the Cedar Rapids city limits. The Linn-Mar Community School District serves part of the northeast quadrant of the city and has seven elementary schools inside the city limits. The College Community School District serves part of the southwest quadrant of Cedar Rapids as well as neighboring rural portions of Linn, Benton and Johnson counties. A central campus off Interstate 380 holds College Community's five elementary schools, Prairie Creek Intermediate, Prairie Point Middle School & Ninth Grade Academy, and Prairie High School. The Marion Independent School District also serves a portion.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Catholic Education System, which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque, consists of four elementary schools, two middle schools, one PK-8 school, and one high school (Xavier). The Cedar Rapids Catholic Education System and Cedar Rapids Community School District are synonymous with each other in the Cedar Rapids Public and Parochial School System.

The city hosts several private schools, including Summit Schools, Cedar Valley Christian School, Trinity Lutheran School, Isaac Newton Christian Academy, Faith Christian Learning Center, and Good Shepherd Lutheran School of the WELS.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Cedar Rapids is served by Cedar Rapids Transit, consisting of an extensive bus system and taxi service. Cedar Rapids Transit operates scheduled bus service throughout the city and to Marion and Hiawatha. A series of enclosed pedestrian skywalks connect several downtown buildings.

The city is also served by The Eastern Iowa Airport (formerly known as the Cedar Rapids Airport), a regional airport that connects with other regional and international airports. Cedar Rapids Transit and private bus lines also connect at the airport.

Interstate 380, part of the Avenue of the Saints, runs north–south through Cedar Rapids. U.S. Highways 30, 151, and 218 and Iowa Highway 13 and Iowa Highway 100 also serve the city.

Cedar Rapids is served by four major railroads. They are the Union Pacific, the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway (Crandic), the Canadian National, and the Iowa Northern Railway Company [IANR]. The Iowa Northern Railway has its headquarters in the historic Paramount Theater Building. The Crandic and the Iowa Interstate Railroad also are headquartered in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Interstate reaches the city via the Crandic tracks, running a daily train from Iowa City, Iowa to Cedar Rapids. Until the 1960s the city had been a major hub for passenger trains. Union Station and Milwaukee Depot served the city, with trains originating in all directions from major cities of the West and the Midwest. Passenger service by the Milwaukee Road continued to neighboring Marion until 1971.

Cedar Rapids is linked to other Midwestern cities by the Burlington Trailways bus hub at the Eastern Iowa Airport.

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