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Cedar Rapids ( ) is the second largest city in the U.S. state of Iowamarker and is the county seat of Linn Countymarker. The city lies on both banks of the Cedar River, north of Iowa Citymarker and east of Des Moinesmarker, the largest city and state's capital. City Hall and the County Courthouse are located on Mays Islandmarker, on the Cedar River, Downtown. Cedar Rapids is one of few cities in the world with governmental offices on a municipal island.

A flourishing center for arts and culture in Eastern Iowa, the city is home to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Artmarker, the Paramount Theatremarker, Theatre of Cedar Rapids and the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance.Cedar Rapids is an economic hub of the state, located in the core of the Interstate 380 Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Technology Corridor of Linnmarker, Bentonmarker, Jonesmarker, Johnsonmarker, and Washingtonmarker counties.The estimated population of the three-county Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes nearby cities of Marionmarker and Hiawathamarker, was 255,452 in 2008.The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 128,056 in 2008. The Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor has an estimated population of 423,353 as of 2006.

Cedar Rapids has been residence to famous figures for the United States, including American Gothic painter Grant Wood, journalist and historian William L. Shirer, writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten, and aerodynamics pioneer Dr. Alexander Lippisch.In the 1990s and 2000s, Hollywood would feature several Cedar Rapidians including actors Ashton Kutcher, Elijah Wood and Ron Livingston. The city is also the setting for a musical, "The Pajama Game" .

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


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. The river 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 June 2008, the Cedar River surpassed the 500-year flood plain and placed an estimated 1300 city blocks, or , on both banks of the river under water. Nearly 4,000 homes were evacuated. The Cedar River reached a record high of on June 14, 2008. Over 300 homes are to be destroyed in the Cedar Rapids area.(see Iowa flood of 2008)

Second Avenue SE in downtown Cedar Rapids looking towards the Cedar River.


The city is divided into four quadrants. For addresses, 1st Avenue (Business Highway 151) divides the north and south sides of the city, and the Cedar River divides east and west. The quadrants are labeled NE, SE, NW and SW. A street address in Cedar Rapids usually consists of the house number, the street name, and the quadrant. For example, 123 Example St NW. The only exceptions are government addresses on Mays Islandmarker and locations outside the city limits but which use Cedar Rapids in their mailing address, which have no quadrant label.

Except in the downtown area, 1st Avenue and the Cedar River tend to run diagonally instead of straight north/south/east/west. (In fact, 1st Avenue briefly runs directly west-east on the west side of the city, SW to NE in the middle, and south-north on the east side.) Thus, the area designated NE is geographically the northern section of the city; NW the western; SE the eastern; and SW the southern. As a result, 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.).

The Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of Linnmarker, Bentonmarker, and Jonesmarker 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 MSA definitions were redefined after the 2000 census.)

As a growing job center, Cedar Rapids pulls commuters from nearby Marionmarker and Hiawathamarker which have become suburbs though they are old incorporated towns. Other towns that have become bedroom communities include Elymarker, Swishermarker, Shueyvillemarker, Palomarker, Atkinsmarker, Fairfaxmarker, Walfordmarker, Robinsmarker and Bertrammarker.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 64.4 square miles (166.8 km²), of which, 63.1 square miles (163.5 km²) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.3 km²) of it (1.99%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 120,758 people, 49,820 households, and 30,838 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,912.6 people per square mile (738.4/km²). There were 52,240 housing units at an average density of 827/sq mi (319/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.86% White, 3.71% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.77% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.71% of the population.

There were 49,820 households out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,704, and the median income for a family was $54,286. Males had a median income of $37,217 versus $26,251 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,589. About 4.9% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Cedar Rapids is 90 percent non-Hispanic white, but has a notably large growing minority population. There are Asian (such as Cambodian arrived in the 1980s), Arab-American and Hispanic communities after an influx of immigrants came for available work in the 1990s. The region has a scattered number of African Americans and they are active in civic life, and an Indian settlement of the Sac and Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa to the West. The city itself has large numbers of ethnic European ancestry, such as Germans (an estimated 30 percent), Czechs (over 10 percent alone), Slovaks, Croatians, Serbs, Russians, Dutch, Danish, Swedes and French (from either France and Canada).

Muslim Heritage

Cedar Rapids has played an important role in Muslim culture in the United States. The National Muslim Cemetery on of land donated by Haj. Yahya William Aossey in 1948 is said to be the first exclusively Muslim cemetery in the United States (it is unrelated to the United States military National Cemetery system). Graves in the cemetery face Meccamarker. The Mother Mosque of Americamarker dedicated on June 16, 1934 was one of the first permanent structures built specifically to serve as a mosque in the United States. In 1972 another newer mosque was built and the original mosque was sold and was to fall into disrepair before being purchased in 1990 by the Islamic Council of Iowa and renovated. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Iowa flood of 2008 extensively damaged the basement destroying several historic documents.

Muslim presence in Cedar Rapids dates to 1895 when the first immigrants arrived from the Beqaa Valley in today's Lebanonmarker and Syriamarker. Organizations now claim to have the oldest running organization in the United States of granting Halal certificates (for Iowa food products).

The 12-story Roosevelt Hotel was built 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 the largest corn-processing city in the world. 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. Cedar Rapids is home to several large businesses and industries, including General Mills, Cargill, Alliant Energy, GE Commercial Finance, Rockwell Collins, Quaker Oats, AEGON, United Fire and Casualty, Toyota Financial Services, PAETEC, Archer Daniels Midland, Qwest, GreatAmerica Leasing, RuffaloCODY, PMX, Nordstrommarker, Square D, Diamond V Mills, and CRST International.

Rockwell Collins made the Fortune 500 for the first time in 2009, ranking 488th. Although many of these companies have been located in Cedar Rapids for quite some time, a larger number of high-tech industries are locating in or around Cedar Rapids because it is part of the Technology Corridor, a region of the state that also includes the Iowa Citymarker metro area to the south. Much of Iowa's technological businesses and industries operate from this corridor. Since a diversification of the local economy, the unemployment rate has held at a reasonable rate and wages are consistently among the highest in the state.

Among the technology companies is Newspaperarchive which through its Cedar Rapids parent Heritage Microfilm is the largest newspaper archive in North America (with a repository of more than 150 million pages assembled over 250 years).


Cedar Rapids is home to The Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, 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 Artmarker, Legion Art's CSPS Museum, the National Czech & Slovak Museummarker, the African American Historical Museum, Kirkwood Community Collegemarker'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 Artmarker houses the largest collection of Grant Wood paintings in the world. The 1920s Paramount Theatremarker is home to the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra 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.marker Cellular Centermarker, 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.


Cedar Rapids is home of the minor-league baseball team Cedar Rapids Kernels, a member of the Midwest League since 1962. The Kernels are a Class-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The ice hockey team Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are a member of the USHL and were once Clark Cup Champions. There is also a junior hockey league, the Cedar Rapids Hockey Association, with mini-mite-high school teams. Sports facilities include Veterans Memorial Stadiummarker for baseball, Kingston Stadium for football and track, the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena for hockey, Hawkeye Downs Speedway, a half-mile paved racetrack featuring weekly racing and national and regional touring series as well as a motocross arena, and the U.S.marker Cellular Centermarker (formerly the Five Seasons Center) for basketball. This arena also hosts the Iowa High School volleyball championships and many concerts.Cedar Rapids is also home to the high competitive "metro" athletic teams, representing Jefferson, Washington, Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Xavier, and Prairie high schools.Cedar Rapids is also the birth place of NASCAR Nationwide's 2008 RAYBESTO's Rookie Of The Year Landon Cassill.


Veterans Memorial Building, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Also called City Hall.
From April 6, 1908, to December 31, 2005, Cedar Rapids used the city commission form of government. It was one of the few larger American cities remaining to operate under this model. Under this form of government, the council was made up of a public safety commissioner, a streets commissioner, a finance commissioner, a parks commissioner, and a mayor. The council members worked on a full-time basis, served two year terms, and were considered department heads. The last mayor of Cedar Rapids under this form of government was Paul Pate.

In 2005 the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a movement to change from the commission form of government. A panel was appointed by Mayor Pate and the City Council to study the issue, and recommended that voters be presented with three options:
  • Stay with the current commission form of government.
  • Adopt a "strong mayor form" where the council would be part time, the mayor would be full time, and a city manager would run the day to day affairs of the city.
  • Adopt a "weak mayor form" of government, in this form the mayor and council would both work on a part-time basis. A full-time city manager would run the day-to-day operations of the city.
On June 14, 2005, voters went to the polls to decide whether to adopt a new form of government or continue with the commission form. This time, with very low turnout, 17,064 voted to change the government and 7,741 voted for the existing commission form. Elections were held on November 8, 2005 and 30 candidates ran. Kay Halloran, a retired attorney and state legislator, became the first mayor elected under the new system. Several members of the city council were elected outright; however, the remaining races were close enough to require a runoff election, which took place in December.

Cedar Rapids now has an Iowa "Home Rule" charter which establishes a weak mayor system with a part-time City Council and Mayor both on four year terms. The eight-member Council is divided into five districts. One council member is elected from each district and the remaining three members are elected on an at-large basis. The mayor's salary is $30,000 and each member's is $15,000.

The Council and Mayor hired Jim Prosser as City Manager in the summer of 2006. Prior to hiring Prosser, James Flitz, formerly the City Attorney, served as interim City Manager. Department directors report to the City Manager, who has authority over employment, except in the case of the Police and Fire Chiefs, which require Council approval. The first meeting of the Council was held on January 3, 2006.

Mayors of Cedar Rapids since 1969
Mayor Period
Don Canney 1969-1992
Larry Serbousek 1992-1995
Lee Clancey 1995-2002
Paul Pate 2002-2006
Kay Halloran (D) 2006-2009
Ron Corbett (R) 2010-
  • Under Iowa law, municipal elections are non-partisan.


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

Czech Village is located along 16th Avenue SW which is south of the Cedar River. It is home to such Czech-related businesses as Zindrick's Czech Restaurant,Boženka's, Czech Feather & Down Company, and Czech Cottage. The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Librarymarker is one of the major tourist attractions in Cedar Rapids.

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 USA queens can claim this community as home: Lisa Volesky and Stasia Krivanek.

Olga Drahozal is the famed band leader of the Czech Plus Polka Band, a performing group that frequents the Kosek Band Stand. 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 Estatemarker, on which sits a 21-room mansion and the Masonic Library and Museum.

There are twelve active neighborhood associations in Cedar Rapids. These include Wellington Heights and Moundview Heights on the south side. In the Northeast is the Kenwood neighborhood, which was independent until incorporated in the Cedar Rapids city limits. 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, and Wilderness Estates.


Cedar Rapids is home to two four-year colleges: Coe Collegemarker and Mount Mercy Collegemarker. The University of Iowamarker also has an evening MBA facility there. Kirkwood Community Collegemarker is the area's only two-year college, while Kaplan Universitymarker (formerly Hamilton Collegemarker) and Upper Iowa Universitymarker also have campuses there. Cornell Collegemarker in Mount Vernonmarker and the University of Iowa's main campus in Iowa Citymarker are both within of Cedar Rapids.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District is the largest school district in the metropolitan area with an enrollment of 17,263 in the 2006-2007 school year. The district contains 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools: Jeffersonmarker, Washingtonmarker, Kennedymarker, and Metro High Schoolmarker(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 Linnmarker, Bentonmarker and Johnsonmarker counties. College Community's four elementary schools, Prairie Middle School, and Prairie High Schoolmarker are all located in a central campus off Interstate 380.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Catholic Education System, which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque, consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school (Xaviermarker). 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 Cedar Valley Christian Schoolmarker, Trinity Lutheran School, Holloway House, and Isaac Newton Christian Academy.

Home schooling is a popular educational option in the area, and several support groups exist for home-schooling families. Area school districts also offer home school assistance programs.


Cedar Rapids is served by The Eastern Iowa Airportmarker (formerly known as the Cedar Rapids Airport), a regional airport that connects with other regional and international airports.

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, Iowamarker to Cedar Rapids.

The city is also served by Cedar Rapids Transit consisting of an extensive bus system and taxis, as well as a series of skywalks connecting several downtown buildings for foot traffic.

Cedar Rapids is connected to many cities in the Midwest by Burlington Trailways.



Cedar Rapids' radio market, which consists of Linn County, is ranked 211th by Arbitron with 172,000 listeners aged 12 and older.

Clear Channel Communications owns four stations in the Cedar Rapids area, including WMT 600 AM, a news/talk station that has broadcast since 1922. Clear Channel also owns WMT-FM 96.5, a hot adult contemporary station; KMJMmarker 1360 AM, a sports radio station; and KKSY 95.7 FM, a country music station. Cumulus Media owns four stations in Cedar Rapids: KDATmarker 104.5 FM (adult contemporary), KHAKmarker 98.1 FM (country music), KRNA 94.1 FM (active rock), and KRQN 107.1 (oldies). Three other stations in Cedar Rapids are independently owned: KZIA 102.9 FM (contemporary hits), KGYM 1600 AM (sports radio), and KMRYmarker 1450 AM (adult standards). Several stations from Waterloomarker and Iowa Citymarker also figure into ratings in Cedar Rapids. These stations include KFMW 107.9 FM, otherwise known as Rock 108 with an active rock format and KOKZ 105.7 FM which has a classic hits format. Both stations are located in Waterloo. Clear Channel owned KKRQ 100.7 FM and it's classic rock format is the Iowa City station that is typically highly rated in Cedar Rapids.

The only non-commercial station licensed to Cedar Rapids is KCCKmarker 88.3 FM, a jazz station licensed to Kirkwood Community Collegemarker. KXGM-FMmarker 89.1 is a non-commercial contemporary Christian music station licensed to neighboring Hiawatha. NPR stations from Cedar Fallsmarker (KUNI marker 90.9 FM) and Iowa City (KSUImarker 91.7 FM and WSUImarker 910 AM) reach Cedar Rapids.


The Cedar Rapids-Waterloomarker-Iowa Citymarker-Dubuquemarker media market consists of 21 eastern Iowa counties: Allamakeemarker, Bentonmarker, Black Hawkmarker, Bremermarker, Buchananmarker, Butlermarker, Cedarmarker, Chickasawmarker, Claytonmarker, Delawaremarker, Dubuquemarker, Fayettemarker, Grundymarker, Iowamarker, Johnsonmarker, Jonesmarker, Keokukmarker, Linnmarker, Tamamarker, Washingtonmarker, and Winneshiekmarker. It is ranked 88th by Nielsen Media Research for the 2008-2009 television season with 346,330 television households.

Cedar Rapids is home to four network-affiliated stations: KGANmarker channel 2 (CBS), KCRGmarker channel 9 (ABC), KFXAmarker channel 28 (Fox), and KPXRmarker channel 48 (ION). NBC affiliate KWWLmarker channel 7 is based in Waterloo but maintains a newsroom inside the Alliant Energy tower in downtown Cedar Rapids. Other stations in the market are KWKBmarker channel 20 (CW/MyNetwork TV), licensed to Iowa City; KWWFmarker channel 22 (RTN), licensed to Waterloo; and KFXBmarker channel 40 (CTN), licensed to Dubuque. Public television is provided by Iowa Public Television, which has two stations in the area: KIIN channel 12 in Iowa City and KRIN channel 32 in Waterloo. Mediacom and local company ImOn Communications provide cable television service to Cedar Rapids.


The Gazette is the primary daily newspaper for Cedar Rapids.


There are two hospitals in Cedar Rapids. St. Luke'smarker and Mercy Medical Centermarker.

Notable natives


  1. Tom Savage (2007). "a dictionary of Iowa place-names."
  2. Islamic Services of America! Located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? Yes! Why Iowa? - Islamic Services of America - Retrieved June 17, 2008
  3. - History
  4. History of Islam in Iowa - The Islamic Center - Retrieved June 18, 2008
  5. Home Rule Charter
  6. Former state lawmaker wins Cedar Rapids mayor race

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