CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — When white settlers first arrived in what is now Cedar Rapids, the Sac and Fox, Winnebago and other indigenous tribes had already long-inhabited the area along the Cedar River.
Osgood Shepherd maintained he was the first settler, building a log cabin near the present-day “Tree of Five Seasons” monument, according to the city’s website, and making the first property deal involving land rights in what would become Cedar Rapids.
A display in Cedar Rapids City Hall, 101 First St. SE, marks 175 years of the city’s history. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Prior to official incorporation with the state, the town was named Columbus in 1838, and Rapids City in 1841. Finally, it was renamed Cedar Rapids and incorporated with the state of Iowa on Jan. 15, 1849, taking its name from the Red Cedar River that runs through the community.
Cedar Rapids leaders and staff joined together at City Hall on Jan. 11, 2024, to commemorate the city’s 175th anniversary and dedicate a time capsule to be opened in 50 years.
City Manager Jeff Pomeranz speaks to the gathering at City Hall to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
City Manager Jeff Pomeranz noted that the first Census, in 1850, recorded 341 residents, which has grown to nearly 140,000 today.
Pomeranz referenced the history of Cedar Rapids City Hall — built from 1931-1933 — that previously served as a post office, with post office boxes preserved, and a federal courthouse.
Post office boxes were retained in Cedar Rapids City Hall. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
“We created a building that serves us today very, very well and we believe will serve in the future in a very effective way,” he said.
Mayor Pro-tem Ann Poe cited Czechs among the groups who immigrated to Cedar Rapids to help build the city.
Mayor Pro-tem Ann Poe speaks during the 175th anniversary celebration of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Poe noted that the contents of the time capsule will be sealed inside a wooden case, specially made by city employees, that will remain in City Hall to be opened on the city’s 225th anniversary in 2074.
Contents that Poe said will “serve as a snapshot in time” include: the Tree of Five Seasons emblem; a 175th anniversary T-shirt; a series of white papers about future city projects; results of the 2022 community survey; the fiscal 2024 budget book; the November 2023 edition of “Our CR” magazine; “Welcome is our language” memorabilia and a copy of the Jan. 11, 2024 Gazette.
See more photos from the 175th anniversary of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, below: