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Save CR Heritage is celebrating five years of promoting preservation in Cedar Rapids with a tour of restored New Bo buildings

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CR Hearts Tour

Lunak House in Cedar Rapids — Saturday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m.

The restored Lunak House in Cedar Rapids’ New Bo District. — photo by Cindy Hadish

On Saturday, Save CR Heritage will be hosting a tour of historic properties in the south end of Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia District.

“All of these buildings were flooded in 2008,” Cindy Hadish of Save CR Heritage told Little Village. “A couple of them were even condemned by the city, so they didn’t stand much of a chance, but people brought them back and restored them. That’s why we wanted to highlight them.”

The tour will also mark the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Save CR Heritage, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and raising awareness about historic buildings in Cedar Rapids.

“To celebrate that anniversary, we thought it would be good to show what is possible when people care about historic buildings,” Hadish said.

The CR Hearts Tour starts at the Lunak House (213 13th Ave. SE) at 3 p.m. The house, which was built in 1915 by Bohemian immigrants, is also the first stop on the tour. From there, participants will be able to choose which of the properties to visit next. Each of the six properties will have hosts to explain the history of the building to visitors.

Hadish said she expects the White Elephant building to be of a particular interest to tour participants.

The restored and relocated White Elephant building. — photo by Cindy Hadish

“A lot of people will remember it as a second-hand clothing store,” she explained. “But it started out a jewelry shop, built by Bohemian immigrants. It was during the Great Depression it became a second-hand clothing store, and it remained one for decades.”

Badly damaged by the 2008 flood, the White Elephant building was scheduled for destruction, when it was purchased by Beth DeBoom, then-president of Save CR Heritage.

“It was an eleventh-hour rescue of a really neat building,” Hadish said. “It was moved down the street from its previous location in New Bo. It’s now going to go back to being a jewelry store.”

Saturday’s tour will be the first opportunity for the public to get a look inside the restored White Elephant.

The buildings housing Mad Modern and Little House Artifacts are both featured on the tour, and both businesses will have special offers for tour participants.

At the conclusion of the two-hour tour period, there will be a social hour at the Ideal Social Hall (213 16th Ave. SE). The social hour will feature appetizers and a cash bar, as well as a presentation on the buildings of the New Bo District.

“After the social hour ends, we’re encouraging people to go out and enjoy the various bars and restaurants in the district,” Hadish said.

Tornado’s Grub & Pub, Little Bohemia and Kickstand will be offering tour-goers special discounts. All three will have their historic buildings featured on the tour.

Tickets for the tour are $10 will be available between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Lunak House.


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