ROAD TRIPPIN' Cedar Rapids: Czech Village
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - The chimes echoing through the neighborhood give visitors reason to glance up at the massive clock tower, framed by bright orange lilies near the base. Time has not stood still in the Czech Village, but the best of the old world is definitely still here. Steeped in history, this began as a place most people just passed through. It was on the way to the slaughter house that brought so many European immigrants to Cedar Rapids to find good jobs in the late 1800s. Farmers passed through the area on their way to New Bohemia and finally after the addition of a new bridge across the river, workers began to build their homes in what is now the Czech Village. Hard working Czech and Slovak families settled and established their own school, grocery store, meat market and even gymnastics. Today the neighborhood surrounding 16th Avenue is an amazing mix of the old and new. Sykora's Bakery has survived and thrived as one of the best bakeries in the state. Not much has changed here in generations. The fruit filled glass cases are as tempting as they were 100 years ago, with trays of peach, blueberry, poppy seed, cherry and every other flavor of kolache you can imagine. But a few doors down, the new kid on the block is bringing in a new brand of customer. Lion Bridge Brewing started mixing its hops and grains in giant stainless steel vats about one year ago. It's become an instant classic. The business is tripling its brewing capacity, just added a new chef and is about to expand one of the best outdoor patio spaces in town to allow even more people to gather under huge shade trees. Owner Quinton McClain says the best part is the mix of businesses in the Czech Village seems to be helping everyone. He says his new customers are enjoying a brew and then taking a walk around the neighborhood to check out antique shops, bakeries and other stores, while the regular customers at those businesses are coming by to find out if there might just be a beverage to their liking at Lion Bridge. Add that to the rich story told in the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library and you have a day trip that offers everything a family could want.