CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) - After a four year wait, The History Center in Cedar Rapids is ready to open in a new historic location. The Douglas Mansion on Second Avenue SE is a local artifact by itself, but now filled with new exhibits of local history, the staff and volunteers with the center are excited to throw open the doors for the grand opening on Saturday. Executive Director Jason Wright says it's a great combination, " There was an overall shout of hurrah in that someone was going to save this important building, the last mansion on Mansion Hill. The whole magic of the Douglas Mansion is that we are going to be able to serve more people. "
Wright says with incredible support from the community The History Center was able to pay for the renovations in cash and secure its financial future. Historian Mark Stoffer Hunter says he's ecstatic to finally have a place where people can come to experience and interpret their local history. Current interactive displays range from the impact of railroads on Linn County, to the early challenges faced by area farmers, to photos of the Cherry Sisters on stage. Effie, Addie and Jessie were known as the worst entertainment act in the country and legend has it a net was put up in front of the stage to protect them from rotten vegetables and fruit thrown by the audience.
Windows and some other elements of The History Center were designed by a guy who just happened to be working next door in an art studio - Grant Wood. You can also learn about the industrialization of Cedar Rapids and how the brother of the original mansion owner was among the lost in the 1912 Titanic disaster. Stoffer Hunter says it's history within history, " I mean there are just so many layers of storytelling within the structure itself that we are simply just the latest chapter. If you never got a chance to see us at our older locations, now is the time to come. Please, please, please enjoy what we have here."
The events and times for the Saturday celebration are listed below:
THE HISTORY CENTER GRAND OPENING
Saturday, October 13 2018
The history of The History Center begins on Saturday, October 13 at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting at the Douglas Mansion (800 Second Avenue SE), the organization’s new home. Your continued support of The History Center has made this day possible, so we sincerely hope you will join us for a day of celebration!
All opening day admissions and activities are free thanks to the generosity of Mike and Esther Wilson. Food trucks will be onsite all day and free parking will be available in the PCI parking ramp
Telling the story of Linn County from its earliest days to the present.
Pieced Together: Linn County Quilts of Fellowship
This exhibit will highlight The History Center’s collection of quilts as they relate to community and friendship. Drawing on family connections and civic minded groups, the quilts displayed illustrate how people from Linn County represented their relationships through quilting.
A History of Shive-Hattery
Established in 1895, Shive-Hattery has a long history in Linn County. This exhibit provides a glimpse into a history that spans over 120 years of engineering and architectural business.
Outdoor Stage Entertainment:
Deep Dish Divas: Dishin' up an eclectic mix of vintage novelties, folk, swing, traditional, a cappella, and more.
Timmothy Palmersheim with Nikki Stewart: Longtime friends and performers Timmothy and Nikki join forces to present unique twists on songs that you know and love as well as surprises.
Brass Transit Authority: Performing hits from Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Van Morrison, and others.
Authentic Linn County Ghost Stories: Told by History Center historian Mark Stoffer Hunter around a campfire (with free s’mores!).
Pilcher Program Room (Indoor) Entertainment: