New Book Explores ‘Lost Cedar Rapids’
A new book about Cedar Rapids provides a wonderful, historical look at the city. It's called Lost Cedar Rapids and explores some of the city's most famous, and fun venues of the past, historic neighborhoods, and much more.
Lost Cedar Rapids, written by Peter Looney and released by Arcadia Publishing, has a huge section on dance halls and ballrooms, including the Armar Ballroom (Please note, the photo above is not included in the book). Armar Ballroom was built in 1948 by Tom Archer. According to the book, Archer
used the first two letters of his last name and the first three letters of the town of Marion to create the name "Armar."... It was built right next to Ce-Mar Acres, which had just converted the old Cedar Park Ballroom into a roller-skating rink.
Armar Ballroom closed for good on New Year's Eve, 1976. A Carlos O'Kelly's restaurant is now where it once sat, however, the Armar name has lived on. Armar Drive runs by the building, and the Armar Plaza is just across the street.
Lost Cedar Rapids also tells the story of other wildly popular ballrooms, including Danceland, likely Cedar Rapids' most famous. It hosted events in downtown Cedar Rapids from 1926 through early 1968.
Cedar Rapids has an incredibly rich history of theaters and opera houses, as well, all described in detail. The book includes a photo of the Majestic Theatre, which clearly was perfectly named. The interior photo reminds me of the Paramount Theatre, except it had two balconies. The Paramount has just one.
Lost Cedar Rapids, published in late-August, also looks at the history of everything from bowling alleys to roller-skating rinks, amusement parks, racetracks, and sports teams. Cedar Rapids' districts from Czech Village to Time Check are also featured, along with Cedar Rapids' famous May's Island.
The front cover of the 192-page book showcases a 1910 photo of the BCCR&N and Rock Island Depot, along First Avenue (below).