This Cedar Rapids Building Collapsed During Construction, Killing Seven
This downtown Cedar Rapids building has been on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly forty years, but tragedy struck when it was being built.
In mid-November of 1913, the building that stands at the corner of 4th Avenue and 3rd Street in downtown Cedar Rapids was under construction. Now known as the Iowa Building, it was called the Lyman Building at that time.
Gazette archives show that workers were on top of the building around mid-afternoon on Friday, November 14, 1913, when the roof collapsed. Parts of each floor of the seven-story building collapsed and in less than 30 seconds, part of the basement was filled with rubble. The debris pile stood at least a story high. The collapse was caused by "faulty and insufficient falsework in supporting concrete," according to Gazette archives.
A total of 30 construction workers were in the building when the tragic collapse happened. Seven people were killed, and three were injured. Somehow, 20 managed to escape injury. KCRG reports that it was about a week before the last person was removed from the debris.
After a lengthy delay in construction, the Lyman Building was completed approximately a year after the collapse. When it was finished, it was renamed the Iowa Building. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
On July 24, 2020, the exterior cornice of the 4th Avenue side of the building all fell to the sidewalk and street below. Thankfully, it happened at approximately 10:45 p.m. and no one was injured. You can see photos taken following last summer's event below.