City of Coralville News

Posted on: January 30, 2015

Coralville Recognized for Preservation of Old Town Hall

Coralville Recognized for Preservation of Old Town Hall

At a ceremony at the Iowa City Public Library on Thursday, January 29, 2015, Coralville Mayor John A. Lundell accepted an award for historic preservation from the Johnson County Historic Preservation Commission. The award, presented by Commission Chair Jennifer Price, recognizes the City’s restoration work on the Coralville Union Ecclesiastical Church/Old Town Hall.

During the week of May 20, 2014, Old Town Hall was relocated from 406 2nd Avenue to 407 5th Street, along Biscuit Creek and across from the 1876 Schoolhouse, to allow for continued construction in the mixed-use Old Town project.

Work on Old Town Hall will continue during the spring and early summer of 2015, including utility connections, minor repairs, building access, and the addition of parking and air conditioning.

History of Old Town Hall
Old Town Hall was built as the Coralville Union Ecclesiastical Church in the early 1880s on land donated by the Charles E. Robinson family. This was the second church in Coralville, built after the first burned. Pioneer residents donated time, labor, and materials for construction of the brick structure.

According to the Articles of Incorporation of the Coralville Union Ecclesiastical Society, any orthodox church was allowed the use of the church for religious meetings, and the basement of the church could be used for council meetings, socials, or as a town hall.

In 1921, the building was no longer used for church services and was sold to the town for $2,500. It was then used as a school before undergoing renovation in 1953, when it was fully occupied by the town for meetings and offices, including water billing, police, and public works.

The building was transferred to private ownership and was first relocated from 405 to 406 2nd Avenue, from the east side of the street to the west side, at the time of the development of River View Square in the 1990s. Because the building was literally moved across the street, the original front door became the back door, and a new front entrance was built. Since part of the original structure was built into the ground, the base of the building’s lower level was lost with the move.

Following flooding in 2008, the City again took ownership of the building and it was leased as a photography studio until its 2014 move. It now stands across from the 1876 schoolhouse, creating a historic entrance to the City’s Old Town district.

Reimagine 5th
Along with the relocation and restoration of Old Town Hall, the 5th Street corridor from 1st Avenue to 10th Avenue in Coralville has been the focus of several recent projects, with more to come. The City invites the public to “Reimagine 5th: Rethink. Reconstruct. Renew.,” as 5th Street undergoes numerous enhancement projects.

In 2013, work was completed on flood protection berms; development of ponds for storm water quality and management; refurbishment of the 1876 schoolhouse; and construction of additional trails along 5th Street. In 2014, work began on the Old Town development, which includes over 40 townhomes and more than 100 residential condominiums, and was planned in conjunction with permanent flood protection to a level of one foot above the 2008 flood. Also in 2014, construction began on 808 on 5th, a mixed use building at 8th Avenue and 5th Street. Both Old Town and 808 on 5th include commercial space, adding additional reasons for residents and visitors to spend time on 5th Street.

In 2015, the City will reconstruct 5th Street in the Biscuit Creek area as a final flood protection measure in the neighborhood; and reconstruct the segment from 6th Avenue to 10th Avenue, including new paving and relocation of overhead private utilities to underground. Reconstruction will also include new sidewalks and streetscape improvements, such as lighting and landscaping, from 1st Avenue to 10th Avenue.

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