Celebrate Coralville's History
Each year, from 2013 until Coralville's 150th birthday in 2023, Coralville unveils a special limited edition, individually-numbered commemorative button. The annual button highlights a location, event, or person significant to Coralville's history.
Purchase a 2023 Button
Two hundred and fifty individually-numbered pins are on sale at Coralville City Hall, 1512 7th St., while supplies last.
- $3.00 per button
- $15.00 for all 11 buttons (2013-2023)
About the 2023 Button
The logo for Coralville's 150th anniversary was created to uniquely reflect our rich history and bright future.
- The coral in the upper left corner represents our city's namesake. The town was christened "Coralville" for the fossilized corals found in natural rock exposures along the Iowa River, including where the foundation was dug for mills along the river in the 1800s.
- The wheel in the lower left corner represents Coralville's biking and recreational trails, as well as the river-powered mills of Coralville's early days. It also represents the Mormon pioneers who stayed in Coralville in 1856 and 1857, preparing for a 1,300 mile journey from the Midwest to Utah, towing their belongings in handcarts.
- The tree symbolizes Coralville's many parks and open spaces, and the growth of our community.
- Fireworks in the upper right corner represent our community's festivals and celebrations, including Coralville's 4thFest fireworks.
- The iconic 1876 schoolhouse in the lower right corner, with its native limestone foundation and cast iron star claps, was where generations of children in Coralville went to school; it is on the National Register of Historic Places and still sits on 5th Street.
- The vibrant colors of the logo represent the diversity of our community and Coralville's bright future.
About the button artwork: The Coralville Strip on Highway 6
Sometime after 1950, the stretch of U.S. Highway 6 through Coralville became known as "The Strip." It developed into a major thoroughfare for travelers as automobile travel and tourism increased, and became well-populated with motels, restaurants, service stations, and businesses. "The Strip" had a considerable impact on Coralville's growth, and remains an important part of Coralville today.
With mid-century style graphics, the logo is a nod to the early years of The Strip. The sign mimics the sign of the Carousel Inn and Restaurant -- which was previously another local landmark, Loghry's Drive-In and Cafe -- at the corner of 1st Avenue and Highway 6. The Strip was known for the mixture of business signs that popped up along Highway 6 against a backdrop of utility poles along the roadway.
Coralville history: An example of a Coralville business on Highway 6
For long-running and current businesses, Harry’s Custom Trophies has been in Coralville, and always located on Highway 6, since 1957. The Manary family has owned and operated it since 1971, marking over 50 years of family ownership.
Here is the history, according to the current owners, Kevin and Rick Manary:
- 1957: Harry’s Custom Trophies was opened by Harry and June Malichky out of their home at 2425 2nd Street (this is the location of the strip mall where Subway, Verizon, Red Ginger, etc. stand today). The business was then sold to a group of attorneys who had Bill Jennings manage it run it until Bill was eventually able to buy it from them. The years of these transactions are unknown. It remained Harry’s Custom Trophies by name and location. A building was added to the property that became the shop.
- 1971: Jim and Carol Manary purchased the business, buildings, and property from Bill Jennings and kept the name Harry’s Custom Trophies. They remained at 2425 2nd Street but moved the business back into the home. The Manary’s never lived in the home.
- 1989: Koffron Cabinets purchased the home, building, and property -- but not the business -- from Jim and Carol Manary.
- July 1989: Jim and Carol moved to the current location of 1725 2nd Street.
Congratulations to the Manary family for their contributions to Coralville. Harry's Custom Trophies has served the City of Coralville throughout the years for our signage, trophy, and plaque needs.
About the Button Artwork: Iowa River Power Building
The historic Iowa River Power Building is located along the Iowa River at 1st Avenue and 5th Street.
In 1886, the Iowa City Electric Light Company was established and permanently installed in Coralville. The plant was rebuilt in 1894, destroyed by fire in 1899, and rebuilt.
In 1904, the company had lighting and power service in the Iowa City business district, and no more than a dozen residence customers. In 1909, the franchise for installation of lighting for Coralville was obtained by the Iowa City Electric Light Company.
In 1912, the name was changed to Iowa City Light and Power Company.
In 1934, natural gas was piped to boilers at the Coralville plant and to Coralville and University Heights, and in 1936 Iowa City received natural gas.
The name was changed to Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric Company in 1940.
On December 31, 1968, operations ceased; the dam was no longer needed to produce power. In 1969, the building was sold to the City of Coralville for one dollar. In 1971, the City of Coralville sold building and land. In 1977, the Iowa River Power Company Restaurant opened.
Walch, Timothy. "Images of America: Coralville." Arcadia Publishing, 2015.
"Lest We Forget: Coralville 1873." Published 1973.
About the 2020 Buttons: Drive-In Fireworks
In 2020, traditional 4thFest activities were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the fireworks went on! Drive-in fireworks were held at the Coralville Youth Sports Park, allowing households to spread out. The fireworks were also livestreamed for those who preferred to watch from the comfort of home.
|About the Button Artwork: Coralville Fire Department
The Coralville Fire Department celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2019. Established in 1929, the department's first "fire truck" was a two-wheeled cart with 1,000 feet of hose, hitched to a vehicle or pulled by hand.
In 1937, a fire truck was purchased to replace the hose cart. The 2019 button, with its vintage design and antique fire truck artwork, is reminiscent of the department's early years.
|About the Button Artwork: Hub of Hospitality
Following expansive growth of restaurants and places to stay along Highway 6 and 1st Avenue, Coralville became known as "the hub of hospitality" following a 1967 city slogan contest. It's a moniker that remains true today, as Coralville's restaurants, hotels, shopping, and local attractions have continued to grow and remain strong over the decades.
|About the Button Artwork: The Coralville Drive-In Theater
Near the intersection of 12th Avenue and 5th Street—just a stone’s throw from where the Coralville Public Library now stands—once stood a towering screen at 1301 5th Street that peppers the memories of many long-time Coralvillians.
The fan shape of the Coralville Drive-In Theatre lot can be seen in aerial photos from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. When the theater came to town, as the story goes, investors named it the Iowa City Drive-In Theatre, and later it was known as the Coralville Drive-In.
Investors included Myron Blank of Central States Theatre Corporation, the largest operator of drive-in theaters in the country in the 1950s (Blank, who was credited with introducing popcorn as a movie theater snack in the 1930s, is known for his philanthropic efforts in Iowa including Blank Children’s Hospital and the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, and the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa). Local lore about the theater includes showings of Patton, John Wayne movies, beach party genre flicks, and 1960s sci-fi—along with a memorable 4th of July fireworks display and specials including dusk-to-dawn night, hot dog night, dollar night, and carload night.
The theater closed in the early 1980s.
|About the Button Artwork: Aisle of Lights
Aisle of Lights is Coralville's annual tradition of lighting luminarias on a designated night in December. Thousands of white paper sacks, each filled with sand and a votive candle, create a magical scene on a winter evening, and area organizations and businesses host a merry weekend of festive events.
|About the Button Artwork: The Coralville Public Library
The Coralville Public Library celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015. The Library opened its doors in September 1965 in the northeast corner of the basement of Old Town Hall. It quickly outgrew its space and, in 1967, moved into its first permanent space at 806 5th Street, where it operated for 20 years. In 1987, the Library moved to its home at 1401 5th Street, and the building underwent an addition and renovation completed in 2008.
|About the 2014 Button: The Big Slide
The Big Slide was located at Highway 6 and 12th Avenue from 1968 until the early 1970s.
The Big Slide was selected for the 2014 button and Coralville's 141st birthday because of the slide's location, symbolism, and historic context:
|About the Button: 1876 Schoolhouse
The 2013 commemorative button includes an image of Coralville’s iconic 1876 schoolhouse, with its native limestone foundation and cast iron star claps, built on 5th Street just three years after Coralville was incorporated.
The 1876 Schoolhouse was selected for the 140th birthday button because of its strong ties to Coralville history: