Located near downtown Cedar Rapids, the Czech Village is a charming mixture of shops, businesses, and people that represent the ethnic history of the area. From the middle-1800’s to the early 1900’s, many newcomers to the Cedar Rapids area were immigrants from Central Europe, in particular the Czech Republic area of the then-disintegrating Austria-Hungary Empire. The Cedar River provided residents a source of food, ice and transportation, and the early settlers adopted the southeast bank. With time they started their own businesses, resuming many old country crafts and trades and maintaining their cultural traditions. When a bridge was built across the river, businesses and neighborhoods expanded to the southwest side and moved into what is today Czech Village. These included a coal yard, egg buying station, machine shop, bakeries, butcher shops, dry goods store and harness shop. Some of the these old businesses remain on their original sites, and the architecture of the early days is still apparent.
For much of its history, the Czech Village remained a tightly-knit community inhabited by multiple generations of the same families. The restaurants, butcher shops and family businesses were well-known, though local, “secrets”. The unique blend of commerce and housing, combined with ample public spaces and walkable streets, maintained a sustainable balance, and the growing historic significance and unique feel of the neighborhood gained it substantial local support.