The Ellis Park Neighborhood sits northwest of downtown Cedar Rapids, and is bordered by the Time Check neighborhood to the south. The neighborhood surrounds Ellis Park, one of the city’s oldest community features. On the shore of Cedar River, this 416-acre park includes an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, boat house harbor, boat ramps, water skiing facilities and shows, ball diamonds, lighted horseshoe courts, swimming and spray pool, lagoons, duck pond, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and an outdoor ice rink. The unique formal Shakespeare Garden contains a collection of specific plantings included in his famous writings.
Ellis Park has been a central feature of life in Cedar Rapids for generations of residents. Nearly anyone who was raised in Cedar Rapids during the 20th century has memories of weddings or family reunions held at its facilities. In the 1920s and 30s, professional football teams played exhibition games on the park grounds. Olympic skaters appeared at the ice rink throughout the mid-century in a variety of winter exhibitions. The park hosted everything from professional water ski competitions to national horseshoe competitions. The Cedar Rapids Softball fields were the site of popular city-wide leagues, and also served as home to the Cedar Rapids Softball Hall of Fame building.
The neighborhood surrounding the park developed a unique character. The homes which ring the park are generally single-family structures, many inhabited by long-term city residents. The Ellis Boat Harbor, which was established in 1948, is home to a community of houseboat owners who make the riverfront their home. The constant flow of people to and from the park provided a variety of family businesses located along Ellis Boulevard a consistent, and enduring, customer base.