Time Machine: Fawcett Building in Cedar Rapids twice housed clubs for teenagers | The Gazette

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Diane Langton


Charles E. Fawcett became a successful Cedar Rapids businessman. He moved to the city from Benton County from his youth in 1880. His name is 3 dollars.

He found a job at the Whiting Brothers foundry and began to learn to become a mechanic. Nine months later, his daily salary rose from $1 to $2.50, which is the highest salary in the store.

Fawcett started his own business in 1886 and opened a mechanical workshop in a building at 115 Third Avenue, SE, covering an area of ​​500 square feet.

In 1887. He built his first building on Second Street and Third Avenue SE. He sells lighting fixtures from shops that also have production areas, most of which are gas and electric combination lamps.

On the night of October 24, 1895, Fachet married Louise "Lucy" Brink in a quiet ceremony, and their priest was at home. Their home is on First Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the southeast.

As the business grew, he established a new sales room and office at 215-217 Second Street in 1900, and used his first building for machinery workshops and storage.

By 1905, he had also exceeded the size of the building, and constructed a three-story building at 119 Southeast Third Street, which is still named after him.

A report in the bulletin stated that the 25,000 square feet of the building has "a complete inventory of factories, mechanics' supplies, and automotive supplies, which is one of the largest supplies in the region."

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Fawcett's company manufactures in Iowa, and plants such as LaPlant Choate and Iowa Steel Plant provide and install electrical equipment.

Starting in 1902, he also sold electric cars, focusing on what he thought was the "best on the market" National Vehicle Co. in Indianapolis.

Fawcett was only 64 years old when he died in July 1925. The Gazette reported that his death was caused by smallpox.

FG Brink managed Fawcett's company until October 1927 when the building and its contents were sold to Orrie Becker for approximately $100,000. Becker immediately arranged the closing sales of store merchandise and fixtures to make room for new tenants.

The first tenant was Kline's department store in Rockford, Illinois, which went bankrupt a few years later. In 1934, Becker moved his "People's Grocery and Market" to this space.

In 1944, the Chamber of Commerce Youth Bureau sponsored the youth club above the grocery store on the second and third floors of the building.

The annual membership is $1.50-equivalent to today's $22.

The youth has established a policy of the center, which stipulates that all public and narrow students from grades 9 to 12 can participate. If a student enters high school, he or she will be allowed to retain the member until his 20th birthday.

The grand opening of the club was on Saturday, February 26. The club has been in operation for four years. Items sold at the December 1948 auction included the club’s 35 booths, two 10-pin alleys, a Coca-Cola blender, soda water and 150 chairs.

The People's Grocery Store moved out in 1949. Arthur Murray dance studio used higher floors in the 1950s.

The concept of youth clubs was revived in 1968.

Under the guidance of their parents, a group of teenagers scrubbed, painted and hammered the former dance studio into a club they called the "loft". The first month’s rent was donated by the building’s owner, Harold Becker.

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The club’s adult board (must form a non-profit company) began to raise enough funds to run the club for the first year.

High school students are open to members from second grade to 20 years old. The club reached 2,000 members almost immediately, but the membership declined almost as fast.

The purpose of remodeling and adding strobe lights was to attract young people to join the club in 1969, but on Saturday, this was the only open night, and the attendance remained between 250 and 300. Teenagers believe that excessive adult supervision is the reason for their diminished interest.

By February 1970, the space had been listed as leased.

For many years, the Fawcett building has an electrical store, a fabric and carpet store, a footnote book and card store, and a Waldenbooks bookstore on the second floor.

The higher-level tenants include the FBA (Foreign Charity Association) club, Joyce’s lounge, Spanky’s Last Chance Saloon, Baja Surf Club and the upper deck.

The building has been vacant for nine years. Since 1995, Toys for Tots has used this space as a toy drive every year.

In 1999, the Christian Fellowship of Father's House Vineyard settled in.

In 2001, Harold Becker, chairman of the Guarantee Bank and Trust Company, and his son, the bank's president and CEO Robert, sold the building to the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra.

The terms of sale were not announced. The Symphony Orchestra renovated the administrative offices of the Symphony School and Orchestra. The 900 students of the Symphony School have been blessed by Bakers for the past year and have been using the main building of the building.

To this day, the building still retains the Iowa State Orchestra School and is connected to the Opus Concert Hall in front of the Paramount Theater.

Comment: d.fannonlangton@gmail.com

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