2016 Preservation at its Best, Adaptive Reuse: Cedar Falls Old Post Office
The former Cedar Falls Post Office was built in 1918 as the first federal building in the city. This NeoClassical building was part of a nation-wide movement to standardize the size and design of federal buildings. The 4200 sf building served as the city’s main post office until 1961.
After the post office left, the space was adapted to office space by installing partition walls and dropped ceilings. Fortunately, much of the neoclassical building remained behind paint, ceiling tile and partition walls.
In 2012 the city voted to demolish the building; however, the building was spared and the Cedar Falls Development Group worked with Bike Tech, a local business, to restore the post office and make it function as Bike Tech’s new home.
When the infill partitions and dropped ceilings were removed from the building, many of the older finish materials—like wood floors, plaster ceilings, transoms above doors and marble panels—were uncovered and were refinished. The teller windows and terrazzo floor where discovered and incorporated into the new design. Additionally, a multi pane window was found in the building and returned to its original place as part of the beautiful glass and wood vestibule.
In order to accommodate a bicycle shop, a large sliding door was added to the rear entrance; however, the principal façade was left in it’s original form. The bike store proved to be a good use for building because the new program required a large open space—just like the original post office lobby.
This building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to stakeholder investments, the project successfully leveraged state and federal historic tax credits.
Preservation Iowa’s two most visible programs are Iowa’s Most Endangered and Preservation at Its Best. These two programs work well together because being listed as Most Endangered often times leads to awareness, a preservation effort, and a high-quality, award winning project.
The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2016 Preservation at its Best award winners includes:
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