Cedar Rapids is a city that is home to thousands of Czech, Moravian and Slovak immigrants and their decendants since the turn of the Century. Many more Czechs homesteaded and settled the farms and small towns surrounding Cedar Rapids. The Czech Village is a restored section of what was the shopping district for many of those immigrants.
Czech Village History in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Czechoslovakians, known as Bohemians, have made lasting contributions to the Cedar Rapids community. Czechs began arriving in 1852 to work in local packing plants, and soon a "Little Bohemia" was established in the southwest sector of the city (it is now known as "Czech Village"). Josef Sosel, the first Czech lawyer in the United States, was smuggled out of his native country in a barrel after he was accused of revolutionary activities; Sosel settled in Cedar Rapids, where he played a prominent role in the Czech community. In 1869 Czechs established The Reading Society, which evolved into a Little Theater movement, as well as the Light Guard Band. The Czech-language Cedar Rapids Listy began publication in 1906.