Floods of 1929, 2008
Veterans Memorial on Mays Island
Conceived in 1925 and built in 1927, Veterans Memorial Building on Mays Island in the Cedar River was dedicated on
September 12, 1928.
The building housed not only City Hall but an auditorium large enough for a circus and a 25-foot tall glass mural designed by artist Grant Wood. The mural depicts a sixteen-foot Lady of Mourning, bearing a palm branch of peace and a laurel wreath of victory, above six life-sized figures in uniforms of the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the American Civil War, the Spanish American War and the Great War. As part of the May’s Island Historic District, Veterans Memorial Building and Memorial Window joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
In 1929, the same year Grant Wood’s Memorial Window was installed, Cedar Rapids experienced the 2nd most severe of the recorded floods at that location on the Cedar River.
The new mural and building survived the 1929 flood intact, but they were severely damaged in the flood of 2008.
After two years unavailable to public view, Wood’s Memorial Window was rededicated on July 4, 2010.
Cedar Rapids city government permanently relocated City Hall outside of Veterans Memorial Building following the flood of 2008. Though the building was cleaned and stabilized that year, it remained idle until 2012 when city officials were able to secure financial support for restoration from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency in addition to funds from the state of Iowa. Restoration work on the building began in early 2013.