Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Palisades Hotel Comes to an End



On Monday, May 3, 2010 the century old plus Palisades Hotel (near Mount Vernon, Iowa) was no more than a memory. Demolition crews took down the aging structure in just three hours after months of planning. Officials from FEMA, Iowa DOT and the State Archaeological office were present to supervise the deconstruction.

The structure was built in the 1880s and was known as the Cedar Springs Hotel. Its original guests were railroad employees working on a nearby quarry. At the end of its existence the hotel's walls, floors, roof and interior material were trucked away to Site Number 1 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for an unceremonious burial in what is locally known as Mount Trashmore.

Property owner, Patrica Biderman, whose grandfather, Adoph Biderman purchased the hotel in 1914 was present to see the landmark come down. "I will miss the old lady. It was a fun place growing up."


About 30 minutes before the hotel was finally leveled, I went to get the Cedar River view of the property before it all came down. Pat sat on the seat of one of the swings to watch the activity. I suspect it was some place she used to play many years ago.

A cloud of demolition dust was temporarily lighted for a few seconds before disappearing - perhaps indicating a last dramatic visual before 120 years plus of history was plowed down.


At exactly 10:00 A.M. the Link-Belt excavator took down the last major structure of the hotel, leaving nothing but a pile of rubble where once a historic hotel stood. Special payload covered trucks hauled away debris Monday and Tuesday to finally complete the project save for the regrading of the site and access area.

Palisades Hotel was the place to go long before the convenience of getting there was possible. The hotel stood 20 years or so before the Lincoln Highway was built nearby and many more years before modern State Highway 30 came even closer. Better roads and more reliable cars made visiting other sites around the region more accessible, and eventually helped lead the hotel into retirement in the 1950s.

The demolition of the Palisades Hotel (aka Cedar Springs Hotel, Upper Palisades Hotel, Palisades Hotel, Biderman Hotel, and Old Dutch Inn) marks the end of an era when this site served as a gathering place for legions of students, families and relaxation seekers including poet Carl Sandburg and vaudevillians the Cherry Sisters nearly a hundred years ago. Know that.