Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Final Days of the Palisades Hotel

Its hard to imagine the century-old Palisades Hotel, also known as Upper Palisades Hotel, Biderman Hotel, Cedar Springs Hotel, and the Old Dutch Inn will not be around long after Thursday, November 12th. That is the day when this digger will demolish the landmark structure which was substantially destroyed by the 2008 flood of the Cedar River. Hotel debris will be loaded and carried away to a local landfill by this dump truck.

A FEMA director told the 42N blogger that the paperwork is in order for Thursday's demolition. Following months of completing forms, contacting property owners and getting the necessary approvals, all parties recently received the green light to clean the area. The hotel is located near Palisades - Kepler State Park, just west of Mt. Vernon, Iowa (41.92N, 91.41W.)

An archaeologist is documenting the scene before and after the work of the crews as they tear down cabins and the hotel this week. He noted that the geological nature of the setting diminishes the potential for finding Indian relics. He said that the land sits on an alluvial deposit that tends to wash away with seasonal floods. Additionally the former quarry owners who originally built the Cedar Springs Hotel in the 1880s probably had the area plowed to make room for the railroad that moved rock out and later brought guests to the hotel.

When heavy machinery is not operating, just the sounds of the Cedar River and wind blowing through the nearly leafless trees is all that can be heard. It's not hard to imagine why this place attracted thousands of people every season including town folks from nearby Mt. Vernon, Lisbon and Cedar Rapids. The setting also welcomed celebrities such as the vaudevillian Cherry Sisters and poet, Carl Sandburg plus many others. Know that.

Update: The Palisades Hotel was demolished on May 5, 2010 when weather conditions and paperwork were all in order. See post from that date.

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