Mays Island

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May’s Island Historic District
Cedar Rapids - Mays Island.jpg
Mays Island is located in Iowa
Mays Island
Mays Island is located in the US
Mays Island
Location Between 1st and 5th Aves. on May Island, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Coordinates 41°58′33″N 91°40′13″W / 41.97583°N 91.67028°W / 41.97583; -91.67028Coordinates: 41°58′33″N 91°40′13″W / 41.97583°N 91.67028°W / 41.97583; -91.67028
Built 1923;1927;1933
Architect Hunter & Hatton
Joseph Royer
James A. Wetmore
Architectural style Beaux Arts
NRHP Reference # 78001240 [1]
Added to NRHP October 19, 1978

Mays Island (or May's Island) is a small island in the Cedar River, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Functioning as a civic center much like the Île de la Cité, it is the site of the Memorial Building (the city hall), the Linn County Courthouse, and the county jail. The island plus an adjacent block was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[1]

The island and all of its buildings were devastated by the 2008 flood of the Cedar River, with water reaching above the first floors.

Until the 2008 flood, the concentration of local and county government on the island served to unify the city on both sides. The Memorial Building was designed by Hunter & Hatton, architects of Cedar Rapids. The Beaux Arts-style Linn County Courthouse was designed by Joseph Royer, of Urbana, as was the county jail. The building masses are long and narrow, like the island itself. The buildings face each other, creating an "insular quality".[2]

The concentration of government services extends to the east bank, where the Federal government is located, to the east of the Memorial Building, in the Beaux Arts-style Federal Building, whose design is credited to James A. Wetmore. Its block, from 1st Avenue north to 2nd Avenue, from 1st Street west to the river, is also included in the historic district. This makes a total of four contributing buildings in the district.[2]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Edward Sauter and M.H. Bowers (1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: May's Island Historic District" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2016-06-24.  with seven photos