Hiawatha, Iowa, started out as an idea in the imagination of a man named Fay Clark in 1946, and has grown into a small city on the northwestern side of Cedar Rapids in Linn County with a population of just over 7,000. Clark’s original desire to provide housing for veterans coming home from World War II grew from a Quonset hut and a mobile home park to a thriving community that welcomes new residents and businesses alike. Just to the north of Hiawatha is the community of Robins, which is also growing rapidly, known for its outstanding school system and great access to medical services and good jobs. The Hiawatha – Robins area economy is driven by the aerospace industry, financial services, research institutions, manufacturing, food processing, and agriculture, providing ample business opportunities and jobs for residents.
Residents in the Hiawatha and Robins area have several great recreational trails to choose from, including the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, one of the pioneer ‘linear parks’ of Iowa, built on abandoned railways and meandering for 52 miles through several communities. The average one-way commute for Hiawatha residents is 17.3 minutes, and for Robins residents it is 17.7 minutes—significantly shorter than the national average! In addition to getting there by car, Hiawatha is served by The Cedar Rapids Transit System, which operates bus routes throughout the metro, including downtown Hiawatha. although there is no bus service to Robins.
Hiawatha is a progressive, younger community that encourages new businesses and development, and although it retains a lot of the small-town atmosphere, it is in the Cedar Rapids / Iowa City sphere with easy access to all the events and amenities of those larger cities. Hiawatha has a Farmer’s Market that runs from mid-April to the end of October. Robins is a bit smaller than Hiawatha and residents enjoy their quaint and quiet town and the convenience of bigger city amenities close by. It was recently named Iowa’s most affluent town while maintaining one of the lower property tax rates in the metro. One of the fun events sponsored by the town of Robins is the Robins Roundup, a family-friendly community event held each June with activities, live music, and food.
Hiawatha was the brainchild of entrepreneur Fay Clark, who had a vision in 1946 of a town with houses and a highway running through it. He realized his dream in 1950, and named the town after his trailer company, when he and 45 other residents signed a petition to become the 17th incorporated town in Linn County. Over time, the town added new services like a fire station, parks, and more housing. The original Quonset hut that was Clark’s headquarters was demolished in 2014, but the trusses were used to construct a walking bridge in the Fay M Clark Memorial Park. The site of the original ‘modern’ mobile home community that Clark built, Hiawatha Oak Brook Trailer Court is now being re-developed to stimulate activity in the heart of Hiawatha.
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