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spring city historic commercial district

Downtown Colfax in the 1930's


Colfax Main Street would like to announce that the downtown Colfax business district has been listed on The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as a National Historic District effective Nov 5, 2018. The Colfax ‘Spring City’ Commercial Historic District is the result of a herculean effort led by Colfax Main Street, architectural historian Jennifer James, and local volunteers who provided research and valuable historic information. The new historic district includes a portion of the downtown from Front Street to Division Street, and from Elm Street to Locust Street. We’re very proud of this milestone achievement for Main Street and the city!

A few years back, when many downtown businesses were renovating their storefronts and buildings to match a more historically accurate appearance, Colfax Main Street brought in historian Jennifer James to review buildings in the city and to help make sure renovations were compliant with historic preservation grant requirements. In the process, it was discovered that several structures in the city were of historic value. In 2017, Colfax Main Street received a Historic Preservation Grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa to complete the application process to become a National Historic District. James, Colfax Main Street Board President Cindy Van Dusseldorp, and former Colfax Main Street director Rebecca Evans lead the effort to research; compile information; and interview local residents for the application process.

What does this mean for Colfax? Owners of contributing historic buildings can receive federal and state tax credits and grants to renovate their historic building; while non-contributing buildings can more easily receive grant money to renovate their building to become a contributing building in the historic district. Downtown Colfax becoming a National Historic District furthers Colfax Main Street’s mission to advance preservation, education, and economic development. The Historic District designation will be an added bonus for publicity and marketing for the city and could potentially attract new visitors, businesses, and residents.

If you’d like to experience and learn more about the new historic district, check out the Spring City Stories walking tour which is available electronically on our website ( or in booklet form found in local businesses. The walking tour showcases the history of specific buildings and locations around the downtown. You can see for yourself which buildings are rare-surviving examples of Italianate architecture, have rare-surviving Victorian cast iron storefronts or Eastlake style carved stone window details, and which buildings played specific roles in the mineral water industry (and may still have capped over mineral water wells in their basements).

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