150th Anniversary


Rich History. Bright Future.
Celebrating 150 Years
On October 3, 1873, Coralville officially became incorporated as a town in Johnson County, Iowa. From October 2022 through October 2023, Coralville marked our sesquicentennial (our 150th anniversary) to honor our past, celebrate the present, and look toward the future. 

To commemorate this historic milestone, we rolled out free, special celebrations over the next year to help mark 150 years, including:

  • Activities and events to pay tribute to Coralville's history
  • Festivals and traditions which make Coralville "home," and
  • Special events that recognize and celebrate the diversity in our community

Join us as we celebrate 150 years of community in Coralville! 

Highlights from Coralville's year of sesquicentennial celebrations. Trouble viewing in the window above? Watch video

Free Events to Celebrate Coralville's 150th Anniversary (October 2022-October 2023)

  • Proclamation: Sesquicentennial kickoff (October 11, 2022)
  • Coralville Cemetery Walk & Stories (October 30, 2022)
  • Tree Planting in North Ridge Park (November 17, 2022)
  • Free Community Meal (December 9, 2022)
  • Coralville winter apparel sales begin (December 7, 2022)
  • Coralville winter apparel online store (December 2022)
  • Aisle of Lights: Cultural displays, giant Coralville 150 light-up letters, pedicab rides, and Coralville swag for sale (December 11, 2022)
  • WinterFest: ice industry demonstration and showshoes (January 21, 2023)
  • Rich History, Bright Future series: Life & Times presentation and displays (March 26, 2023)
  • 4thFest Basket Auction: included150th-themed baskets (April 1, 2023)
  • Coralville RAGBRAI Retrospective with Chuck Offenburger (April 24, 2023)
  • Coralville summer apparel online store (May 2023)
  • Wheatpasting photo sessions (May 25 & June 1, 2023)
  • Coralville summer apparel sales begin (June 2023)
  • 8th Avenue History Walk (June 11, 2023)
  • 4thFest: petting zoo, free picnic, and kids' pedal tractor pull (July 1-4, 2023)
  • Live storytelling (July 18, 2023)
  • Growing Up & Starting a Business in Coralville panel discussion (August 10, 2023)
  • Coralville 150th Anniversary Cookbook entry deadline (August 31, 2023)
  • Oak Hill Cemetery Walk & Stories (September 10, 2023)
  • Coralville 150th Anniversary Celebration (October 1, 2023)

cookbook coverCookbook
Deadline to Submit a Recipe is August 31
Food brings people together! What better way to celebrate our city's diversity and commemorate Coralville's sesquicentennial than with a one-of-a-kind community cookbook with recipes from the community? Learn more about the cookbook

IMG_5786Public Art
Wheat Pasting Projects for Coralville's 150th
Wheat-pasted murals were installed around Coralville in June 2023 to celebrate the city's rich history and bright future! The Coralville Public Library is overseeing this larger-than-life public art project led by artist Isaac Campbell as part of the Inside Out Project. The project includes wheat-pasting historical Coralville photos onto buildings to celebrate Coralville’s past.

Larger-than-life student portraits were also wheat-pasted on the Northwest Junior High, Kirkwood Elementary, and Coralville Central Elementary buildings to celebrate Coralville's future. Learn more about the wheat pasting projects

Coralville 150 Yard SignYard Sign
Help Commemorate A Milestone
Free yard signs (while supplies last) were available in spring 2023. Place your sign in your own yard. Do not put your sign between the sidewalk and the street curb, at a street corner, road median, roundabout, or utility pole.

Buy Coralville Swag
Shop in Person
Vintage-inspired Coralville t-shirts for adults, a retro sunset shirt, a Coralville 150th anniversary shirt, racerback tanks, adult sweatshirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, children's t-shirts, winter stocking caps, and trucker hats are available to buy in person (while supplies last) at the following locations:

  • Coralville City Hall (1512 7th Street): Weekdays, 7:30 am-5:00 pm

All sales are final; no returns or exchanges.

Adult 150th logo t-shirt

Coralville 150 logo t-shirt

Adult sunset t-shirt


Adult t-shirt


Women's tank


Adult Hooded Sweatshirt

Adult Collegiate Indigo Blue hoodie_White ink

Adult Long Sleeve Tee 

Adult Stacked Ice blue comfort colors long sleeve tee_white ink

Youth Tee

Kids Coralville 1873 classic_Vintage Heather tshirt_white ink

Gray/Navy Beanie

Stocking cap Heather-Navy_light gray embroidery

Black/Gray Beanie

Stocking cap Black-Heather_black embroidery

Blue Beanie

Stock cap Heather navy_white embroidery

Black Trucker Hat

Trucker Hat Black-Charcoal

Silver Trucker Hat

Trucker Hat Heather Grey-Charcoal

Beige Trucker Hat

Trucker Hat Silver-White

Blue Trucker Hat

Trucker Hat Ocean-Beige

Commemorative Coin (SOLD OUT)


Commemorative Crock (SOLD OUT)


Adult Sweatshirt (SOLD OUT)

Adult Collegiate Ash gray crewneck_Black ink

Coralville t-shirt CVB
Simple Places t-shirt CVB

Other Local Swag
T-Shirts From Our Friends at Think Iowa City
Merchandise is available from our friends at Think Iowa City (our area Convention and Visitors Bureau). We recommend the classic Coralville t-shirt or the Simple Places t-shirt!  Shop

Articles of Incorporation square edit

Get Involved
Share Your Story
Do you have a photo or story about Coralville's history that you would like to share? Would you like to tell us how Coralville became your home? Share your story or photos with us! You can either:

Community participation makes every great event possible! We'll have opportunities throughout the year to assist with events for a variety of skills and abilities. 
Sign up to volunteer

Ideas, Questions, and Comments
We welcome your questions, ideas, and comments!
Email us

Who to Contact
Coralville 150th Celebration Executive Committee Co-Chairs
Stacey Houseman, Think Iowa City
Laurie Goodrich, Coralville City Council

Email us at coralville150@coralville.org.

Learn More
A Look Back

  1. Coralville History
  2. Coralville History Video Vault
  3. Digital History Library

Coralville's Past

Coral Mills.jpgAbout This Land: Coralville was built upon the homeland of many Indigenous People. Our community exists on land that was home to the Native American Nations of the Iowa, Meskwaki, and Sauk. The Indigenous People faced violence, oppression, and colonialism. Today, we have a shared responsibility to recognize and honor the history, culture, and contributions of the Indigenous People in Iowa and nationwide.

Mid-1800s: The development of Coralville began after the construction in 1843 of what was then the largest dam in Iowa along the Iowa River, and the mills that used the dam’s power. In the early days, the small settlement was known as "Clarksville."

Namesake: The town was christened "Coralville" in 1866 after Louis Agassiz, a Harvard zoologist, spoke at the University of Iowa about the samples of fossilized coral that he found in the limestone around the mills along the Iowa River. Local merchant Ezekial Clark renamed his mill to "Coral Mills," and the small town became known as Coralville. For more information, read, "Louis Agassiz and the Fossil Reefs of Iowa" by Charles Monson (PDF).

1873 to World War II: By the time of its incorporation in 1873, Coralville’s population had grown to almost 300. It boasted a blacksmith shop, wagon shop, meat market, lumberyard, dry good store, and four saloons. The Coralville Schoolhouse was built in 1876 on 5th Street, and Old Town Hall was erected on 2nd Avenue in the late 1880s (it was later moved twice). Both the 1876 Schoolhouse and Old Town Hall still stand today on 5th Street.

By 1900, the mills closed and the Iowa City Electric Company had acquired all the waterpower of the dam. Coralville’s economy was so dependent on the mills that their closing spelled decline for the little town.

Coralville began to grow again in the late 1920s and boomed after World War II. Coralville was an attractive place to live because of its inexpensive housing, lower taxes, and proximity to the University campus.

1940s & 1950s: The population of Coralville grew from 433 in 1940, to 977 in 1950. Automobile travel and tourism became common, and the "Coralville Strip" became well-populated with retail shops, service stations, discount stores, restaurants, and motels.

During the same period, the Coralville Dam was built four miles upstream from the city. Authorized in 1938 by Congress, begun in 1949, and completed in 1958 by the US Corps of Engineers, it has prevented serious flooding except for the exceptional years of 1993 and 2008.

1960s-1980s: By 1960, Coralville’s population had reached 2,357, and tripled that by 1970. Construction of the portion of Interstate 80, which was at the time north of Coralville, began in 1963.

Commercial and housing development continued throughout the second half of the 20th century, along with growth in city services. The former power station, which had been shut down in 1968, reopened in 1972 as a riverside restaurant. Coralville's 4th of July festival, 4thFest, began in 1983.

1990s: By the 1990s, Highway 6, known as "the strip," was ready for a makeover, complete with decorative street lighting and plantings. A city center was developed around the city campus and former post office.

In 1996, work began on Coral Ridge Mall, the state’s second-largest indoor shopping center, at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Highways 6 and 965.

Late 1990s to Present: In the late 1990s, local visionaries began efforts to revitalize an industrial park along the Iowa River and Interstate 80. This launched over 30 years of work with the EPA to transform the area from brownfields into the vibrant community gateway, known today as the Iowa River Landing. 

In 2008, Coralville experienced historic flooding. Over 200 businesses and more than 400 households were directly impacted, and the City's infrastructure sustained over $7 million in damages. The City swiftly put together a comprehensive flood mitigation plan with permanent and removable flood walls, earthen berms, raising streets and bridges, storm sewer and stormwater pump station improvements, and raising and fortifying a railroad embankment. By 2018, it had completed permanent mitigation measures to protect low-lying areas surrounding Biscuit Creek, Clear Creek, and the Iowa River to a level of one foot above the 2008 flood levels.

As of the 2020 Census, Coralville’s population reached 22,318. Coralville is one of the top 50 fastest-growing cities in Iowa.

Coloring Pages
Kids can explore Coralville's history through coloring pages! Look for coloring pages at events that celebrate Coralville's 150th anniversary, or download and color at home!

Coralville 150th logo

About Our Logo
Designed Specifically for Coralville
The logo for Coralville's 150th anniversary was created to uniquely reflect our rich history and bright future. 

  • Coral in the upper left corner represents our city's namesake. The town was christened "Coralville" for the fossilized corals found in natural rock exposures along the Iowa River, including where the foundation was dug for mills along the river in the 1800s.
  • The wheel in the lower left corner represents Coralville's biking and recreational trails, as well as the river-powered mills of Coralville's early days. It also represents the Mormon pioneers who stayed in Coralville in 1856 and 1857, preparing for a 1,300 mile journey from the Midwest to Utah, towing their belongings in handcarts. 
  • The tree symbolizes Coralville's many parks and open spaces, and the growth of our community.
  • Fireworks in the upper right corner represent our community's festivals and celebrations, including Coralville's 4thFest fireworks.
  • The iconic 1876 schoolhouse in the lower right corner, with its native limestone foundation and cast iron star claps, was where generations of children in Coralville went to school; it is on the National Register of Historic Places and still sits on 5th Street.
  • The vibrant colors of the logo represent the diversity of our community and Coralville's bright future.

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Official Sponsor


Title Sponsor

Hills Bank

Celebration Sponsors

IRL logo Square Subtle Gold
Think Iowa City A Collection of curious communities
West Bank

Tradition Sponsors

Gilcrest Jewett Logo
MidWestOne Bank
Mortenson_Justified_2 Color
Randys Logo