Downtown Council Bluffs historically covered the area along West Broadway and adjacent streets from Old Town west to the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company Railroad passenger depot at 11th Street. Downtown developed as the economic rival of Old Town after the 1853 opening of the Pacific House Hotel by Samuel S. Bayliss through the 1867 completion of the Chicago and Northwestern. In 1899, the Illinois Central passenger depot opened at 12th St. and West Broadway.
The area declined as the city's primary retail center after the 1955 completion of the Broadway Viaduct, 1970s urban renewal, and the 1984 opening of the Kanesville Boulevard U.S. Route 6 bypass. Remaining buildings of note include the 1959 Council Bluffs Post Office and Federal Building at 6th Street, the 1986 "Red" Nelson Building, the 501 Main Building, the substantially altered 1909 City National Bank Building, and the 1968 First Federal Building. The 1947 State Savings Bank Building at 509 West Broadway and the seven-story 1924 Bennett Building at 405 West Broadway are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 100 Block of West Broadway is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the 1892 Broadway United Methodist Church at West Broadway and 1st St. remains a prominent community landmark.
Old Town Council Bluffs was adjudged by Judge Frank Street in the 1850s as the area between West Broadway and Glen Avenue and East Broadway and Frank Street from Harmony Street south to Pierce Street. Today this area encompasses Billy Caldwell‘s settlement of Potawatomi on Indian Creek during the 1830s and Kanesville established by the Mormons as Miller's Hollow in 1848. Kanesville was the home of Mormon leaders Orson Hyde, George A. Smith, and Ezra T. Benson and served as a major outfitting point on the Mormon Trail during the California Gold Rush. The reconstructed Kanesville Tabernacle in the 300 block of East Broadway is operated as a museum by the LDS Church.
The West End is a geographically large area on the flood plain east of the Missouri River and downtown Omaha, Nebraska, west of 10th St. and the Broadway Viaduct, and north of 9th Ave. and the Union Pacific Transfer railyards. These neighborhoods of long, tree-shaded avenues are divided by the commercial corridor of West Broadway (U.S. Route 6), once part of the Lincoln Highway. This stretch of West Broadway has traditionally had several drive-in fast food restaurants and automobile dealerships with several grain elevators adjacent along 1st Avenue. West Broadway ends at the Interstate 480 bridge to downtown Omaha. Iowa Highway 192 follows North 16th St. from West Broadway to Interstate 29. Neighborhood landmarks include the 1890s Illinois Central Railroad Missouri River bridge, Stan Bahnsen Park, the Golden Spike monument, the Narrows River Park, Big Lake Park, the site of Dodge Park Playland, the Dodge Christian Church (built with the N.P. Dodge Memorial funds) and many examples of late 19th and early 20th century residential architecture. The West End was used as a location by film director Alexander Payne in the movies Citizen Ruth and About Schmidt.
Casino Row is located on and near the Missouri River south of West Broadway and Interstate 480, west of South 35th St. and Interstate 29, and north of Interstate 80 along 23rd Avenue west of South 24th St. The opening of the Bluffs Run Greyhound Park in 1986 (now the Horseshoe Council Bluffs was followed in the mid 1990s by riverboat casinos operated by Ameristar and Harvey's Casino Hotel (now Harrah's Council Bluffs). New development in this previously industrial area has included the Mid-America Center, several restaurants and hotels, an AMC Theatres with an IMAX, and a Bass Pro Shops. The appearance of legalized gambling in Council Bluffs became a major issue in neighboring Omaha where Mayor Hal Daub had declared Iowa a "XXX state" in 1995 as horse-racing came to an end at Ak-Sar-Ben.
Twin City is located south of where Interstate 29 splits from Interstate 80, east of South Omaha, Nebraska, west of Indian Creek, and north of the South Omaha Bridge Road (U.S. Route 275 and Iowa Highway 92). This neighborhood developed mostly during the 1960s for workers in nearby Omaha factories and at Offutt Air Force Base. The Interstate 80 Exit at 1-B at South 24th Street includes two large truck stops, a Sapp Brothers and a Pilot Travel Centers, along with several motels, the Western Historic Trails Center, the Bluffs Acres manufactured home development, and The Marketplace shopping area with J.C. Penney as its primary tenant. The Willows on the South Omaha Bridge Road is an example of mid-20th century roadside motel architecture and Bart's Motel further east at South 24th St featured prominent neon signage, was used as a location in the motion picture The Indian Runner, and has since been demolished.
Manawa is the portion of Council Bluffs from the combined Interstate 80 and Interstate 29 south to the city limits between Mosquito and Indian Creeks. The area was developed as a trolley park by the Omaha and Council Bluffs Streetcar Company after the former channel of the Missouri River was "cut-off" during an 1881 flood to become modern Lake Manawa State Park. Later development followed the establishment of U.S. Route 275 and the completion of Interstate 80 with additional growth during the 1990s. A variety of fast food restaurants, motels, big-box stores, a TravelCenters of America truck stop, automobile dealerships, and other businesses are located between Interstate 80 and Interstate 29 south to the state park. The Lake Manawa Inn hosts early examples of roadside cabin architecture. In February and March, bald eagles & red-tailed hawks can frequently be seen at Lake Manawa, particularly along the southwest shore.
The South End is bordered by 12th Avenue on the north, South 16th St. and the Union Pacific Transfer railyards on the west, Interstate 80 and Interstate 29 on the south, and the South Expressway (Iowa Highway 192) on the east. This neighborhood developed during the late 19th century with the railroads, especially the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. In the early 20th century much of the area was dubbed "Dane Town" or "Little Copenhagen" for the large number of Danish immigrants with several Croatian and Mexican families closer to the Union Pacific railyards at "Little Vienna". Neighborhood landmarks include Peterson Park, Longfellow School, and the 1899 Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific passenger depot, now the RailsWest Railroad Museum.
The Oakland-Fairview neighborhood developed during the 1890s and features a wealth of 19th century architecture, including the Judge Finley Burke mansion at 510 Oakland built in 1893 out of Minnesota granite. The neighborhood is also home to the Lincoln Monument. Located at the western end of Lafayette Avenue, the monument was erected in 1911 by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution that, according to folklore, commemorates the spot where Abraham Lincoln decided on the location of the transcontinental railroad in 1859. The monument offers expansive views across the West End in the Missouri River Valley to Omaha, Nebraska. Nearby is the entrance to Fairview Cemetery, situated on the north side of Lafayette Avenue, which predates the establishment of the present city and includes the Kinsman Monument and the burial place of many early settlers, including Amelia Bloomer. At the east end of Lafayette Avenue where it intersects with North Second Street stands the Ruth Anne Dodge Memorial, the "Black Angel" designed by Daniel Chester French, although the wife of Grenville Dodge is actually buried elsewhere in Council Bluffs.
Madison Avenue is the area of Council Bluffs adjacent to Exit 5 of Interstate 80 along Madison and Bennett avenues, Valley View Drive, and the area between Iowa Highway 92 north to McPherson Avenue. Mosquito Creek flows through this area which was originally notable for the Potawatomi gristmill and now includes the usual roadside gas stations, fast food restaurants, motels, and the tracks of the Iowa Interstate Railroad. Plans for a shopping mall here first appeared in 1972 and construction finally began on the Mall of the Bluffs in 1985. A Sears, Old Navy, and Barnes & Noble later opened at the mall which is owned by General Growth Properties with adjacent commercial development by Hy-Vee and No Frills Supermarkets. Residential growth east of the railroad tracks towards State Orchard Road and the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport and north to U.S. Route 6 has included developments outside the Council Bluffs city limits. Original anchor stores J.C. Penney and Target both relocated from the Mall of the Bluffs in 2008.
The Huntington Avenue neighborhood consists of early 20th century Craftsman homes that wind along the top of the Loess Hills passed the 1925 studio of radio station KOIL, now apartments.
The historic Council Bluffs' Red-light district was formed during the late 19th century, when at least 10 separate brothels were located on Pierce Street east of Park Avenue with another three brothels down the block on the south side of West Broadway east of Park. One 1890 newspaper article referenced in Lt. RL Miller's "Selected History of the Council Bluffs Police" noted the "places of vice and corruption on Pierce" and Stella Long's above the Ogden House along with the "terrible den at the corner of Market and Vine" and Belle Clover's bagnio at 8th St. and West Broadway.
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