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COLFAX, Iowa — The downtown in Colfax has been named part of the National Register of Historic Places.

This will make building owners eligible for tax credits to work on their structures. Main Street Colfax will also be putting up signs to make people on nearby Interstate 80 aware of its history.

Main Street Board President Cindy Van Dusseldorp said it was an effort to get on the National Register. She said the group applied for a grant which allowed them to hire historian/consultant Jennifer James to review buildings in the city and to help make sure renovations were compliant with historic preservation grant requirements. Dusseldorp said that during the process, it was discovered that several structures in the city were of historic value.

“We’re pleased Colfax’s downtown historic district has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and we commend all the stakeholders who worked so hard on this successful nomination,” said Paula Mohr, an architectural historian and certified local government program coordinator. “This recognition marks an important milestone for Colfax as it continues to preserve the legacy of its past for future generations of Iowans to enjoy.”

Back in the 1880s, Colfax was a popular tourist attraction due to the mineral spring water in the town. Colfax at one time had over 1000 hotel rooms and six hotels. The train brought visitors from all over.

“They discovered mineral waters in this town that were supposed to cure a large variety of things,” said Peggy Dvorak of the Colfax Historical Society. “That was back in the day when mineral waters were considered to have great curative powers.”

The Colfax Museum has hundreds of artifacts from those mineral water days. Now, mineral water is not a big thing in Colfax anymore.

“I’m guessing they came up with things that worked better to treat some of the ailments that mineral water was considered to be so good for,” said Dvorak. Also, [it] probably didn’t cure as many of the things that they thought or hoped that it did back in the day.”

Colfax Main Street has a walking tour called Spring City Stories put together in the downtown. For more information about Main Street Colfax, click here.

For more on the Colfax Historical Society, click here.