The buildings in downtown Le Mars date back to the 1850s, with one of the 1st hotels still standing. Most of the buildings are early 1900s with various changes as aesthetic periods have dictated over the decades. One of our downtown buildings housed the 1st Chevrolet dealer in the nation.
In 1904, the 1st Portland concrete street in Iowa and the 2nd concrete street in the nation was laid on 1st Avenue Southwest (formerly Eagle Street) on old Highway 75 as it met Highway 3. It was poured in large diamond squares which were grooved every 4 inches to help prevent horses from slipping on this new surface. It was paid for by private businesses on the route. It was 5 years before the next Iowa towns laid concrete streets: Davenport, Des Moines, Eddyville, and Knoxville.
National Historic Registry
Le Mars is currently listed on the National Historic Registry.
Although many buildings are very old, over the years the building owners have ‘improved their facades. There appears to have been a number of facade changes in the 1920s and again another push in the 1960s and '70s. Some of the facades have now been returned to an earlier era through the recent Community Development Block grant work.
Olson Cultural Event Center
The Olson Cultural Event Center, a large outdoor pavilion located in the Main Street district, is used for entertainment opportunities, festivals, farmers market and outdoor movies. The Cultural Center sits on a 1/4 block of land situated 1 block off Main Street.