Iowans can now hop into a sort of time machine to take a “virtual reality” tour of Cedar Rapids the way it looked in the year 19-hundred. The interactive virtual environment is part of an exhibit called “Time Quest” at the History Center in Cedar Rapids.History Center chief curator Marise McDermott says the 3-D simulation was created using several computers and a series of six-by-eight foot display screens. McDermott says the University of Iowa computer science department created the virtual 25-block world of the old Cedar Rapids was created from historic photographs and maps.To enhance the experience, visitors can go “inside” eight of the buildings, including the Cedar Rapids Opera House. McDermott says it once drew thousands of patrons from all over the region as it was the largest opera house between Chicago and Denver.The virtual reality world is also filled with the sounds of Cedar Rapids circa 19-hundred, including train whistles, children at play and horses clip clopping down the cobblestone streets.
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