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Solon is a small community of about 3,000 people in the northern area of the Iowa City metro in Johnson County. Solon is best known for its many outdoor attractions such as Lake Macbride and the Sugarbottom Mountain Bike Area, and residents also enjoy the historic downtown with shops and restaurants, a local farmer’s market, and highly rated schools.


Solon area residents enjoy the Solon-Lake Macbride Recreation Trail and the Hoover Nature Trail, which becomes Cedar Valley Nature Trail at the Linn County line, and lets cyclists ride all the way from Solon to Cedar Rapids with lots of stops along the way for refreshments. As a small town, many areas are accessible for pedestrians, although most people use a car for errands. The average one-way commute for Solon residents is 18.3 minutes, shorter than the national average of 26.4.

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Solon’s location near Cedar Rapids and Iowa City allows residents to enjoy the benefits of a small community while having easy access to all that a larger metro can offer. The economy of Solon relies mostly on a few service industries, although the business sector has seen substantial growth in recent years, most people commute to nearby towns for work. Solon has many recreational opportunities that range from playgrounds and parks to fun at the lake, as well as programs for youth and seniors. The area is served by the Solon Community Schools, and there are several colleges and universities within 20 miles of the city.


Solon was one of the towns that sprouted up along the new Military Road (now Highway 1) that was built between Dubuque and Iowa City, so that people could get to the new proposed state capitol. Platted in 1840, the origin of its name is debated. Some say the city was named for Solon M. Langworthy, an early settler, while others day it was named for the settlers who came from Solon, Ohio, although perhaps the most plausible is that it was named in memory of one of the sons of P. B. Anders, one of the founders. The first school was built in 1842, known as the Big Grove Township School, and is one of the oldest surviving school buildings in Iowa. Most of the earliest settlers who began to arrive in the late 1830s were English, and in 1876 the railroad came to town and brought large numbers of Eastern European settlers to the community, including Czechs, Prussians, and Slovaks, whose descendants still live in the area today.

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