Introduction to Waterloo, Iowa
Waterloo is situated along the banks of the Cedar River in Black Hawk County. The Midwest municipality is known for its diverse population and is recognized as one of Iowa's notable historic cities. It's home to the John Deere Factory Assembly Plant.
The area was earlier known as Prairie Rapids Crossing. In 1845 George and Mary Hanna arrived in a wagon train and created a settlement near the Cedar River. In 1861 the first passenger train arrived. The city experienced significant growth from 1895 to 1915. The population was estimated to have increased by 290%.
During this era manufacturing businesses, rail transportation and wholesale companies were flourishing. It became known as "The Factory City of Iowa." It was home to prominent companies such as Rath Packing, Galloway Company and Litchfield Manufacturing.
- Touring the John Deere Tractor Assembly Plant is popular with tourists.
- The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum provides information on wrestling, including the ancient Greeks, collegiate, professional and Olympic wrestling and pays tribute to Olympic wrestler Dan Gable.
- The National Cattle Congress hosts a prominent annual fair and offers a variety of events.
- The Galleria de Paca is a well known restaurant which showcases a complete reproduction of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling.
- The Waterloo Black Hawks play in the United States Hockey League.
- The Cedar Falls Raceway features IHRA Drag Racing.
Museums and Culture
- Grout Museum District offers the story of Waterloo.
- The Cedar Falls Community Theatre provides a variety of productions featuring community members.
- The Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center features live music, dance productions, opera and theatre productions.
- The George Wyth House and Viking Pump Museum showcases the former home of George Wyth, which features the Art Deco style from the 1920's.
- Rensselaer Russell House Museum offers mid-Victorian architecture and beautiful interiors and is one of the oldest houses in the county.
- The Victorian Home & Carriage House Museum dates back to the Civil War era and incldudes antique furnishings and artifacts.
- Waterloo Center for the Arts includes exhibits of Midwest art.
- Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra is popular in Northeast Iowa.
- The Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens is a beautiful acreage which features the regions plants, flowers and trees.
Downtown Waterloo offers a large number of festivals and other events such as Friday'loo, My Waterloo Days, Tourd'Loo and the Iowa Irish Festival. The Lost Island Waterpark is popular with residents and visitors. The Isle Hotel and Casino is located in the area. The Cedar Valley Nature Trail connects Cedar Rapids with Waterloo and traverses through a collection of rural towns. It provides opportunities for hiking, bicycle riding as well as cross-country skiing during the winter.
Cedar Valley Trail System is a major location for outdoor activities. It's a large acreage which incldudes numerous lakes and offers an extensive amount of paved trails. Black Hawk Park includes trails for hiking, bicycle riding, cross-country skiing and mountain bike riding. The park provides fishing opportunities in the local river and a camping area which includes cabins. Other notable locations for outdoor activities are Deerwood Campground, George Wyth State Park and Hickory Hills State Park. There are numerous golf courses in the region.