The city of Waterloo is the county seat of Black Hawk County in Northeastern Iowa, U.S. Waterloo is situated on both sides of the Cedar River and has a total area of 63.23 square miles where 61.39 square miles is land and 1.84 square miles is water. The city is about 846 feet above sea level.
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Early Years and the Development
The area was first known as Prairie Rapids when it was settled in 1845 but was renamed Waterloo in 1851. During that time, the town developed as a railroad division point and a regional trade center.
In the earlier years, Waterloo’s city grew rapidly thanks to new industries like meatpacking, rail transportation, and manufacturing. The city also became the host of the National Cattle Congress, held in September each year.
Waterloo, IA also struggled through some difficult periods, like during the agriculture recession of the 1980s. During this time, jobs were lost when industries like the Rath meatpacking company closed. This led to a decrease in population during that period.
Floods have also been a significant problem in the Waterloo area and therefore, a flood control system was constructed in the metropolitan area, Cedar Falls, during the 1970s up until the 1990s. Although the system functioned as designed most of the time, it did not help much during the Great Flood of 1993. The worst flooding in Waterloo happened in June 2008 and many areas that were not protected by the flood control system suffered significant damage.
Today, Waterloo, IA has a population of about 67,798 people, making it the eighth-largest city in the state. It consists of a broader industrial base, as the city leaders have managed to diversify the industrial and commercial mix.
The city is the hub for advanced manufacturing, government, healthcare, education, employment, and retail for the region, and the labor force in Waterloo, IA draws over 300 000.
There are many neighborhoods in Waterloo that consist of lovely homes and beautiful nature, including Waterloo’s downtown area, which is charming and where you can find a lot of diversity and friendly faces.
What to Do in Waterloo
There is much to do in Waterloo, IA, from visiting the Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens or the George Wyth State Park, to attending yearly events and gatherings such as My Waterloo Days or Iowa’s Irish Fest.
In addition to that, one can explore over 100 miles of paved recreational trails, such as the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, visit museums like the Grouts Iowa Veterans Museum, which holds a lot of history, or discover arts and cultures at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. There is also one of the best water parks in the region, the Lost Island Waterpark, providing great fun for the entire family.
Waterloo, IA offers spectacular attractions, entertainment, great lodging, dining options, shopping, and fantastic outdoor recreation for residents and visitors. It is well worth the visit but also makes for a great place to settle down and live with your family.