A Brief History of Cedar Falls, Iowa
William Sturgis and his brother-in-law, Erasmus Adams were the first permanent residents of “Sturgis Falls,” now known as Cedar Falls. They were attracted to the area for its farm land, timber and the Cedar River. The community was bought from the Sturgis family, in 1850, by John and Dempsey Overman, along with John Barrick. They renamed the community Cedar Falls.
Cedar Falls grew from around 450 people to a little over 1,500, from 1855 to 1860. The area began developing and the post office was opened in 1850, a schoolhouse in 1853 and a railroad connection in 1861.
In 1863, the Civil War Soldier's Orphan Home was built, which has since became the University of Northern Iowa. In the beginning of the 1900s many prominent landmarks began being constructed in the community. Some of these included Viking Pump, The Broom Factory, Sartori Hospital and the Cedar Falls Bible Conference. Prohibition was also strongly supported by the community during this time period and Overman Park and College Hill Park were created. In 1921 Cedar Falls held the first Cedar Falls Interdenominational Bible Conference, as religion was becoming an important influence on the community.
The City of Cedar Falls was one of the fastest growing populations in the State from 1950 to 1980. This was mainly caused by the increase of economic activity in the area. Today residents of Cedar Falls has a strong sense of pride in their community. Cedar Falls boasts a competitive school system, a collaborating relationship with the University of Northern Iowa and experienced community leaders.