CEDAR FALLS is situated on the west bank of the Cedar River, one hundred miles due west from DuBuque, on the line of the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad. Its population at present is 2,613 and it possesses all the natural advantages which are required to make it one of the largest and most thriving towns to Northern Iowa.
It is surrounded by farming lands unsurpassed in the great West for richness and fertility. The Cedar Valley—the garden of Iowa—is recognized by all who are familiar with it, as being unequalled by any other portion of the State in the number and superiority of its inducements to the settler.
No portion of the State is better timbered than that surrounding Cedar Falls. The lack of timber is the great drawback to the West; but it never need be a hindrance to the growth and prosperity of this locality, with anything like economy in its use. It is estimated that there are between Waterloo, in this county, and Janesville, in Bremer county–Cedar Falls lying about half way between the two—not far from 20,000 acres of good timber. The timber lies in a belt on both banks of the Cedar, being from one to two miles in width. A few miles north of the Falls there are in addition to the main stream the West Fork, the Shell Rock and the Beaver. Here is found a great body of timber which is known as the Big Woobs.
When the railroad shall have progressed westward into Hardin county, coal, which there exists in great quantities and of excellent variety, will be extensively used as fuel, which will go far to economize the timber.
This entire tract of country is underlain with a superior quality of lime stone, which is easily quarried, and affords superior building material.
It is thought, too, that the coal beds are also underlying this immediate vicinity. Indeed, coal in small quantities has been found and some indications of petroleum have been discovered.
To a stranger it may appear exaggaration(sic) to say that the best water power in Iowa is here; but men very capable of judging assure us that this is so. It is estimated that at an average stage of water there is power enough to run one hundred run of stone. On this superior water power Cedar Falls relies for her substantial progress and prosperity. It now has three large grist mills, two saw mills (beside a steam saw mill,) a foundry and machine shop, a furniture manufactory, a sash, door and blind factory, a carding machine, a plaining mill, etc. During the coming summer a three-story woolen mill is to be put up by parties who have purchased power and ground for that purpose.
Cedar Falls has 6 dry goods stores; 5 groceries; 3 drug stores; 4 boot and shoe stores: 3 fruit and confectionery stores; 2 hardware stores; 2 leather stores; 3 clothing stores; and 2 merchant tailoring establishments; 1 jewelry store, and 2 jewelers; 2 millinery stores; 1 news room; 2 furniture stores; 2 agricultural implements stores; 2 banks; 3 breweries; 1 pottery; 1 foundry and 2 tanneries.
There are of church organizations in town as follows: Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Universalist, German Methodist, German Lutheran and Catholic.
There is a fine public school house of brick, three stories high and a basement, 47x60 feet, with a projecting front of 13-1/2x48 feet. Cost $15,000. Cedar Falls has two good select schools.
The following comprises the various associations in Cedar Falls:—Library Association. This Association has a library of about 600 volumes, which is open to members every day during business hours. Cedar Valley Agricultural Society; Cedar Valley Joint Stock Agricultural Association; Board of Trade; Masonic, Black Hawk Lodge, No. 65, A. F. & A. M. meets on the first Monday after the full of the moon; Valley Chapter, No. 20, meets the first Wednesday after the full moon; Good Templars, meet every Tuesday evening; New England Association and Cemetery Association.
During the last year the business of Cedar Falls has increased over fifty per cent. As an indication of the business of the town we may say that carefully considered figures show the amount done by the produce buyers, merchants and manufacturers, for the year 1864, ending December 31st, to be in dollars and cents Three Million, Eight Hundred and Eighty-three Thousand, One Hundred and Fifteen Dollars ($3,883,115.00.) These figures can be relied on as nearly correct. They are made independent of transient business, which if considered would largely add to the aggregate. One dry goods house sold during the year $75,000 worth of goods; and one grocery house sold $140,000 worth of goods. The latter house in the month of December alone sold to the amount of $12,200. During the year $2,500,000.00 passed through the Express office. These figures are sufficient to indicate the large amount of business done at this point.
The first permanent settlement, where Cedar Falls now stands, was made in March, 1845, by Wm. Sturgis and D. Adams, who, leaving their families in Johnson county, made a prospecting tour up the valley of the Cedar, and on arriving at this point made their claims and erected their cabins. Sturgis claiming that portion comprising the water power, and the north half of the present town of Cedar Falls.—Mr. Adam's claim was south of the claim of Mr. Sturgis and near Dry Run, on which he now resides.
In May or June of the same year, John Hamilton and sons, of Johnson County, came, made claims, and erected a cabin.—The last named brought with them a breaking team and plow, and during the year 1845 did the first breaking ever done in this county. The Hamiltons, however, soon abandoned their claims and returned to Johnson county.
The first saw mill was erected by John T. Barrack, J. M. & D. C. Overman & E. Brown, at Cedar Falls, in the year 1848, and a grist mill was erected in 1850.
The first school was taught by Mrs. J. Taylor, in the summer of 1848, and had an attendance of six scholars. In 1853, a school house was built by subscription—being the same which was recently sold to the Baptist Church, known as the “old school house"—in the belfry of which was placed the first bell west of DuBuque. The number of persons within school age was 41. The first house was built by Mr. Sturgis, and stood, until within the last few years, on the south bank of the Mill Race, where now is the foot of Clay street.
Cedar Falls was not located until 1851, when a few lots were laid out, and little or nothing attempted to be done with them. In 1853 a new plat was made and recorded in Buchanan county, this county then not being organized. In that year the first lot was sold, from which time we date the commencement of Cedar Falls. From the best information we can obtain, we place the population of the town in that year at 40,-the number of houses 9.
In 1851 a store was opened by the late Andrew Mullarky, being the first store in the county. In 1853, Mr. John R. Cameron erected the first building designed expressly for a store, which now stands on the corner of Main and Second streets, and used for a dry goods store.
In 1853 it was claimed that the town contained a population of three hundred, although the actual population was much below that figure. In 1854, the town commenced to increase in size and population rapidly. Many new buildings were erected, and a hotel opened.
On the 11th of July, that year, the first number of the Cedar Falls Banner was issued, being the first paper published in the counties west of DuBuque. 
In 1854, the population increased to 450. Since that time the increase has been steady and permanent.
The oldest frame house now standing is the building occupied by J. W. Maggart as a dwelling, near the corner of Main and First streets, which was built by Samuel Wick, and was the first frame house erected in the county. The first white child born in the county is residing here, —Henry Adams, son of E. D. Adams.  (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)

City or Town
Black Hawk