Sans Souci Hotel
built in 1898, closed in 1908


Located on the southern tip of Sans Souci Island, Sans Souci (meaning without care) Hotel was built in 1898. The hotel was two stories high with a wide porch running the length of both stories.

A broad walkway led to the river where a covered dock received passengers from two river excursion boats. The hotel was known for its fine cuisine and good accommodations.

The building was located across the WCF&N tracks, and across Conger Street from the present homes on the remaining island river front. The section of the island which supported the hotel no longer exists. It was dredged out during John Deere's factory expansion of 1967 - 68.

The hotel was torn down in 1917. In 1900, 20 people organized a golf clubhouse and built a nine-hole golf course on the island. But it was battered by frequent floods and had only five holes remaining in the last year of its existence in 1908.

Broom Factory
actually crafted brooms --- and pickles

Brooms and pickles seem like an unlikely combination for a manufacturing company, but C.M. McHugh produced both in this building just north of the intersection of Main Street and Highway 57.

The building had many uses. It was constructed in 1862 for the production of cornstarch, and it was later used for the manufacture of wooden pumps, oatmeal and washing machines. It finally became a broom factory in 1905. McHugh was in the broom business for about 40 years in Cedar Falls.

The broom and pickle factory has been converted into The Olde Broom Factory Restaurant. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Source: Historical Tour of Black Hawk County Iowa

As of January 2, 1900

Population: 12,500

Five miles of paved streets.
Fourteen miles of water mains.
Twelve miles of electric street railway.
More cement sidewalk than any town of equal size in Iowa.

Business & Industry:
Annual manufacturing business, $3.5 million.
Cheapest of fuel.
Two free public libraries.
$400,000 in banking capital.
$1 million in deposit.
Largest Chautauqua west of New York.
Inducements offered for any legitimate enterprise.

Sports & Leisure:
Beautiful summer resort at Sans Souci and Cedar River Park -- Summer Hotel, Sans Souci.
Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, Jan 2, 1900.

Excerpt from the 1901-1902 Cedar Falls Directory
(courtesy of Cedar Falls Historical Society)

The city consisted of 32 streets and had four high school teachers.
Dannervirke, the only Danish newspaper in Iowa, was published at 315 State St. once a week.

Excerpts from 1909-1910 Cedar Falls City Directory:
The city consists of four wards
3 restaurants
1 hair dresser
3 harness shops
5 blacksmiths
7 barber shops
3 theaters
1 vet
14 doctors

Waterloo sees influx of immigrants

The area saw an influx of immigrants at the turn of the century, following the Irish in the first half of the 19th century.

New Americans from other European nations, including the Scandinavian countries and Germany, settled the countryside in the second half of the century.

In the early 20th century, there were sufficient Jewish residents to support a synagogue. In 1905, 15 charter members organized the Congregation Sons of Jacob at 613 W Fifth St.

Beginning in 1907, Croatians came to Waterloo in search of employment, especially with the Illinois Central Railroad. An estimated 500 immigrants were the Balkan representation in the early 20th century.

Newcomers from Greece settled on the east and west sides of the city, although most lived on the west side. Although a few Greeks briefly stayed in Waterloo in the late 19th century, it was not until the early 20th century that they settled permanently in significant numbers.

African Americans did not come in substantial numbers until 1911.
Source: Waterloo The Factory City of Iowa


Black Hawk County was created in 1843 by the Territorial Legislature of Iowa and attached to Delaware County for judicial, election and revenue proposes, because there were few, if any, white settlers at the time.

The Saux and Fox (Meskwaki) Indians had lived here for many years, owning the area until 1837. The county was named after the renowned Sauk Chief Black Hawk, although he never lived here.

In 1845, BHC was attached to Benton County, and in 1851 to Bushman County again for judicial, election and revenue purposes. Not until Aug. 17, 1853 did BHC have its own government.

It is believed the first white man to visit BHC was a Frenchman named Gervais Paul Somaneaux. He came during the spring of 1837, left during the winter, and returned about 10 years later to settle in Cedar Falls where he lived until his death in 1850. Source: Historical Tour of Black Hawk County, Iowa.


The first permanent white settlement in Black Hawk County was started in March 1845 by William Sturgis and his brother-in-law, Erasmus D. Adams. They named their settlement Sturgis Falls. The two came to the area in search of homes and desirable waterpower. Upon arriving in the area, Sturgis and Adams were charmed by both the beauty of the area, and also by the possibility of a townsite in the area.

Sturgis built a double log cabin on the banks of the Red Cedar River and broke five acres of prairie. This was considered to be the first breaking of prairie land in the county.

The name of Sturgis Falls was changed to Cedar Falls in 1851. Source: Historical Tour of BHC Iowa


In 1845, two covered wagons stopped on the east bank of the Cedar River at a place known as Prairie Rapids Crossing. In these two wagons were the founders of present day Waterloo, George and Mary Hanna, along with their family. In the summer of 1846, the Virdens and the Mullans arrived, becoming the Hanna's first neighbors. In 1851, the town was awarded a post office and a permanent title, but the name needed to be changed. Charles Mullan, who managed to secure seven signatures on a petition to get a post office, thought that the name Prairie Rapids Crossing was too cumbersome for mailing addresses. As a result, the name of the settlement was changed to Waterloo. Source: Historical Tour of BHC Iowa