Black Hawk County History


The Iowa Central Hotel, was originally the Sherman House, built by Henry Sherman. He built a 1 1/2 story, 25 x 50-foot addition to a log cabin tavern he purchased from Soloman Ayers.

The upper half was called "The School Section" with cots numbered 1 - 16. In 1864, there was a grand opening of the 3-story, 50 room Iowa Central House. There was dancing space, dining room billiard parlor and barbershop in the building. Noted in the hotel's register was the name of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.


James E. Sedgwick

James E. Sedgwick, lawyer, real estate developer, founder of an abstract company and president of the Leavitt and Johnson Bank bought Sedgwick Island in 1884 to build a summer home.

In 1912 a permanent residence featured a 15-foot fireplace which took 4-foot logs. A special elevator installed to bring the logs from the basement to the living room was also needed. He died in 1918, and his daughter, Mrs. Andrew Reid continued to live on the island until her death in 1943.

The property was then turned into a nightclub called "The Island," and John Deere Company bought the property in 1954. The house and island no longer may be seen giving way to expansion of Deere and Company, and a four lane street.

photos courtesy of Don Durchenwald