a pictorial history
by Margaret Corwin and Helen Hoy
First edition, 1983

The Cedar River provided ice, which was cut in the winter with heavy blunt-nosed hand saws. It was then hauled and stored in large buildings [our photo of an ice house has been lost]. Teams of horses hoisted the ice up the chute using a block and tackle pulley method. Harvesting started when the ice was ten or twelve inches thick -- usually in mid January. Ice houses were windowless and immense, with walls about 40 feet high. The walls were double insulated with sawdust.


Waterloo Public Library Collection

The Waterloo Paper Mill was organized in 1888 and located near the river, east of 18th Street and south of LaPorte Road. A ripple below the 18th Street Bridge is a telltale sign of the remains of a stone dam, erected in the 1880s as the 'lower power project'. A street named after the mill, "Paper Mill Street" is located in the Rooff Addition. Gladys Street (where the chimney of the old mill stands) was named after John Rooff's wife. The mill produced up to eight tons of strawboard per day (used to manufactured egg case fillers) and employed 75 people. The mill was partially destroyed by fire in 1908 and, it is said, was thereafter used as a "pest" house to isolate those with communicable diseases.

Courtesy of Clarence Baldwin

This is the Union Mill as it burned on December 29, 1900.

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