Waverly is a finely located city of about 3700 inhabitants. It has more up-to-date business houses of all kinds than are usually found in a city of its size. Its business men are a live bunch, always on the lookout for means to improve the city and the surrounding country. It has, in addition to these business houses, an orphans' home, the academic department of Wartburg College, the Wartburg Publishing House, St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital—one of the largest and best in the state, the Kelley Cannery, with a capacity of 4,000,000 cans annually, a gas plant, an electric light and water power plant owned and operated by the city, a fine beet sugar factory (not operating at present), a brewery (closed now), feed grinding mills, three lines of steam railways and an interurban electric railroad connecting Waverly with Waterloo and Cedar Falls, and running on to Cedar Rapids. Its schools, having an average enrollment of about 700, are among the best. Most of the fraternal orders have lodges here.

Waverly is also the home of the Bremer County Fair Association, which puts on annually an exposition commonly known as the "Live Fair." It put on its first fair in the Fall of 1909, and was from the start one of the leaders. During the years 1911, 1912 and 1913 it outclassed any fair of its kind in the state and was known almost all over the United States. It reached its apex in 1913, but it is still among the leading fairs.

Altogether, to the hustling man of business, to the man seeking a place to educate his children, or to the man who has reached the time when he wishes to retire and spend the remainder of his days in congenial society or in the company of fraternal fellowship, Waverly will be found a good place to have a home.

In concluding this account of the settlement of Bremer County, it is well to state that the settlement of the county was greatly retarded, not only by the lack of transportation facilities, but on account of the fact that much of the land was bought up by speculators, whose land was but lightly taxed, aitho its value was greatly enhanced by the improvements by which it was surrounded. In Western Iowa and in some other states this was different, and these lands were taxed at their selling value. Thus speculators had to bear their full share of the cost of public improvements.

Taken as a whole, Bremer County people have had but two periods of hard times. The first, as has already been mentioned, was caused by the lack of transportation facilities and by worthless money. The second was from about 1878 to 1881 or 1882. This was mostly caused by the contracting of credit after the Civil War and by the rapid opening of the West to farming and grazing, thus causing a greater supply of foodstuff than could profitably be disposed of. Naturally, there are people at any period who have "hard times", but during the period referred to, nearly everyone found it difficult to keep from becoming bankrupt.

About the year 1880 dairying, in connection with stock-raising, began to engage the attention of farmers. At first the creameries were operated by private parties, but soon they became co-operative enterprises. Since the time when this method of farming became really established, Bremer county has prospered wonderfully. It is claimed for the county that more milk is produced here per square mile than in any other part of the United States.

Co-operative insurance also takes the lead here, and co-operative buying and selling have been used to some extent.

Own a home in Bremer County and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Last updated 4/9/16
Return to Pioneer Life Table of Contents    


Return to Home




Bremer County, Iowa
An IAGenWeb Site
Last updated 10/12/13
Pioneer Days of Bremer County -- Chapter IV