Cedar County, Iowa
Community News

Newspaper clippings with some history of the old grain elevator in the village of Wald
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, April 9, 2015

Taken from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Feb. 15, 1995

Leaning tower of Tipton

    Suddenly the tower is there, along the west side of Highway 38, a little north of Tipton. It looks like a not-so-strong wind would send it toppling over.

     That tower once served a valuable purpose for area farmers because it is actually an old grain elevator located in the village of Wald. A railroad spur once ran parallel to the highway. Farmers stored their grain in the elevator so it could be loaded onto the trains, which ran from Stanwood to Tipton.

     According to “Cedar Land, A History of Living, 1836-1880”, by Don and Dorothy Stout, “in April 1896, the town was still booming and a post office would soon be established with three mails a day.” There were stockyards, a scale and a well.

     “In November 1913 the CNW (Chicago Northwestern) made a waiting room at Wald out of an old box car for patrons waiting for the train. The Wald elevator man was hired to keep a fire in the waiting room,” continues the book.

     “In March 1919, passengers to Stanwood were stuck in huge snow drifts at Wald. Sixteen section men were sent down from Stanwood and they shoveled out the train so it would get to a siding. The Penningroth family supplied the 28 marooned travelers with sandwiches and coffee.”

     Cedar County Sheriff Keith Whitlatch grew up two miles northwest of Wald, in Shiloh. His grandfather used to walk the two miles to Wald to catch the train, ride it into Tipton to go to school, then return home on the train. The sheriff says the grain elevator “leaned the first year. It’s leaned ever since.”

     “A lot of people look at it as just an old derelict that should be torn down. I think of it as a piece of our history that should be restored.”

     The sheriff adds that there are gears, pulleys, buckets, etc. that could be salvaged from the structure. “I’d like to see some of that saved for part of our history. It’s just a matter of getting somebody to up to the top and . . . salvage them.”

     “It’s a solid building. It’s withstood a lot of wind storms and the like. It’s still standing.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

From the Tipton Conservative and Advertiser, April 3, 1996

Democrats Want Wald Named ‘Historic Site’

    Some of the delegates didn’t know where it was.

     Others couldn’t figure out why it should be called a historic site.

     But, apparently displaying a rare sense of humor for a political county convention, Democratic delegates voted, 17 to 16, to make the “Leaning Tower of Wald” a historic site.

     Oddly, considering it was Democrats in convention, there was almost no discussion. First a voice vote was held. When this was too close to call, they voted by hand. When the count was over Wald was headed for the historic register.

     There is a problem. The old elevator on what was once a railroad stop north of Tipton, is headed for oblivion.

     Sheriff Keith Whitlatch, who emphasized he had nothing to do with getting the resolution on Wald into the county platform, intends to help tear down the building. It is considered both dangerous and could, if struck by a high wind, be scattered across Iowa 38.

     While Whitlatch thinks there is little danger it will blow over, he is sure that the elevator is beyond redemption.

     When it is torn down it will be the last of what was once a busy railroad stop. There were never any houses there, but it was a busy livestock terminal, with cattle and hogs being shipped to Chicago.

     It was also a stop where young people attending Tipton high school could board the train each day.

     When the elevator goes, with it goes a part of Cedar county history.

     The Democrats can say they tried.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Taken from The Gazette, Jan. 1, 2000

Arson suspected in pair of blazes in Cedar County
By Dave Gosch, Gazette staff writer

TIPTON—The leaning Wald elevator withstood everything Mother Nature threw at it, but an arsonist kept the structure from making it into this century.

    Firefighters were called to the old elevator, located on Highway 38 about four miles north of Tipton, around 12:15 a.m. Friday.

     Stanwood First Assistant Fire-Chief Dennis Coppess said the structure was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

     About five minutes later, fire-fighters were called to a blaze at an abandoned farmhouse about two miles northwest of the elevator.

     Coppess said it appears both fires were set, and authorities believe they are related. No one was injured.

     THE ELEVATOR and a nearby Quonset hut from the early 1940s were all that remained of Wald Station. The Chicago & North Western railroad once ran through the town, which had a stockyard to the south, two corn cribs and a lumber yard.

     Owner Mike Long said the elevator and office haven’t been used as a business for many years.

     “It bothers me in a way. It’s a part of me right after World War II,” he said.

     Mike’s father, Ira, started a farm machinery repair shop there in 1942. Mike joined him in 1946. They were once Case and New Idea dealers.

     The elevator, at the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 38 and 275th Street, was built of stacked two-by-fours spiked together and tied at the ends.

     Long said the landmark tilted from the time it was built because the limestone foundation began to settle right away. The leaning became more pronounced in recent years, but the sturdy building continued to stand.

     Long said firefighters were able to save about 10 to 15 feet of the old office.

     Long said he will let recently retired Cedar County Sheriff Keith Whitlatch glean what he can from remains of the structure. Whitlatch, who is active with the Cedar County Historical Society, said he will salvage it for its historic value.

     “It was probably one of the best-known landmarks in Cedar County,” said Whitlatch, who retired Friday.

     Wald Station lives on in the form of a miniature model on display in the Cedar County Historical Society’s Agricultural Museum at the Cedar County Fairgrounds.

Return to Community News Articles Index

Return to Cedar Co. IAGenWeb Home Page

Page created April 9, 2015 by Lynn McCleary