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Cedar Falls, Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa
Downtown Main Street, 2010
Downtown Main Street, 2010
Location of Cedar Falls, Iowa
Location of Cedar Falls, Iowa
Country United States
State Iowa
County Black Hawk
 • Mayor Jon Crews as of 2011[1]
 • Total 29.61 sq mi (76.69 km2)
 • Land 28.75 sq mi (74.46 km2)
 • Water 0.86 sq mi (2.23 km2)
Elevation 879 ft (268 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 39,260
 • Estimate (2013[4]) 40,566
 • Density 1,365.6/sq mi (527.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP code 50613
Area code(s) 319
FIPS code 19-11755
GNIS feature ID 0455240
Website City Website

Cedar Falls is a city in Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 39,260[5][6] and has the smaller population of the two principal cities in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan area. It is home to the University of Northern Iowa public university.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Arts and culture 4
    • Library 4.1
    • Historical Society 4.2
  • Education 5
  • Media 6
  • Notable people 7
  • Sister cities 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


Cedar Falls was founded in 1845 by William Sturgis. It was originally named Sturgis Falls, for the first family who settled the site. The Sturgis family moved on within a few years and the city was renamed Cedar Falls because of its proximity to the Cedar River. However the city's founders are honored each year with a three-day community-wide celebration named in their honor – the Sturgis Falls Celebration.[7]

Because of the availability of water power, Cedar Falls developed as a milling and industrial center prior to the Civil War. The establishment of the Civil War Soldiers' Orphans Home in Cedar Falls changed the direction in which the city developed when, following the war, it became the first building on the campus of the Iowa State Normal School (now the University of Northern Iowa).


Cedar Falls is located at (42.523520, −92.446402).[8] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.61 square miles (76.69 km2), of which, 28.75 square miles (74.46 km2) is land and is water.[2]

Natural forest, prairie and wetland areas are found within the city limits at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center.


2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 39,260 people, 14,608 households, and 8,091 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,365.6 inhabitants per square mile (527.3/km2). There were 15,477 housing units at an average density of 538.3 per square mile (207.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.4% White, 2.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.0% of the population.

There were 14,608 households of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.6% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 26.8 years. 17.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 29.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.5% were from 25 to 44; 20.1% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.

2000 census

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 36,145 people, 12,833 households, and 7,558 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,277.2 people per square mile (493.1/km²). There were 13,271 housing units at an average density of 468.9 per square mile (181.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.14% White, 1.57% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. 1.08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,833 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.91.

Age spread: 18.0% under the age of 18, 30.6% from 18 to 24, 20.5% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 88.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $70,226, and the median income for a family was $85,158. Males had a median income of $60,235 versus $50,312 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,140. About 5.6% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18, and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

In 1986, the City of Cedar Falls established the Cedar Falls Art and Culture Board,[10] which oversees the operation of the City's Cultural Division and the James & Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts.


The Cedar Falls Public Library is housed in the Adele Whitenach Davis building located at 524 Main Street. The 47,000 square foot (4,400 m²) structure, designed by Struxture Architects, replaced the Carniege-Dayton building in early 2004. As of the 2011 fiscal year, the library's holdings included 6,034 audio materials, 4,951 video materials, 85 miscellaneous titles, and 129,348 books and periodicals for a grand total of 140,418 items. Patrons made 266,944 visits which took advantage of circulation services, adult, teen, and youth programming. Circulation of library materials for fiscal year 2011 was 352,758. The library also provides public access to more than 30 public computers which provide Internet access, office software suites, high resolution color printing, and various games.

The mission of the Cedar Falls Public Library is to promote literacy and provide open access to resources which facilitate lifelong learning. The library is a member of the Cedar Valley Library Consortium(CVLC). Consortium members share an Integrated Library System(ILS) server which resides in the Rod Library of the University of Northern Iowa. Library management is provided by Sheryl McGovern MLS, Joint Director of the Cedar Falls and Waterloo Public Libraries.

Historical Society

The Cedar Falls Historical Society has its offices in the Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum. It preserves Cedar Falls' history through its five museums, collection, archives, and public programs. Besides the Victorian House, the Society operates the Cedar Falls Ice House, George Wyth House, Little Red Schoolhouse, and Behrens-Rapp Station.


University of Northern Iowa's Lang Hall

Besides holding one of the three Iowa public universities, University of Northern Iowa (UNI), Cedar Falls is home to two high schools: Valley Lutheran High School, a private Christian school, and Cedar Falls High School, which is part of the public school district. The public school district, Cedar Falls Community Schools, includes two junior high schools and six elementary schools. There is also a private Catholic elementary school at St. Patricks Church. The Malcolm Price Lab School/Northern University High School, was a private K-12 school run by the university. It closed in 2012 following cuts at UNI.

In 2000, the for-profit Hamilton College now Kaplan University established its sixth campus of seven in Cedar Falls by acquiring the American Institute of Commerce.


FM radio
AM radio
  • 600 WMT – Located in Cedar Rapids
  • 640 WOI – Located in Ames
  • 950 KOEL – Located in Oelwein
  • 1040 WHO – Located in Des Moines
  • 1090 KNWS
  • 1250 KCFI
  • 1330 KWLO
  • 1540 KXEL
  • 1650 KCNZ
Broadcast television
  • The Courier, daily newspaper
  • The Cedar Falls Times, weekly newspaper

The underground music scene in the Cedar Falls area from 1977 to present day is well documented. The Wartburg College Art Gallery in Waverly, Iowa hosted a collaborative history of the bands, record labels, and music venues involved in the Cedar Falls music scene which ran from March 17 to April 14, 2007. This effort has been continued as a wiki style website called The Secret History of the Cedar Valley.[11]

Notable people

See UNI notable alumni for notable people from the University of Northern Iowa.

Diverse notability

Sister cities

Cedar Falls has one overseas sister city:

See also


  1. ^ "About Cedar Falls/Mayor". City of Cedar Falls. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010".  
  6. ^ a b "Data from the 2010 Census". State Data Center of Iowa. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  9. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  10. ^ "The Cedar Falls Art and Culture Board". Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Secret History of the Cedar Valley". Main page. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  12. ^ School libraries: 29. 1964. A superb story-teller who makes the pioneer life of the American frontier leap into being, Helen Markley Miller has written many books ... 
  13. ^ Ward, Martha; Marquardt, Dorothy (1971). Authors of books for young people (2 ed.). p. 363. MILLER, Helen Markley – Born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, she graduated from Iowa State Teachers College and received her master's degree from Western State College ... 

Further reading

  • Brian C. Collins. Images of America: Cedar Falls, Iowa. Arcadia Publishing, Inc. 1998. ISBN 0-7524-1358-9 ISBN 0-7385-4582-1

External links

  • City of Cedar Falls
  • Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce
  • Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau
  • Cedar Falls Historical Society
  • Hearst Center for the Arts
  • John Page: Cedar River Series
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