Main Births etc
Cedar Falls, Iowa
—  City  —
Downtown Main Street, 2010
Location of Cedar Falls, Iowa
Coordinates: 42°31′25″N 92°26′47″W / 42.52352, -92.446402Coordinates: 42°31′25″N 92°26′47″W / 42.52352, -92.446402
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.


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°31′24″N 92°26′45″W / 42.52333, -92.44583 (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 0.86 square miles (2.23 km2) is water.[2]

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


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 3,070
1880 3,020 −1.6%
1890 3,459 14.5%
1900 5,319 53.8%
1910 5,012 −5.8%
1920 6,316 26.0%
1930 7,362 16.6%
1940 9,349 27.0%
1950 14,334 53.3%
1960 21,195 47.9%
1970 29,597 39.6%
1980 36,322 22.7%
1990 34,298 −5.6%
2000 36,145 5.4%
2010 39,260 8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

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
  • 88.1 KBBG
  • 88.9 KWVI
  • 89.5 KHKE
  • 90.9 KUNI (FM)
  • 92.3 KKHQ – Licensed to Oelwein with main studios in Waterloo
  • 93.5 KCVM
  • 94.5 KULT-LP
  • 97.7 KCRR – Licensed to Grundy Center with main studios in Waterloo
  • 98.5 KOEL-FM
  • 99.3 KWAY-FM – Located in Waverly
  • 100.1 KBOL-LP
  • 101.9 KNWS-FM
  • 105.7 KOKZ
  • 107.9 KFMW
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
  • 2 KGAN 2 (CBS) – Located in Cedar Rapids
  • 7 KWWL 7 (NBC, This TV on DT2, Me-TV on DT3)
  • 9 KCRG 9 (ABC) – Located in Cedar Rapids
  • 12 KIIN 12 (PBS/IPTV) – Located in Iowa City
  • 17 K17ET 17 / K44FK 44 (TBN)
  • 20 KWKB 20 (The CW) – Located in Iowa City
  • 22 KWWF 22 (Untamed Sports TV)
  • 28 KFXA 28 (Fox) – Located in Cedar Rapids
  • 32 KRIN 32 (PBS/IPTV)
  • 40 KFXB-TV 40 (CTN) – Located in Dubuque
  • 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.

  • Annabeth Gish – actress
  • Gary Kroeger – actor, Saturday Night Live 1982–1985
  • Mark Steines – co-host, Entertainment Tonight, alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa
  • Joe Trotter -— actor/comedian, Andersonville
  • Michael Mosley (actor) – actor, Scrubs (TV Series)
  • Kurt Warner – A retired NFL quarterback who played for the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals; a University of Northern Iowa alumnus
  • Don Denkinger – umpire that made a controversial call in the 1985 World Series
  • Bryce Paup-- NFL Football Player
  • Edgar Seymour—Olympic Bobsledder
  • Terry Stotts – former head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks
  • Chad Rinehart – Boone High School, University of Northern Iowa, Redskins
  • Dedric Ward – A retired National Football League wide-receiver, who played for the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys. Ward was an alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Trev Alberts – 1993 Butkus Award (for best linebacker in NCAA Division I football) winner and All-American at the University of Nebraska. A number one draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts, Alberts retired from the NFL after three seasons and moved to broadcasting with ESPN for a number of years. Now the Director of Athletics at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
  • Nick RingUFC fighter
  • Robert HibbsMedal of Honor recipient
  • Karen Holvik – classical soprano, currently on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music
  • Giants – instrumental post-rock band
  • House of Large Sizes – an alternative rock band
  • Bill Stewart – jazz drummer and composer, attended UNI
  • Bonnie Koloc – folk music singer/songwriter/musician, born in Waterloo, Iowa attended UNI
  • Marv Diemer – Iowa state legislator
  • Charles Grassley – Current U.S. Senator, attended UNI
  • Gil Gutknecht – Former Minnesota congressman
  • Roger Jepsen – Former U.S. Senator
  • Gerald Guralnik – physicist, co-discoverer of the 'Higgs Mechanism'
  • Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881–1954) – author of several novels
  • R.V. Cassill – novelist and short story writer
  • James Hearst – poet, farmer, professor of creative writing at UNI between 1941 and 1975
  • Helen Markley Miller (1899–?), writer of historical and biographical fiction for children about the Western United States.[12][13]
  • Leland Sage – Professor at UNI and historian
  • Robert James Waller – author of The Bridges of Madison County
  • Nancy Price – author of Sleeping with the Enemy
  • Ruth Suckow Nuhn (1892–1960) – author of numerous short stories and novels (including Country People, The Folks, New Hope)
  • Ferner Nuhn (1903–1989) – literary critic, author of numerous articles and essays, artist, and Quaker activist.
Diverse notability
  • Marc Andreessen – Co-founder, Netscape Corporation
  • Randy & Vicki Weaver – Parents, John Deere Employee, Ruby Ridge incident
  • Ben Milne - founder of the online payment system Dwolla

Sister cities[]

Cedar Falls has one overseas sister city:

  • People's Republic of China Laibin, Guangxi, China

See also[]

  • Black Hawk Hotel
  • Cedar Falls Ice House
  • University of Northern Iowa Teaching and Research Greenhouse
  • The Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Evansdale metro area has more than 80 miles (130 km) of paved trails for walking, running or bicycling.


  1. ^ "About Cedar Falls/Mayor". City of Cedar Falls. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010". United States Census Bureau American FactFinder. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  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". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  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. ^ (1964) "{{{title}}}". “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[]

External links[]

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