About This Place
Cedar Falls is a city in Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States, and it is home to one of Iowa's three public universities, the University of Northern Iowa. The population was 39,260 in the 2010 census, an increase from the 36,145 population in the 2000 census. It has the smaller population of the two principal cities in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan area.
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.
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).