"A Bicycle Ride Through Waterloo and Elk Run" Waterloo by atufft

Waterloo Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 58 photos

Located on the Cedar River above Cedar Rapids...

In the flood of 2008, the system of levees and concrete seawalls along both sides of the Cedar River at Waterloo more or less worked, leaving greater disaster to downstream farmland and the larger city of Cedar Rapids. This was fortunate for Waterloo, as this city has had only a brief period of success during its century and a half of existence. The town was founded and named by the Hanna, Virden, and Mullan families in 1845-46, but was slow to develop until it became a railroad junction in the 1880's. Between the 1880's and 1920, the town grew considerably, becoming the location for farm equipment manufacturing, meat packing, and even brass era automobile manufacturing. It was during this time that the city's current stock of gothic and art deco style commercial buildings and churches were constructed. I cycled into Waterloo from nearby Elk Run, where there's a large truck stop just off US20.

Gothic Churches and the Nature Trail

Downtown restaurants and business were mostly closed on the Sunday that I pedaled into town, but I found a small wealth of gothic and art deco architecture to photograph. Many of the commercial buildings are empty or waiting for a better purpose while the churches seem to remain in business even though Waterloo. The compact arrangement of churches along 4th street were particularly interesting. Later, in my return to the truck stop, I discovered the nature trail, a well constructed bicycle path that goes along the levees from Waterloo to Elk Run.

  • Last visit to Waterloo: Oct 2009
  • Intro Written Oct 25, 2009
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