Waterloo, Iowa


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Waterloo Business Signs

The city of Waterloo is located in the northeastern region of the US state of Iowa.  Waterloo, Iowa serves as the county seat of Black Hawk County.  Historically, this location sat between two Meskwaki (Fox) American tribal seasonal camps, which had previously been settled along the Cedar River.  The first settlers from the burgeoning United States were George and Mary Melrose Hanna and their children in 1845.  Following them, the Virden and Mullan families arrived in 1846.

Originally founded as Prairie Rapids Crossing, the town was renamed Waterloo following Charles Mullan’s petition for a post office.  Traditionally, it is said Mullan chose the new name “Waterloo” after “he flipped through a list of other post offices in the United States” and came across it.  Evidently, he fancied the new name and became the first postmaster for the city on December 29th, 1851.  The city of Waterloo, Iowa wouldn’t officially become incorporated until 1868, however.

Modern day Waterloo, Iowa has a total population of 68,364 people, according to a 2014 estimate by the US Census Bureau.  This makes it the sixth most populous city in the state of Iowa.  Waterloo, Iowa is also part of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a total population of 169,895 people, according to that same 2014 estimate.  Waterloo, Iowa is the largest city within this metropolitan area.

In October of 2006, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance calculated the largest employers in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area to be (in order): John Deere, Covenant Medical Center, Tyson Fresh Meats, the University of Northern Iowa, Allen Hospital, Waterloo Community Schools, and Omega Cabinets & Bertch Cabinets.

One of Waterloo, Iowa’s main attractions is the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.  The SSNHA has also come to be known as America’s Agricultural Heritage Partnership.  According to the SSNHA web page, this heritage area is part of 49 federally designated areas in the nation – and is also affiliated with the National Parks Service.  The SSNHA’s main goal is to “develop a network of sites, programs, and events” in order “to interpret farm life, agribusiness, and rural communities – past and present.”

Another exciting attraction located in Waterloo, Iowa is the Waterloo Center for the Arts.  This regional center focuses on the cultivation and appreciation for visual and performance arts.  In fact, the Waterloo Center for the Arts’ permanent collection includes the largest group of Haitian Art collected in the United States.  The WCA’s collection also includes Midwest Regionalist Art (for example works by Grant Wood & Thomas Hart Benton), Mexican Folk Art, International Folk Art, American Decorative Arts, and Public Art.

One of the largest employers in the Waterloo, Iowa area is the University of Northern Iowa.  The University of Northern Iowa “offers more than 90 majors across the colleges of Social Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Sciences, Humanities, Education, and Business Administration.”  The University of Northern Iowa was established in 1876, employs 800 academic staff, with 11,981 undergraduates and 1,933 graduates enrolled in its various programs.  As of 2015, the University of Northern Iowa had a $107.3 million endowment.

The University of Northern Iowa’s collegiate teams, the Panthers, compete in NCAA Division I FCS.  The Panthers are a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.  The Panthers’ Women’s softball team have been AIAW national champions twice.  The Panthers’ Wrestling team has won three team championships.  The Panthers’ Football team plays their home games in the UNI-Dome, which has a total capacity of 16,324 seats.

Own a small business in the Waterloo, Iowa area?  Are you by any chance considering it?  These resources could prove useful to you:

Apply for a Business License in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa Small Business Development Center

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber of Commerce

Advertize your small business!  Get in touch with one of our authorized Sign.com member sign shops:

Grady’s Graphics
Cedar Rapids, IA
Scott Grady
Decorah, IA
Brian Peterson