there was a settlement in the West there soon arose the
need for a trading post or general store, a place where
pioneers could purchase the necessities and frivolities
they could not make for themselves. When Andrew Mullarky
came to Cedar Falls in 1850, he saw this need and did something
about it. He established the Black Hawk Store on this site,
starting with a small stock of goods he had brought with
him from Freeport, Illinois.
born in 1820 in County Mayo, Ireland. He came to the United
States at the age of 10. When he settled in Cedar Falls
it was a town of only 135 people, and his was the only retail
store in the county; but already there were signs of progress.
Next to his store
was the Overman millrace, which fed a sawmill (1848) and
a grist mill (1850). In front of the store, Main Street
twisted its way north and south so as to avoid the many
tree stumps that still dotted the road. The edges were rough,
but prospects seemed bright to Mullarky.
the Black Hawk Store were hauled from Dubuque by oxen, a
journey that sometimes required two weeks. One of the teamsters
engaged by Mullarky was James Streeter, father of author
Bess Streeter Aldrich.
For a time, the
Black Hawk Store served a second purpose. Mullarky was custodian
of county records when the Black Hawk County seat was established
at Cedar Falls. He kept the county's official papers in
the loft of his store from 1853 to 1855, making it the first
"courthouse" in the county.
that was a source of prosperity for Mullarky and the town
proved to be his undoing. On a dark night in December 1863,
he fell into the millrace as he left his store and drowned.