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Cedar Falls William Sturgis
[or Sturges] Cabin (site)


Cedar Falls
First and Franklin Street


William Sturgis was the first permanent white settler in Black Hawk County. He came here in 1845 and built a double cabin where the Ice House Museum now stands. Claiming land and water rights on both sides of the river, including much of what is now downtown Cedar Falls, he named the area "Sturgis Falls."

His brother-in-law, Erasmus Adams, a cabinetmaker from Ohio, soon joined Sturgis and his wife, Dorothy. Adams built a log cabin and claimed the land farther south, near Dry Run Creek. The first white child born in the county was Sarah Jane Sturgis, nicknamed Jennie, on October 1, 1846. Henry Adams followed her just three days later. These births increased the population of Sturgis Falls to 13.

Sturgis and Adams each farmed five acres of land. In addition, Sturgis sought to build a brush dam and sawmill on the Cedar River. Lack of money and manpower, however, prompted Sturgis to sell his 280- claim to John Overman in 1848. Sturgis then moved his family to Minnesota, and the town was renamed Cedar Falls the following year.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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