Melendy wrote of Cedar Falls "no more beautiful site
for a city can be found in the West." As a businessman,
railroad promoter, mayor and friend of education, Melendy
did much to fulfill that vision of his adopted community.
Melendy was instrumental in establishing the Iowa Soldiers'
Orphans Home at Cedar Falls in 1869. In 1876, when the Home
was no longer needed, Melendy was a prime mover in the successful
effort to convert the building to use as the Iowa State
Normal School, now the University of Northern Iowa.
Melendy was mayor
of Cedar Falls from 1895 to 1901, during which time the
city acquired free postal delivery, a trolley line and a
new city hall. He was also an important early historian
and author of Record of Cedar Falls, The Garden City of
Iowa, Fifty Years 1843-1893.
This house, built
in 1886, was Melendy's second home in Cedar Falls. (The
first is located at 1107 Washington Street.) The Queen Anne
influence is evident in the cut-away corners forming a two-story
window, the pent roof and other details. Leaded glass is
still intact in the front door, the dining room and the
living room. A beautiful carved staircase is in its original
condition, with a built-in seat underneath.
A later occupant
of the house was Marion McFarland Walker, Melendy's stepdaughter.
She lived in the house with her husband, Sam Walker, founder
of the Cedar Falls Record.