Melendy wrote of Cedar Falls that 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. He also played a role in
the founding of Iowa State University. ,
Melendy was mayor
of Cedar Falls from 1895 to 1901. He was also an important
local historian and author of Record of Cedar Falls, the
Garden City of Iowa, Fifty Years 1843-1893.
this house in the mid-1870s on the site of a house that
he built in 1859. Melendy's first wife was buried on the
grounds of the house.
The house displays
an Italianate, or bracketed, design and retains much of
its original porch detail, though the gingerbread typical
of the period is missing. Inside, a mahogany railing and
newel post guard a twisting stairway. The house had five
fireplaces for the two living rooms, two bedrooms and one
dining room. The cast iron fireplaces in the living rooms
were designed to resemble black marble.
in the house only a brief time before selling it to I. D.
Gilkey. Still later, Roger Leavitt was another prominent
owner of this house. Melendy's second house in Cedar Falls,
built in 1886, is located at 822 Washington Street.