Cedar Valley Agricultural Society purchased this 80-acre
site in 1861 for use as a fairground. Fairs were held here
until 1928, when a flood destroyed Dry Run Bridge, the only
access to the area at that time. The prohibitive cost of
replacing the bridge, and competition from the Dairy Cattle
Congress and Belgian Horse Show in Waterloo, brought an
end to the Cedar Valley Fair.
became famous as South Park Trotting Track after Dr. William
Pettit acquired them late in the 19th century. The track
was half a mile long and included a grandstand, stables
and judging stand. Coach, draft and carriage horses were
also raised and exercised here. Other spectacles staged
at South Park included a contest between an airplane and
a racing car driven by Barney Oldfield.
by then reduced to 40 acres, were later owned by the Cedar
Falls Commercial Club. After 1928, the grandstand was torn
down and the racetrack plowed up.
were located in the area between 18th and 27th streets near
Peet Junior High School. Photographs of the fairgrounds
and track are on exhibit at the Cedar Falls Historical Society