railroads had built into Waterloo by the 1880s. The Dubuque
and Sioux City arrived first (1861), followed by the Burlington,
Cedar Rapids and Northern (1870) and the Chicago Great Western
(1880). The original depots were located some distance from
the business district and hotels. The Chicago Great Western,
however, built depots on both sides of the river and closer
to the commercial district. The other lines soon followed
This depot was
built around 1890 for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific.
It was later used by passengers of both the Rock Island
Line and the Chicago Great Western.
an important part in the early development of Black Hawk
County. Industries were founded or relocated here because
of the easy access to rail transportation. By 1915, an average
of 75 trains moved in and out of Waterloo/Cedar Falls each
day, carrying 70,000 cars of freight annually.
Cedar Rapids and Northern eventually became part of the
now defunct Rock Island Line. The Dubuque and Sioux City
became part of the Illinois Central, while the Chicago Great
Western became part of Chicago Northwestern. The depot building
now houses an accounting firm.
A fourth line,
the electric Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern, provided
passenger and freight service to Waterloo, Cedar Falls,
Cedar Rapids and Waverly.