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The Infamous Egg Fight: Why there’s no courthouse in Our Town Cedar Falls

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:26 PM CDT
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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - Throughout the history of Black Hawk County, there have been multiple courthouses, but they’ve moved a few times.

At one point, it was to be located in Overman Park, near City Hall, before it got moved to Waterloo. We have to go back to the 1800s when Cedar Falls was known as Sturgis Falls. That’s when the town held the county records in a store on Main Street.

We called on Rosemary Beech to help tell the story. She was the Cedar Falls Historical Society’s first executive director. She said, at one point, the residents of Waterloo decided they wanted to house the records due to the city’s growth. But

“This is originally was in the works by Roger Leavitt, he wrote this story about it,” Beech said. “A gentleman from Waterloo decided they would come over since Cedar Falls was not giving up yet on the county courthouse.”

Then things escalated.

“Cedar Falls got word of that and they greeted them, and these are the words from the story, ‘with ancient hen’s fruit’,” she said. “If you are a farmer, which I was at one time, and you know what your family did with rotten eggs, you took them and threw them at the post on the farm to get rid of them. There is a certain terrible odor from that. So, seemingly, they took that vent in getting rid of the people from Waterloo.”

The people of Waterloo ended up taking the legal route.

“The people who were from Prarie Rapids, which was Waterloo, petitioned the people in Des Moines to have the courthouse there,” Beech said.

State legislatures allowed Black Hawk County voters to decide. In the end, Waterloo got more votes.

“After it was deemed that there would not be a courthouse here, they decided it would be Overman Park for the Overman’s who were probably second or third in the names that are recognized in Cedar Falls,” she said.

Rosemary said it was a big to-do then and it probably still is today.

“When you’re building a town and you think having the courthouse is the most important thing you can do, then you have really lost something at that point,” she said.

While it was a loss for Cedar Falls, Rosemary has her take on who really won.

“My opinion is we have a beautiful park and we don’t have the traffic, we don’t have to worry about that,” she said. “This is my idea of winning.”

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