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UNIQUE.
LOCAL.
BOOK.

Get this hardcover
book while
supplies last!

After the overwhelming popularity of Cedar Valley
Memories Volumes I and II, The Courier is proud to
present this final volume in our Memories series:
“Cedar Valley Memories III: More Than 125 Years
of History in Photographs.” This heirloom-quality
coffee-table book offers a final glimpse of historic
Cedar Valley from the early years to current day
through stunning historic photos from the archives of
the Grout Museum and the Bremer County Historical
Society and The Courier. In addition, as one last
invitation, we are thrilled to include photographic
memories of years gone by from our readers. This
beautiful book truly captures the rich heritage of our
area. Remaining books are selling quickly, so get
your copy at $44.95 plus tax/shipping today!

HARDCOVER BOOK

CEDAR VALLEY
MEMORIES
VOL. III

JUST PUBLISHED
AVAILABLE NOW

A PICTORIAL HISTORY
$44.95 • LIMITED SUPPLY

EXAMPLE PAGES FROM THE BOOK

ABOVE: Betty Jean Lee with a survey stick,
December 15, 1943. COURTESY JUDY GREEK
ABOVE RIGHT AND RIGHT: Theta Alpha Chi sorority
sisters during their initiation, also known as “Hell
Week,” circa 1945. The women had to scrub
the steps of Gates Business College, located
on Park Avenue in Waterloo, with toothbrushes.
COURTESY MARY G. GRAY

OPPOSITE: The Navy’s new Hellcat, made with

John Deere parts from Waterloo, circa 1944.

COURTESY GROUT MUSEUM ARCHIVES, COPYRIGHT DEERE & COMPANY

54 | THE 1940s AND ’50s

THE 1940s AND ’50s | 55

CHAPTER FIVE

THE 1980s AND ’90s
“I’d rather be a half a mile from hell headed away from it than a
hundred miles from hell headed straight towards it,” Waterloo Mayor
Bernie McKinley said during the late 1980s. He and other civic
leaders had a devil of a time turning around the area’s economic
fortunes during the 1980s and 1990s.
The farm recession hit the Cedar Valley’s economy hard during
this period. The beleaguered Rath Packing Company closed and
liquidated despite repeated rescue attempts, idling thousands of
workers, many nearing retirement age. Similarly, Deere’s Waterloo
operations idled nearly 10,000 workers, more than half its Waterloo
workforce, in the face of changes in manufacturing and changing
times. That one-two punch sent the area reeling, with home prices
plunging and an exodus of people.
Amid that economic downturn, Deere and the United Auto
Workers were embroiled in bitter extended strikes and lockouts.
Some things had to change. They, in fact, did.
For decades, Waterloo-Cedar Falls had been known as one of
the largest metropolitan areas in the country without a link to the
interstate highway system. But Interstate 380 was working its way
north from Cedar Rapids-Iowa City to Waterloo-Cedar Falls, as
well as a four-lane US Highway 20 from the east. Instead of building
a single intercity freeway through the metro area, Waterloo Mayor
Leo Rooff, in cooperation with metro civic leaders and the Iowa
Department of Transportation, substituted a single intercity interstate
in favor of a total overhaul of the metro highway system.
The so-called “Golden Triangle” — relocated and expanded US

Highways 218, 20, and Iowa Highway 58 — created an infrastructure
that improved transportation access throughout the metro area,
making places like the Cedar Falls Industrial Park and Waterloo’s
northeast industrial area prime for business development. It also
provided enough for the construction and reconstruction of major
arterials in the area.
It created fertile ground for the area to expand its economic base
beyond a couple of major manufacturing employers. While Rath
died, Waterloo secured another meatpacking plant, IBP, now Tyson
Fresh Meats, to locate in the northeast industrial area. A rebounding
Deere emerged from the recession and its labor struggles to a string
of record profits by the end of the 1990s. The Cedar Falls Industrial
Park, where city officials once auctioned off lots to stimulate interest,
saw a boom of new and expanding business, concurrent with a
rebounding housing industry.
The highway construction brought about the creation or expansion
of recreational lakes and a sprawling recreational trails system
required as part of quality of life “enhancements” along highway
corridors. New entrepreneurs such as brothers Gary and Bob Bertch,
founders of Bertch and Omega cabinet companies, flourished and
expanded during this time.
While the era was not without its failures, like the opening and
ultimate demise of Waterloo Greyhound Park, and natural disasters,
like the floods of 1993 and 1999, the Cedar Valley ended the period
in much better shape in the late ’90s than it began in the early ’80s.

OPPOSITE: Rath Packing Company, October 20, 1993. COURTESY GROUT MUSEUM ARCHIVES

98 | THE 1980s AND ’90s

THE 1980s AND ’90s | 99

ABOVE: Riders departing Gateway Park on the Cedar Valley Pedal Fest/Bridge2Bridge ride in Cedar Falls, July 2, 2016. COURTESY THE COURIER
OPPOSITE: Dayvin Guevara, 12, Corbin Shuckahosee, 6, and Eleron Youngbear, 12, with the Meskwaki Nation Children’s Dance Company performing at the Knock Out Cancer performance held

at the Waterloo Center for the Arts, June 30, 2016. COURTESY THE COURIER

144 | THE NEW MILLENNIUM

THE NEW MILLENNIUM | 145

HURRY, THIS BOOK IS IN LIMITED SUPPLY. ORDER TODAY!

Pick up your books, including pre-orders, at

Have your books shipped by ordering online at

100 E. 4th Street, Waterloo (Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.)

and save with flat-rate shipping!

The Courier

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