The town of Elkader, Iowa was named after Abd el-Kader, a 19th-century Algerian Muslim leader who fought against French colonialism. The town was founded by settlers from Dubuque, who were inspired by Abd el-Kader's bravery and leadership.
Black Hawk County, IA has a rich and dynamic history that dates back thousands of years. Prior to European colonization, the region was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Meskwaki and Sauk tribes. The Sauk leader, Black Hawk, played a significant role in the county's history by leading a resistance against the encroachment of settlers during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

The area officially became Black Hawk County in 1843, named after the renowned Sauk leader. The county was initially settled by European immigrants, primarily from Germany and Ireland. The development of railways in the mid-19th century played a significant role in the county's growth, enabling the transportation of goods and people.

Black Hawk County experienced rapid industrialization during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The establishment of diverse industries, including meat packing, brewing, and manufacturing, contributed to the county's economic prosperity. Waterloo, the county seat, emerged as a major industrial center, attracting workers from various backgrounds.

The county has faced both triumphs and challenges throughout its history. It has witnessed significant milestones, such as the establishment of educational institutions, including the University of Northern Iowa. However, like many regions across the United States, Black Hawk County also faced social and economic struggles, particularly during the Great Depression and subsequent recessions. Today, the county continues to evolve and thrive, offering a vibrant community with a blend of rich history and modern amenities.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Black Hawk County, Iowa.

  • 1836: Black Hawk County is established.
  • 1839: Waterloo, the county seat, is platted.
  • 1854: The first courthouse is built in Waterloo.
  • 1858: The first railroad reaches Black Hawk County.
  • 1868: The Cedar Valley Seminary opens in Waterloo.
  • 1869: The City of Cedar Falls is incorporated.
  • 1876: The Black Hawk County Courthouse is constructed.
  • 1900: The Waterloo High School is established.
  • 1920: The Black Hawk County Home for the Aged is established.
  • 1947: The University of Northern Iowa (then named Iowa State Teachers College) is established in Cedar Falls.
  • 1965: The Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center is built in Waterloo.
  • 1987: The Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo opens its doors.
  • 1991: The Grout Museum District is established in Waterloo.
  • 2008: The Cedar Valley SportsPlex is opened in Waterloo.