Milling in Waterloo
Mills were the first industry in Waterloo. Sawmills cut timber into lumber for building homes and businesses. Grain mills ground wheat, corn or oats to make flour. Farmers from miles away depended on the Waterloo mills to purchase their grain and grind it to make flour. The city's four mills attracted business to Waterloo and made the city an important center for business.
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The first flour mill was constructed on the west side of the Cedar River in 1855 and second was built on the east side in 1867. The first grinding stones, called buhrs, were brought from Iowa City. The first waterwheel was transported to Waterloo from Moline, Illinois.
The entrances to Waterloo’s Fourth Street bridge were dominated by large mills. The largest, Union Mill, was located on the upstream side of East Fourth Street and the last to grind flour.