Waverly, IA is a small city in Northeast Iowa that has seen its fair share of historical events throughout its history. From major natural disasters to significant cultural events, here are seven of the most notable events that have taken place in and around Waverly.
1. The 1858 Black Hawk Bridge
The Black Hawk Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River near Waverly, was originally built in 1858. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, measuring 1,519 feet in length. The bridge played a significant role in the region's economic development, making it easier for people and goods to travel across the river.
2. The 1966 Tornado
On May 15, 1966, a devastating tornado ripped through Waverly and the surrounding area, leaving behind widespread destruction. The tornado caused 13 deaths and over 400 injuries, and over 500 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. It remains one of the deadliest tornadoes in Iowa history.
3. The 1975 Flood
In June 1975, heavy rainfall caused significant flooding throughout the Midwest. Waverly was hit particularly hard, and floodwaters crested at a record 23.7 feet, nearly 9 feet above flood stage. The flood destroyed hundreds of homes and caused millions of dollars in damage.
4. The 1980 Cattle Congress Riot
The annual National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, just 15 miles away from Waverly, was the site of a major riot in 1980. The incident began when a fight broke out between two groups of teenagers, and it quickly escalated into a violent confrontation between police and the crowd. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd, and dozens of people were injured.
5. The 1983 Farm Crisis
The 1980s were a difficult time for many farmers in the Midwest, as a combination of high interest rates, low commodity prices, and droughts led to widespread economic hardship. Waverly was no exception, and many farmers in the area struggled to keep their businesses afloat.
6. The 1988 Iowa Caucuses
The Iowa Caucuses, which take place every four years, are a key event in the presidential election cycle. In 1988, Waverly was one of the many locations across Iowa where caucuses were held to determine the candidates' support ahead of the nominating conventions. A young Senator from Tennessee named Al Gore was among the candidates who made appearances in Waverly that year.
7. The 2016 Olympic Trials
In June 2016, Waverly was the site of one of the key events leading up to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The US Olympic Trials for women's freestyle wrestling were held at Wartburg College, with dozens of wrestlers competing for a chance to represent the United States at the Olympics.
In conclusion, Waverly, IA has a rich and diverse history, filled with both triumphs and tragedies. Its location in the heart of the Midwest has made it a witness to many important events throughout the region's history, and it continues to be an important part of Iowa's cultural fabric today.
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