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Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial Hall facts for kids

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Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial Hall
Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial Hall.jpg
Location 194 W. 5th St.
Waterloo, Iowa
Built 1916
Architect John G. Ralston
Architectural style Classical Revival
NRHP reference No. 88001322
Added to NRHP November 29, 1988

The Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial Hall, also known as Veterans Memorial Hall, is a Classical Revival veterans hall located at 194 West Fifth Street in downtown Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa. It was built from 1915 to 1916 by the Grand Army of the Republic as a memorial to soldiers who died in the American Civil War. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 due to its architecture and importance in local history.

History

Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial Hall was built by the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) from 1915 to 1916. Local chapters of the G.A.R. built the hall as a memorial to soldiers who had lost their lives in the American Civil War. The construction was funded by a special tax levy in the amount of $14,000. When ground was broken for construction, current newspapers and membership lists of local patriotic organizations and G.A.R. posts were placed inside the cornerstone. A Waterloo local, H. R. Griffith, was originally supposed to speak at the 1916 dedication ceremony, but could not due to being ill. She was the Department Secretary of the Woman's Relief Corps, which is part of the Grand Army of the Republic. The role was then taken by a resident of Iowa Falls, who was previously the Department President.

Design and features

The building was designed in the Classical Revival style by John G. Ralston, a prominent local architect in Waterloo. It was influenced in part by the work of the American Prairie School architect, George W. Maher.

The building has two stories and includes a kitchen, a dining room, and meeting rooms. The second floor houses a library that now includes a display of Civil War uniforms, artifacts, medals and weapons.

The building is located adjacent to Cedar River and the Waterloo's Soldiers and Sailors Park. The park includes a fountain, a pool, and a miniature Statue of Liberty.

Historic designation and recent history

The Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial Hall was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1987. The nomination was based on the fact that other local veterans halls from the area had been significantly altered in various respects, whereas the Waterloo facility had substantially maintained its original appearance and integrity. The nomination was accepted, and the building was listed on the NRHP in 1988.

When John Kerry ran for President of the United States in 2004, he visited the building to hold a meeting, in which he stated that he wanted veterans to be "a driving force leading up to Iowa's caucuses".

In May 2011, a POW-MIA monument was unveiled in the park near the hall. The hall is also the site of local Memorial Day commemorations.

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