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Our History

The Blackhawk Hotel occupies one of the oldest continuously-operating hotel sites in the country, having been in operation in two buildings and under various names since the dawn of Cedar Falls' history in the early 1850s. First known as the “Winslow House” hotel in about 1853, the hotel started out as a wooden frame “stage coach” hotel just one-half block from the town’s first mill on the Cedar River.

In about 1858 the hotel was renamed the “Western.” It took on an additional floor and continued to serve the community through the days of the Civil War.

Sometime in the 1860s the Western became the “Carter House” and continued to serve the community until, in the late 1870’s, it was destroyed by fire or razed. The building was replaced by the four-story, “ Second Empire ” that stands today and was renamed the “Davis House.” By 1885, the ownership of the hotel was in the hands of the Burr family and it was renamed the “Burr’s Hotel.” The Burr family continued to operate the hotel until the early 1900s.

In 1914 a group of investors hired a significant architect from Waterloo, John Ralston, to redesign the venerable old structure and it was renamed the Blackhawk Hotel. The result was the interesting combination of Second Empire and Mission architecture you see today. The Blackhawk is now listed in the National Historic Register of Historic Places and offers one of the few true historic “Hotel” experiences in the country providing accommodations ranging from economy rooms to luxury, multi-room suites. Its tastefully-renovated rooms offer an interesting and rewarding lodging experience providing insight into the way people lived over one hundred years ago and the lobby is a true step back in time. The Blackhawk Hotel, on behalf of its owners, was awarded the 2003 Redevelopment Investor Award by the City of Cedar Falls and the Chamber of Commerce and has received numerous additional accolades and awards since that time.

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