I've always been a history buff. I love to see what came before. Before I was here. Before things were only as I knew them. It didn't matter if it was local history, U.S. history, world history, or even historical events such as wars or famous deaths. I guess the interest, for me, is that I've heard the stories and wonderment or sometimes bewilderment of a time and place where others were or had lived through, but I didn't have that first-hand experience. I mourne what I wasn't able to witness, one way or another. Some say I live in the past... That's incorrect. If I did, I'd always be able to say, "It was better then..." or, "Back in my day..."  The problem is that I live now rather than during times I wish I had lived. I've said, many times to friends or family, "I was born too late."

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This is probably part of why I love old movies. And I mean, black and whites. Movies from the silent era of film, through the late 60s. I do prefer the films of the "golden era", 1915-1960ish. I love the musicals that were so very popular in the 1930s through the late 50s. I'm a huge fan of Bing Crosby and his films, as well as his recordings. Turner Classic Movies is one of my favorite channels. At 49 years of age, that is certainly not the norm. I just love to learn what came before... It's why I believe history is possibly the most important of studies in school. I adhere to the saying, "If we don't learn from past history, we may be doomed to repeat it." There's never been a more true and proven statement.

It's because of my interest in history that I've always liked to get to know the past places and events of where I live. I'm not from the Cedar Valley, but I've lived here long enough to want to see how it came to be the way it is today. You never realize how much of the past is literally gone, until you step back into years gone by, then look at old photos taken, way back when.

This is where I'll start an ongoing series based on local history. The city of Waterloo, from a bird's eye view. (Thanks to Historical Waterloo for the inspiration.)

Historical Photos and Postcards from Waterloo in the Late 1800s to Early 1900s

Not many Waterloo residents remember when these old buildings and businesses were alive and thriving, In fact, most of the ones in these pics and old postcards are gone forever! The old days of classic structure and architecture are gone, but luckily there are photographic and even illustrated proof of the by-gone era.

A Renovated Theatre Rejuvenates Small Iowa Community

The Ida Grove Foundation had enough of watching the building crumble. Put together by a group of passionate people, The KING Theatre has returned to its glory days.

OPINION - This Cedar Valley Eyesore Needs To Be Demolished

In its heyday, the Rath Packing Company employed 8,500 people. It's still thought of fondly by many as what helped put Waterloo "on the map" and giving many area families a good income to raise their families. When rumors of bankruptcy started in 1979, the company became employee-owned in 1980. Despite many attempts to save it and massive amounts of money invested (from employees and loans from the city of Waterloo) all of those efforts ultimately failed, leading to its demise and liquidation in 1985.