Cedar Fall High School
Cedar Falls High School
Class of 1960
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Tiger mascot   Tiger mascot

40th Reunion (June, 2000)

Photos from: Gary Baumgartner, Barabara Bruch Herman, Sam Coleman, Nancy Hanneman Murty, Jo Hedeen Schrock, Bud Justis, Charleen Miller Poppy, Tom Otto, Gene Rebhotz, and Tom Wheeler

Impressions from: Sam Coleman, Gary Dinger, Judy Garth
, Sigrin Thorson Newell, and Sue Wells Bescher

A Tour of Cedar Falls

(as we knew it in the '50s)

Rita Craver Congdon

by Rita Craver Congdon

Tonight, we are going to take a look back at the Cedar Falls that we knew as we were growing up. This is going back forty, forty-five, even fifty years.

Those of us who went to elementary school here went to Lincoln, Cedar Heights, or Minor Schools. Of course there were some that went to the " other school system" , that school associated with ISTC, but they really didn't count as far as we were concerned. As I recall, we considered them snobs. From our elementary schools we came together as a class in seventh grade, attending the Cedar Falls Junior High and then on to Cedar Falls High School.

I am going to ask you to picture in your minds the Cedar Falls we knew back then.

Junior High Neighborhood

Let's start with the area around the junior high. Remember the old building--condemned as unsafe, so the high school was built--and they put the junior high students in the old condemned building. It sat on Twelfth and Main Streets. Have you forgotten the " up" and the " down" stairways? The tunnel that connected the main building to the gym? Having to go outdoors to get to the classes in the annex? How about the auditorium on the third floor, the floor creaking, groaning, and moving when we had assemblies?

Let's explore the school neighborhood. There were the stores where we bought all of the necessities: Hart's, Meinders, and Roger's store across Thirteenth Street. Candy, pop, gum, and school supplies were what we mostly purchased. We hassled the store owners, except most of us were on fairly good behavior at Hart's. If we weren't, our parents heard about it.

We would walk to Washington Park for our football games. The seating was limited, no bathrooms, and one drinking fountain. If we overused the drinking fountain we had to go back to school for bathroom facilities.

In the same area was the swimming pool. Remember that wonderful, huge, frigid pool? It was about a city block in diameter with a sand bottom. We shared the pool with the fish and frogs ands other critters that the annual spring high water brought into the pool. How many of you took swimming lessons there? You could also take canoeing lessons in the pool. I don't remember the water being chlorinated, just freezing. I know I used to go through at least two swim suits a season, as I would wear the seat out going down the slide. I was never a good enough swimmer to get to the turning board in the middle of the deep area.

This was the era when the town whistle blew at noon, 1:00 PM, and 5:00 PM. When that whistle blew, I had fifteen minutes to get home or I was in trouble.

Washington Park was the golf course and the Country Club. Not being from a golfing family, I rarely had occasion to venture there, but I do remember the " swinging bridge," a wooden bridge built on barrels that moved when you walked or ran across. I think I might have caddied for Richie in high school.

The things that I have just mentioned are mostly gone now. The school site is the Cedar Falls Recreation Center. There are tennis courts where we played and watched the football games. The neighborhood stores are no more. And, our swimming pool is now a huge coal pile for the utilities. Washington Park exists as a golf course, when it is not underwater.


Two of the major attractions for kids downtown were the Regent Theater and the Recreation Center on 2nd and State Streets where we attended Teen Time.

Remember Teen Time? We would go in packs of girls or boys. The first hour the girls stood on one side of the floor and the boys stood on the other side. After about an hour the girls would dance with each other and the boys would shove and elbow each other. Then around a half hour before the dance ended, a few couples would get brave enough to dance with a member of the opposite sex. A fun time was had by all.

The Regent Theater was our only indoor theater. Those of us who spent our childhood in Cedar Falls remember Bill Schneider and the occasional Saturday morning movies. The admission was usually so many bottle caps from the Day or Brunskill Dairies, or so many empty tin cans. There would be a series of cartoons and then a feature show, maybe Roy Rogers or some other western. Between the cartoons and the main event there would be prizes awarded, usually for the persons who brought in the most bottle caps or tin cans. There was always a sing along, and four hundred kids would scream " John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" or " Little Tommy Tinker" at the tops of their lungs. As we grew older the Regent was the place to take a date for a big night on the town. Probably a good share of us received our first kiss at the Regent, either sitting in the balcony or in the last row of seats on the main floor.

Also, in the downtown area were the city hall, post office, the police, and fire departments on Third Street. Remember as kids in grade school visiting these facilities. The fire department had a real brass pole the firemen really slid down.

The two main grocery stores were Kitchen's and the A & P. There were a couple of meat markets in addition to the grocery stores. The first " supermarket" was the huge Piggly Wiggly store on State Street. We thought it was the most wonderful place, and so BIG! Today it would seem very small, but we were impressed at the time. The Lawn City bakery smelled so good as you walked by, and had the best pumpernickel bread in the world! There was the Busy Bee and Cole's Cafe, and, of course, the Maid Rite.

You could shop for clothing at Apparel Art, Smart Shop, Kerwin's and Israel's. You could buy notions, fabrics, and other assorted dry goods at Willoughby's. There was the Firestone Store that always had the most wonderful train display in the window at Christmas time. The two hardware stores were Coast to Coast and Johnson-Christensen, and they smelled wonderfully like rubber and metal. Woolworth's was the " dime store" , and had a wealth of interesting things for kids of all ages. We waited anxiously for the day after Thanksgiving to see the latest toys displayed for the holidays. Ben Franklin was just down the street in the next block and also had a wealth of goodies. For electronic repairs, Boege's or the Philco Store could serve you. This usually entailed finding the right bulb that was burned out in your radio or rewiring small appliances.

When we were finished shopping, we could go to Baker's or Potter's Polar Pantry for ice cream. Baker's was THE place to go, but Potter's was the only place to get sugar cones, so that was a drawing card. If you didn't feel like ice cream you could go to Berg's or Hieber's and sit at a real soda fountain. You could pick up a prescription or cough drops, buy a handkerchief, and sample the perfume while waiting for your cherry Coke or your lime phosphate. When your shopping was finished and you had had your goodies to eat you could go to the old armory and bowl a game or two.

Times change. Of all of the places I mentioned, few remain. The Regent is now the Oster-Regent Theater, saved from demolition by the Cedar Falls Community Theater and now a live-production facility. The police department, city hall, and the post offices are still in the downtown area, but in different and much larger locations. If you are in the downtown area at the right time and on the right day, you just might find Boege's still open for business.


What did we do for fun besides making our own with our friends--potlucks, slumber parties, and impromptu get-togethers? We had a lot to choose from! We could canoe or boat on the Cedar River. If your family did not have their own craft you could rent one at Olson's Boat house. You could picnic at Island Park--if it was not underwater. Remember the amusement park there, and the very mini zoo? Josh Higgins Park was another picnic-hiking-boating-fishing-swimming facility. We have already talked about the swimming pool, but an alternative was swimming in the river or the sand pits.

There was always cruising the strip in Waterloo, driving around endlessly for hours looking for action, and occasionally finding some. The price of gas was not high. Remember when $1.00 would buy three gallons of gas, not half a gallon?

The Paramount Theatre was the most elegant place to see a movie, with that gorgeous dividing staircase to the balcony. You could also see a flick at the Waterloo Theater, Strand Theater, or even at the Iowa Theater by Penney's. (As I recall, the Iowa Theater was usually a last resort in movie going.) In the summer there was the Hillcrest Drive-In, the Starlite, or if you wanted to travel all the way to Waterloo, the Sky View. Remember how we would pack a dozen kids in a car on the special rate carload nights?

Before or after a big night on the town we always stopped at one of the food drive-ins. The A & W, Dairy Queen, Jersey Freeze, Frigid Zone, and Pink Elephant each had its own specialty. Young ladies served us at the car, and usually they were good friends of ours. Henry's Hamburgers was the first big chain, besides the A & W, to come to town, and you had to go inside to place and get your order. That began the end of the carhop culture.

Miniature golf was fun, if you could stand the bugs! We always seemed to choose a hot and humid night to play, and those big bright lights attracted millions of insects. The go-carts were fun, too.

For the young ladies, shopping was as popular as it is with girls today. If downtown Cedar Falls did not satisfy our needs, we would venture forth to Waterloo. Before we could drive, we took the trolley from Fourteenth and Waterloo Road to the bus depot in Waterloo. We would pick up friends from the Cedar Heights area as the trolley trolleyed down Grand Boulevard. At the end of the day, we would catch the trolley at the depot and trolley back home with packages from Black's or Penney's or various other stores. We could never afford to eat at Black's Tea Room, but ate at the lunch room in the basement cafe. They had the best hot fudge sundaes! At the end of the line, somebody's father would meet us and deliver the rest of us to our respective homes.

Not many of the fun places we frequented are around any more. Josh Higgins is now George Wyth State Park, and is a vastly expanded and wonderful place. Island Park is still around, and still underwater part of the time. No amusement park or zoo, though. The Hillcrest is one of the few surviving drive in theaters anywhere in the country. The Dairy Queen is still on 18th Street, but a couple of years ago moved next door and now have sandwiches and indoor seating. The miniature golf course and go carts are still on Airline Highway. All of the other places are no more.

I lived close to Overman Park, and never missed the band concerts. Of course we never listened to the music, but is was a good excuse to get together with friends and then go for a treat to Baker's or Potter's. If those of you from out of town are still around on Tuesday night, go to Overman Park and enjoy the band concert. Yes, they are still going on, and they attract hundreds of people. Kids run around, parents chase them, teens ignore the music; nothing has changed. It is truly a bit of small-town Americana that is alive and well in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The 4th of July used to be celebrated with fireworks at the cemetery overlooking the Cedar River. High on the bluff the sparkles would reflect on the water, and we thought it was truly spectacular. There were always a few set pieces on the ground. I remember the Statue of Liberty and the American flag being popular pieces, and they were shown every year. Of course, we never saw the whole display at the same time, and they burned unevenly. By the time the Statues of Liberty's base was lit, the torch was out. Today the 4th of July fireworks are held at Birdsall Park on Twelfth Street. There was only farm land there forty years ago. Today there is a golf course.

Many of you toured the high school this afternoon. Did you notice any changes? Of course it is in the same location as always, but is about four times larger than when we attended. Remember how excited and scared we were to go to the big building? At least there was not an up and down stairway. We all found our lockers and classrooms. We thought that we were pressed for time getting from class to class, but now the kids have so much more area to travel! We didn't have a computer lab; we had a typing room. We didn't have a computer listing of all of the materials in the library. We had a card catalog and Miss Bailey. But, we got a good education with the most up-to-date materials available at the time.

I could go on, and on, and on, but I won't. These are just a few of my memories of the Cedar Falls we knew. I hope it has jogged some of your memories. It doesn't seem like forty years have passed. Our lives have changed from being carefree kids to responsible adults. We now care for aging parents, if we are lucky. We have put, or are putting, our own kids through college, financing weddings, thinking about retiring, or babysitting our grandchildren. (If you have an hour ask me about my three wild and wonderful grandsons!) But when we have the opportunity to get together like this, we are taken back a few years, and the " Do you remembers?" make us all kids again. Let's spend the rest of the evening being kids and remembering.

The Race

by D. Goldberg

Tom Davis

Recited by Tom Davis

" Reflecting the resiliency that I learned from many of my classmates during my three years at CFHS."

" Quit, give up you're beaten" ,
they shout at me and plead
" There's just too much against you now,
this time you can't succeed."

And as I start to hang my head
in front of failures face
My downward fall is broken,
by memory of a race
And hope refills my weakened will
as I recall that scene
For just the thought of that short race
rejuvenates my being

A child's race, young men, boys
How I remember well
Excitement sure - but also fear
It wasn't hard to tell

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win the race
Or tie for first, or if not that
At least take 2nd place

And fathers watch from off the side
Each cheering for his son
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one
The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes on fire
To win, to be the hero there
Was each boy's desire

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd
Was running in the lead and thought -
my dad will be so proud

But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought he'd win
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself,
his hands flew out to brace
Amid the laughter of the crowd,
he fell flat on his face

So down he fell and with him hope
He couldn't win - not now
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished to disappear somehow
But as he fell his dad stood up, and showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said - get up and win the race

He quickly rose no damage done,
Behind a bit that's all
And ran with all his might and mind,
To make up for his clumsy fall

So anxious to restore himself,
to catch up and to win
His mind went faster than his legs -
he slipped and fell again

He wished then he had quit before -
with only one disgrace
" I'm hopeless as a runner now,
I shouldn't try to race."
But in the laughing crowd he searched,
and found his father's face
That steady look that said:
" Get up, and win the race."

So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last
" If I'm going to gain those yards,
I've got to move real fast"
Exerting every thing he had,
he regained eight or ten
But trying so hard to catch the lead,
he slipped and fell again

He lay there silently,
a tear dropped from his eye
" There's no sense in running any more -
3 strikes - I'm out - why try?"

The will to rise had disappeared,
all hope had fled away
So far behind, so error-prone,
I'll never go all the way
I've lost

" So what's the use" , he thought,
" I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his dad,
who soon he'd have to face

" Get up!" the echo sounded low,
" get up and take your place
You were not meant for failure here,
get up and win the race"

With borrowed will, get up it said
You haven't lost at all
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall

So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit
He resolved that win or lose the race
At least he wouldn't quit

Three times he'd fallen, stumbling
Three times he rose again
And now he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place
Head high and proud and happy -
No failing, no falling, no disgrace

But when the fallen youngster crossed the line - last place
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, unproud
You would have thought he won the race
To listen to the crowd

And to his dad, he sadly said:
" I didn't do so well."
" To me you won," his father said.
" You rose each time you fell"

And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face
The memory of that little boy, helps me in my race
For all of life is like that race
With ups and downs and all
And all you have to do to win -
is rise each time you fall

" Quit, give up, you're beaten,"
they still shout in my face
But another voice within me says:
" Get up and win the race!"

Classmates Attending
Bill Achenbach Greg Banfield
Kenneth Bast Gary Baumgartner
Jim Bisbee Mike Blough
Barb Bruch Herman Jane Brue Havighurst
Bob Cavin Marlys Christensen Smith
Sally Clark Lane Mary Cole DeBoom
Sam Coleman Rich Congdon
Rita Copeland Justis Margaret Cranston Meyer
Rita Craver Congdon Tom Davis
Dean Diamond Charlotte Dillon Schuler
Gary Dinger Jim Duffy
Becky Flieder Thompson Arnold Fobian
Jim Fogdall Charles Froom
Jackie Gaden Heeney Judy Garth Estabrook
Roswitha Giesen Marold Judi Guralnik Ingis
Jeanne Hagenson Langan Nancy Hanneman Murty
Gary Harold Jo Hedeen Schrock
Natalie Jennings Thatcher Pam Johnson Hinrichs
Richard E. Johnson Peggy Jones Bickert
Sandy Lewis Bob Livingston
Bill Lowe Sonja Madsen Kung
James Mapes Robert McInroy
Phyllis Meyer Kuehl Charlene Miller Poppy
John Miller Karen Mulgrew Schultz
Mike Newsome Kit Nichols Poeschl
Eric Olsson Tom Otto
Roger Peterson Barbara Phenix Mahigel
Vance Rasmussen Eugene Rebholz
Pat Rhode Brandenburg Jerry Riker
Jennifer Schlicher Breyer Sharon Schmidt Juhl
Lee Schuler Pat Shannon VanOort
Paul Snodgrass Marilyn Stoddard Gordon
Larry Sweet Judy Trowbridge Klein
Kay Voorhees Balke Ronald Waller
Barbara Wedeking Sue Wells Bescher
Tom Wheeler Jim Wisby
Bob Wolfensperger Dave Young

Doris Fry Norm Swanson

Please send updates to: Sam Coleman.