original plats of Waterloo, filed in 1854, labeled this
block as a Public Square, Block 38 in the Village of Waterloo,
was chosen as the county seat of Black Hawk County, it was
originally planned that the courthouse would be located
on this site, privately owned by B. M. Cooley. After a series
of political maneuvers, however, the courthouse was finally
built on 10th Street in Waterloo, East.
The status of
Block 38 was clouded for some years. Heir J. L. Cooley,
who claimed it as part of the B. M. Cooley estate, challenged
the assumption that it was municipal land in 1902. The court
found in favor of the city, which then paid Cooley $1,000
for a quitclaim to the block.
is an important part of the downtown Waterloo landscape,
an open space that survives as a vestige of pioneer Waterloo
in the midst of a modern city.