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Cedar Falls is a city in Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 39,260. It is home to the University of Northern Iowa, a public university.
Cedar Falls was founded in 1845 by William Sturgis. It was originally named Sturgis Falls, for the first family who settled the site and who continued to live in the city for years. The city was called Sturgis Falls until it was merged with Cedar City (another city on the other side of the Cedar River), creating Cedar Falls. The city's founders are honored each year with a week long community-wide celebration named in their honor – the Sturgis Falls Celebration.
Because of the availability of water power, Cedar Falls developed as a milling and industrial center prior to the Civil War. The establishment of the Civil War Soldiers' Orphans Home in Cedar Falls changed the direction in which the city developed when, following the war, it became the first building on the campus of the Iowa State Normal School (now the University of Northern Iowa).
Cedar Falls is located at 42°31′24″N 92°26′45″W (42.523520, −92.446402). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.61 square miles (76.69 km2), of which 28.75 square miles (74.46 km2) is land and 0.86 square miles (2.23 km2) is water.
Natural forest, prairie and wetland areas are found within the city limits at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center.