was first known as Kees Mills. After Kees died there was litigation
among the Kees heirs. Victory was won by one party to the contest and a
local wit, John Ambler, suggested the name of
for the town and property (128). Mrs. Nettie R. Glass of
, informs of the early history of the community (129): “Elmore Kees
took up the first land at
. He was a single man when he left the East, captain of his emigrant
train, in 1847. He stopped for the winter at
and in the spring of 1848 located on land five miles above the present
. Soon he left and took up a claim here at
, the land including the falls and the water power and soda spring, on
both sides of the
. His wife’s name was Mary J. Kees who died in July, 1894.
“Elmore Kees built the flouring and sawmill in partnership with his
brother, J. Kees, who owned no part of the land. In the town that sprung
up about the mills there was a wagon shop, blacksmith shop, three
dwellings, a store, post office and a feed or livery barn. To bring logs
down to the sawmill there was built a wooden railroad three-fourths of a
mile long, with cars drawn by oxen and rails sawed four by four.
When I first came here in 1884 the old railroad car still remained, and
part of the brush dam. I was then 14 years old.
the early days all supplies were brought from
by ox-tow the trip taking from four to six weeks. The heavy trail-wagons
had to wind about and across the valley as best they could.. The Indians
came to trade their furs at the first little store at
, and these furs were taken to
and sold. Mail came from
once a week by horseback. An old maple, still standing, beneath the
branches of which a manger was built, did duty as stable and shelter for
stock. Later a Mr. Gross built a dance floor under the maple boughs, and
the resort was popular with young people in Waterloo on summer Sundays
always had a reputation for being a wide—open town and some of the
dances were far from orderly. Still later the old maple sheltered a
The Kees built a ferryboat to cross the Santiam. During the high water
of 1861—62 a small steamer came up the river as far as the falls and
the flour mill. The Kees also planted an orchard in 1863, among the
trees being a Black Republican cherry and a fine yellow seedling cherry.
A tree is still standing in the orchard which is situated on the second
street west from the river. The first schoolhouse was located on the old
Sweet Home road a mile out of
, with homemade benches seating from four to six pupils - very narrow as
to seat, high as to back and with the desks extremely slanting. A church
was built half a mile above the schoolhouse, Christian Advent, with B.
O. Norton as pastor. The soda spring was discovered from cattle ranging
to drink there.
In January, 1885, heavy snows broke in the roof of the sawmill, but the
flour-mill continued to grind feed for stock for two years thereafter.
Then the machinery of both mills was moved away. In 1889 an open bridge
was built across the Santiam. Altogether four bridges spanned the stream
at one time or another. A wooden suspension bridge was built in 1913.
The present bridge uses the same cables but is much sturdier. In 1892 a
hosiery mill was built on the site of the ‘old flour- and saw-mills,
but was soon found to be unprofitable and was changed into a woolen
mill. The town was incorporated in 1893, and at its peak claimed a
population of 500 and among business concerns five stores, a millinery
shop, barber shop, two blacksmith shops, livery stable, butcher shop,
bakery, a large hotel and other miner shops and stores. In 1893 an
Evangelical church was built. The first school was taught by W. L.
Jackson, later, for many years, county school superintendent. A
four—room school was built in 1893. The woolen mill ran for about six
years, being destroyed by fire in April, 1898 and never rebuilt. This
marked the beginning of the end of
. The present population is only 50. The town dwindled and the
government was allowed to lapse. There is still a school and post
office, but no industry of any sort. The district takes care of perhaps
50 school pupils, the greater part from outside
. In 1910 the Santiam Power Company bought the water power and
built a dike, but nothing further was done. The first telephone come to
the town in 1900, installed to serve J. H. Turpin.
The U. S. Census gave the Waterloo Precinct 220 population in 1870; in
1880 — 390. The town of
was given 59 inhabitants in 1900; in 1880 the place is credited with no
less then four water power sawmills and a flour mill (130). The census
of 1940 gives Waterloo Precinct 686 people.