City of Waterloo Named American World War II Heritage City

Only City in Iowa to be Honored with National Park Service Designation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Park Service announced today the designation of 11 communities across the United States as American World War II Heritage Cities, including Waterloo, Iowa. 
The American World War II Heritage Cities Program honors the contributions of local towns, cities, counties and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America's war effort during World War II. Only one American World War II Heritage City can be designated in each state or territory.  

American Wolrd War II Hertiage CityThe 11 newly designated communities are: 

  • Foley, Alabama 
  • Tempe, Arizona 
  • Richmond, California 
  • Wilmington, Delaware 
  • Waterloo, Iowa 
  • Baltimore County, Maryland 
  • Johnson County and Warrensburg, Missouri (joint community nomination) 
  • Hastings, Nebraska 
  • Boulder City and Henderson, Nevada (joint community nomination)  
  • Yonkers, New York 
  • Bedford County, Virginia 

“Waterloo's contributions on the home front, as well as in the field, to the World War II Allied Forces victory is a perfect example for why this national designation was envisioned. I have learned so much about what our Waterloo soldiers, sailors, Marines and citizens did to help win the war. We should be very proud of our WWII history, and that we are the only city in Iowa to earn this honor from the National Park Service," said Tim Hurley, former Waterloo mayor who helped lead the charge for the designation.

Submitted last fall, the City’s application for consideration (see attachment) included a letter from Mayor Quentin Hart that highlighted extensive WWII preservation efforts.

“Today our community supports the Iowa Veterans Museum, Sullivan Park and Sullivan Plaza, a lighted patriotic Veterans Way, service member banner program, celebrations and remembrances, and memorials, all of which showcase the veneration we have for veterans,” the letter detailed.

World War II permeated every aspect of American life and resulted in a large migration of people within the United States. Individuals and families relocated to industrial centers for good-paying war jobs and out of a sense of patriotic duty. Many industrial centers became “boom towns," growing at phenomenal rates.

Workers from around the nation had to intermingle with each other and overcome differences to meet war demands, forever changing the cultural landscape of the United States.  

Contributions by a city to the World War II home front war effort include defense manufacturing, such as ships, aircraft, uniforms, and equipment; production of food and consumer items for Armed Forces and home consumption; volunteer participation; and civil defense preparedness.  

The World War II Heritage Cities program was established by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 to recognize the historic importance of the United States’ domestic involvement in World War II and ensure the continued preservation of a defining period in American history. This year’s additions follow the inaugural designation of Wilmington, North Carolina in September 2020.