Historic District in Waverly, Iowa
Paving New Paths
The Waverly Historic Preservation Commission and consultant Marlys Svendsen worked with the Ira Sturdevant House and many others to nominate Southwest Waverly and the Ira Sturdevant House to the highest historical recognition. In May of 2016, a new "Sturdevant Southwest Historic District" became listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
See https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/16000248.htm or, for the full file, see http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/16000248.pdf.
Tip: Search Ira and William Sturdevant's names in this document for their significance.
Ira H. Sturdevant (1793-1862) qualifies under Criterion B as a significant person at the local level. Considered to be one of
Waverly’s most important pioneer settlers, Ira moved with his family to the area from New York state and Pennsylvania
along what has been described by historians as the “popular ‘Yankee Exodus’ migration routes” through Chautauqua
County, New York and Erie County, Pennsylvania between 1814 and 1836 before heading further west. During these
years he and his wife Asenath (Lilly) Sturdevant raised nine children. By the late 1840s, the family’s westward migration
took them to McHenry and Stephenson County in Illinois. While there, two of Ira’s sons, Lafayette and William, headed
further west to Buchanan County in northeast Iowa. While there, the brothers traveled north to the vicinity of Waverly.
Finding the area suitable for settlement, William stayed to build a hotel and dry goods store (both non-extant) while
Lafayette returned to Illinois in 1853 where he induced other family members to relocate in Bremer County the following
year. As a veteran of the War of 1812, Ira applied for and received a 40-acre federal land grant for his military service
located along the west bank of the Cedar River. William purchased an adjacent 80 acres. In 1854, the Sturdevants
moved to Bremer County, and the following year, work began on a brick residence at 502 1st St SW. Ira engaged in
farming while residing here and became well-known for his patriotic military service during the War of 1812 and his
revivalist religious beliefs. These led to his devotion to Waverly’s first church, the First Methodist Church that organized in
1854-55 with William also listed as a founding member. In 1860 at the age of 67 Ira platted the Ira H. Sturdevant Addition
on his military land claim that surrounded his brick house, which had a real estate value of $1,500 in the U.S. Census for
that year. Ira passed away of consumption two years later in 1862 having seen the beginning of the Civil War. The south
half of the Ira Sturdevant Addition was established in 1865 during the probating of his estate. His wife, Asenath, survived
until 1867 witnessing the death of three of their sons and a grandson while they were enrolled in military service during the
A sign outside the Historic District