Waterloo is a prosperous community known for its friendly demeanor and historic German ancestry. Located 30 minutes from St. Louis, Waterloo provides approximately 10,000 residents with the convenience of a city while maintaining the comforts and charm of a small town. Reputable school systems (public and parochial), superb recreational facilities, year-round activities and a low crime rate make Waterloo an attractive city for people of all ages.
The City of Waterloo dates back to the 1800s, when the town charter was officially granted after an influx of German settlers made Waterloo their home. Today, in the heart of downtown and in the heart of the residents, that German heritage is still prevalent. To celebrate its heritage and ongoing relationship with its German sister city, a much-anticipated annual parade and festival, called Porta Westfalica, is held for all to enjoy.
History is alive in Waterloo with the operation of three museums. Bellefontaine House is owned and operated by the Monroe County Historical Society and is the second American settlement in the Northwest Territory and first in Illinois. The Kaskaskia Trail continues here today. Peterstown House dates back to the early 1800s and originally was used as a general store, tavern and inn for stagecoach travelers on the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail. The Peterstown Heritage Society operates a museum in the house. Waterloo’s newest museum is the History Museum of Monroe County, anchored by items gifted by Col. Edd and Violet Kueker. The museum provides changing displays and exhibits that provide awesome journeys through history and presentations covering a wide array of historical topics throughout the year.
Waterloo prides itself on being a community of tradition and progress. While it strives to preserve its historical heritage, Waterloo is a place that embraces new ideas while providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere where people can live, work and raise a family.
The city is committed to providing quality services and an unrivaled quality of life for residents. The mayor and aldermen work cooperatively with city administration, local organizations and residents to set goals and ensure the best service possible is being delivered to citizens. The people of Waterloo, the business community and the city government are shining examples of what can be accomplished with perseverance and a collaborative spirit. Waterloo offers amenities such as state-of-the-art medical buildings, outstanding schools, several new assisted living and nursing facilities, numerous beautiful parks, a winery and microbreweries, unique shopping and restaurants in its historic downtown area and many community events that residents look forward to annually. In 2018, the City of Waterloo won the “Best Event/Festival” award at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism for the “Solarbration,” a viewing party held in 2017 for the great solar eclipse.
Waterloo has also been honored with nine Governor’s Hometown Awards, a second place Keep America Beautiful Award and two Conservancy Awards, has been designated as “Playful City” and was designated as a “Purple Heart City” in 2016. In 2018, the City of Waterloo was ranked No. 4 Safest City in Illinois and No. 28 in the country.