The brother of Lowell Walter, the original owner of Cedar Rock, located near Quasqueton on the Wapsipinicon River.
Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, Iowa, is planning the Annual John Cannon Memorial Tractor Ride for Saturday, June 8, 2019.
The ride will start at 8:30 a.m. from the Heartland Acres parking lot at 2600 Swan Lake Blvd., in Independence, Iowa. Entry forms for preregistration are available at Heartland Acres admission office or by visiting our website at www.heartlandacresusa.com and are due by May 31, 2019.
The ride this year includes a stop at Cedar Rock which will include a tour and a lunch break. The story of Cedar Rock is significant to Buchanan County and Iowa.
Together Lowell and Agnes Walter created the Walters Farm Management Company. At one time their office was located at 609 Waterloo Building, Waterloo, Iowa. The business started with one family farm but grew to 5,000 acres of farmland. Lowell employed his uncle then nephew to manage his rental farms.
In the January 1945 letter Lowell wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright to commission him to design Cedar Rock. Lowell owned both the Iowa Road Building Company and 3,500 acres of farmland. Ultimately purchasing more than 5,000 acres. The Walters rented land and farmhouses to local farmers on a 50/50 profit split.
In a letter in the early 1970s Lowell Walter wrote that he has 4,930 acres of high-grade Iowa farmland in eastern Buchanan County. An excerpt reads: “Every farm raises hogs, some marketing 700-800 hogs per year, with probably an average of 300-400. Some farms feed around 50 head of cattle with a couple farms around 100 head; some farms do quite a little grade B dairying, milking 25-30 cows, and a few raise 200-400 laying hens. The diversified farming depends on the tenants as well as the farms and improvements, as many tenants do not desire to milk or raise chickens, while younger tenants starting out, desire steady income.”
In 1973, Mr. and Mrs. Walter sold all the farmland in one transaction to the Arnold Farm Corporation from Chicago for $3.5 million. This included more than 5,000 acres and 18 farms. This single land transaction between Lowell and Agnes Walter and the Arnold Farm Corp. remains one of the largest land transactions in Buchanan County history. Arnold Farm Corp. chose to divest of the holdings in several smaller transactions.
The sale of more than 5,000 acres helped to provide for the establishment of the Lowell and Agnes Walter Charitable Trust. For over 25 years this fund provided the sole source of funding for Cedar Rock State Park. The Walter Charitable Trust continues to do charitable giving. The Trust provides two full scholarships to two graduating seniors from the local East Buchanan School District to attend a State supported college or university. It also gives an annual stipend to the Quasqueton American Legion Post 434, the Quasqueton Community Club for Christmas gifts for children, the Quasqueton Cemetery Association, the Quasqueton Union Protestant Church and provide Halloween candy for the town’s children. The Walter Charitable Trust continues giving to the park in some amount when funds are available. The continued giving of the Walter Charitable Trust is an excellent example of Iowans’ rural character.
The story of Cedar Rock and Lowell and Agnes Walters was provided by Kathryn Hund, Manager, Cedar Rock State Park who works for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Entry fee per tractor is $35. Extra riders are $8 each. Entry fee for tractors includes admission and lunch. Get your tractor ready today! We ask for riders to understand there are no refunds as we were rained out last year and your entry fee for last year isn’t applied to this year. We apologize for any misunderstanding and hope you will once again attend and support the Heartland Acres Tractor Ride. Heartland Acres is a volunteer based, non-profit, organized as a 501(c)(3) entity.
For more information about Heartland Acres please visit www.heartlandacresusa.com or call (319) 332-0123 or see Heartland Acres on Facebook.