Your Perfect Escape


A History of the Gridley's

In 1858, Eleanora Gridley purchased land for "an elegant home" to be built for her family, quite an unusual occurrence for a woman at the time, when women usually did not own property. In 1869, Eleanora, 37, her husband, Charles C., 35, daughters Phebe, 7, and Eliza, 2, with their servant Bridget Malsue, 40, moved into this beautiful new home. The two-story brick edifice was situated next to the Elisha Williams Mansion on Main Street in Waterloo.

Charles was quite the entrepreneur and was a great contributor to the social and business growth of Waterloo. He served as Chorister and Organist of the First Presbyterian Church for 41 years, where his father, The Rev. Samuel H. Gridley, DD, was minister. For a time, he was an operator in the Pennsylvania oil fields. Charles also was associated with his brother, Samuel H., in the hardware business, under the firm name, Gridley & Brother.

Charles and partner Joseph Slack built the Academy of Music which once occupied the corner where the Post Office is today. As director, Charles managed the great theater and hall, the largest hall in town. It was elegant, comfortable, had a good dancing floor, and was a popular place in which to hold large gatherings. The Academy was destroyed by fire in 1904.

Charles was very interested in agriculture and was a successful maltster. He worked at the Nester Malt House in Waterloo, which had a 100,000 bushel capacity.

Gridley was also in the grocery business with Alexander C. Reed at the corner of Main and Virginia streets.

In 1876, Charles C. Gridley and Charles Pratt received a patent for improving the raised center washboard. In 1879 the Wilson Yeast and Manufacturing Co. was formed, with Charles as the business Secretary, to manufacture ~Wilson Reliable Yeast". A division of this project, run by Charles C. included the manufacturing of "Monarch" washboards, fruit crates, grape boxes and the containers used by Wilson Yeast and Manufacturing Co.

Charles C. passed away at his desk on December 6, 1897. His final resting place is in the historic Maple Grove Cemetery on Stark Street, with Eleanora his wife, who died September 15, 1913.