Bar shows decades of Waterloo history through art - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bar shows decades of Waterloo history through art

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Bringing light and life back to an eastern Iowa downtown is one bar owner's mission.

The owner of On The Rocks has partnered with his friend to bring life to his bar and Jefferson Street. Together, they have been creating murals depicting the history of Waterloo.

The walls of On The Rocks are covered in pieces of Waterloo's history.

"Pat has a passion for Downtown Waterloo, he was born and raised out here, this is what he knows and this is what he wanted to display," said Mike Marshall, Marshalls Construction Services Owner.

On The Rocks' owner Patrick Plumley is hoping to bring life, color and positivity to Waterloo.

"I basically at this point want Waterloo not to be compared to Cedar Falls in a negative light, I want it to be the same as Cedar Falls," said Plumley.

Plumley turned to his friend Mike Marshall to paint historical murals over each blank wall.

"When I came in here six months ago in June, I came into a dull bar and there were three or four people sitting around on a weekday night," said Marshall. "Now there's so many new faces that come in here and there's so much life, everybody that comes in here, they are staring at the walls."

"I love working here anymore because at night you'll see somebody come in and say, 'I remember when I watched my first movie at the drive in'," said Plumley.

It's the detail and the positivity that Plumley hopes will revitalize the town.

"It's a culture, it just brings this warming feeling, not only to me, but people who walk in here and tell me about it," said Marshall.

The murals show the 4th Street Bridge, the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, The Brown Derby Ballroom and the Starlite Drive-in Theatre. Every historical mural has a modern element. The mural with the Paramount Theater has Irish Fest flags, showing the huge event Waterloo holds.

Marshall says it's taken him more than 200 hours so far. He has a couple more murals to complete including one of the railroad and Lincoln Park.

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