Carrie Eilderts


Frederick Petersen, Danish American immigrants, Iowa


In 1855, Frederick Petersen’s family became the first Danish immigrants on record to settle in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Petersens came from the Schleswig area on the Danish/German border, and in 1860, Christian Petersen came to Cedar Falls, also from Schleswig. More Danish families moved to Cedar Falls from Pine River, Wisconsin in 1866, and the next year Danes began arriving directly from their homeland after enduring a long journey by ship and train. By the early 1870s, Danes were settling in Cedar Falls in large numbers. By 1871, three hundred Danes called the city home, making up about ten percent of the city’s population. Danish immigration to Cedar Falls did not taper off again until the late 1890s.