For decades, the imposing, three-story Community Bank building has anchored the northwest corner of downtown Waterloo, its exterior brick facade with modern windows striking to many.
Now, local history buffs have discovered that the unused third-floor interior has not been altered much since the days when it was the 1860s-era Towsley House hotel. They acknowledge it has not been frozen in time and untouched for more than 100 years, but enough remains to pique their interest.
Waterloo Library & Historical Society members Pam and Ray Becker, Cyndi Park and Coreen Lowry, accompanied by bank branch manager Alexis Hobart, toured the third floor Wednesday.
They trekked up a long set of stairs from the first floor to the second floor. Then, they took another set of enclosed stairs behind a door to the third floor, where a large ballroom and dining hall once existed. They saw bricked-over arched doorways that have been squared off with wooden door frames and some old gaslight fixtures, tin ceilings and wooden window frames. They also saw more modern materials, perhaps detracting from the “untouched-for-decades” scene they hoped to find.