Historical Figures

Eddie Bowles

Born in 1884, Eddie Bowles learned to play guitar in New Orleans during the birth of jazz and blues. In 1914, he came to Cedar Falls to work as a street paver, and he stayed here for the rest of his life. He would go on to be the first Black employee of the City of Cedar Falls and to serve as an inspiration and mentor to a generation of guitarists during the Blues Revival of the 1960s and 1970s. He lived and played until the age of 100. He was recognized as a living legend during his lifetime, and he was posthumously given a Melendy Spirit Award for his contributions to the community. Click the links below to find out more about the fascinating life of Eddie Bowles.

Links to some popular documented resources:

Listen for free to the Best of Eddie Bowles

Watch an interview with Eddie Bowles, recorded when he was 98.

Find out about the Eddie Bowles augmented reality historical tour.

Browse displays from the Eddie Bowles’s Blues exhibit (originally at the Hearst Center for the Arts)

Contribute to the Eddie and Sarah Bowles’s memorial fund (to purchase a grave marker)