Waipiata became a thriving township (originally known as Komako – meaning Bell Bird) as the Otago Central Railway line snaked across the Maniototo Plain in 1898.
A school opened in 1891, with the nearby village of Kokonga being a railway camp. In 1914 the Waipiata Sanatorium, a private facility, was constructed a few kilometres south of Waipiata. In the early 1920's the Hospital Board took this over and the facility continued for a long period as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients.
The Sanatorium closed in 1961 and the buildings became a corrective and training centre for the Justice Department until 1979, after which the government sold the site. Today the site remains a privately owned property. In 1901 a factory with 78 employees was built and processed rabbits from 1901 at Coneys Creek (Green Bridge) until another factory was built in Waipiata (fire destroyed the original site in 1917). This operated until a slump in prices closed it by the 1930's. The buildings were later used for a variety of purposes, including a wool-shed and concrete works.
The iron bridge, known locally as the 'Green Bridge', was built in 1896. Timber from the original bridge was used for the side rails and decking. It is the only flood-free road crossing of the Taieri River in the Maniototo.
In 1898 The Waipiata Tavern began construction from mud brick. The original two level construction included accommodation for 42 people within 17 rooms, private dining rooms for the gentry, a public bar for the blokes and snug for the ladies. In 1933 the Tavern was rebuilt as a single storey dwelling after it was destroyed by fire. Today the rail has gone and tracks have been removed, replaced by thousands of eager cyclists, but the Waipiata Country Hotel still stands.