The S.S. Brinsmaid house was the earliest known Prairie Style house in Iowa. It was designed by architect Arthur A. Heun and built in 1901 on the northeast corner of 36th and Grand. Heun is known for designing many large mansions in the Chicago…

Second and Euclid is the home of Park Fair Mall, but it was once the site of an interesting piece of Des Moines educational history. Highland Park College, Des Moines University, and the University of Lawsonomy once stood on this spot. Highland Park…

Kurtz Hardware Co. proudly states it was founded in 1866 as a tinsmith and general hardware store, providing basic supplies for both residential and commercial clients. Louis H. Kurtz emigrated from Germany in 1840.  While journeying west, his…

In 1857 Des Moines only encompassed 8.75 sq/mi. In 1890, Des Moines increased its size dramatically to 55.1 square miles by annexing 8 surrounding communities. This was a significant increase in land and population. The boundaries for various years…

Sevastopol began as a settlement south of Des Moines around 1855.  It was laid out by James Sherman, was recorded on July 21, 1862,  and  incorporated in 1877 or 1878 (varies with source).  Its boundaries were SE 5th, Hartford Ave, Bell Avenue and…

One of the earliest breweries was established by Frank Spitz near River, Second and Elm, on the Raccoon River. He ran a successful business until when while crossing the ice on the Raccoon River, carrying a bag of malt, he broke through and died.…

The Iowa State Bystander was established in Des Moines in 1894 as a four-page weekly to serve as the voice of Iowa’s African American community. Ten prominent African Americans established the Bystander Publishing Company under the motto: “Fear God,…

People passing by the large brick building at Southeast Seventh and Scott Avenue in Des Moines may not realize the significance of this structure.  For more than 50 years it was the home of the Roadside Settlement House. Founded in 1896 by the Kings…

On the northwest corner of Second and Walnut was the site of Joseph Hierb’s Saloon. Hierb and his brother started the first brewery in Des Moines in 1855, which later became known as City Brewery, located at 7th and Center Streets. They piled their…

It all began when L.M. Mann bought 100 acres of land and created a destination. He opened the Des Moines Zoological Gardens on July 4, 1889. The park included an elephant, lions, panthers, kangaroos, monkeys, elk, numerous birds, and other animals.…