George C. Baker of Polk City, Iowa, invented Baker Barbed Wire manufactured it in Des Moines, and before too long it was the world’s largest manufacturer of barbed wire. Barbed wire was a significant revolution for farmers. Prior to the use of…

Sawyer and Watrous was a Des Moines architectural firm formed by a partnership in 1905 and incorporated in 1929 by Ralph E. Sawyer and Charles A. Watrous (son of Charles L. Watrous, for whom Watrous Avenue is named). The younger Mr. Watrous was born…

Major Hoyt Sherman was born in Ohio in 1827, the youngest of 11 children. His father was an Ohio Supreme Court judge, his brother John became the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of State, and his brother William Tecumseh Sherman, a famous…

From the late nineteenth century through the 1930s Iowa had a thriving automotive industry, and automobiles were designed and manufactured in its capital city by several companies. From early electric carriages to gasoline-powered luxury cars, Des…

The Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Co. building has housed many businesses over the years and managed to stay standing through times when many older buildings were razed. It is the last remaining example of a cast iron façade in Des…

In 1846, soon after the establishment of the state of Iowa, it was decided that it needed to be moved from Iowa City to a more central location. It took 9 years of rivalries for the legislature, with approval of Governor Grimes, to determine that…

In April of 1873, two men from New York, along with their families, stepped off the Keokuk & Des Moines rail line (Rock Island Line) to start a business based on innovation that would change the spice industry. Jehiel had been working for a…

According to a Des Moines Register article, Egidio Romano came to Des Moines from Italy by way of Omaha, Kansas City, and then St. Paul.  Romano started his fruit stand in Des Moines in 1891 and eventually became the Secretary-Treasurer of the…

1854 - Teenagers Marcus, Lipman, and Samuel Younker move to the United States from Lipno, Poland.1856 – Lipman, Samuel, and Marcus Younker establish the first Younker & Brothers Dry Goods Store in Keokuk, Iowa.  1874 – A younger brother, Herman,…

The history of Harbach Lofts began more than 100 years ago with the beginning of Harbach Furniture. As shown in the National Register of Historic Places documentation, the Harbach family made significant contributions to the city of Des Moines, and…