First Railroad in Des Moines

On August 29, 1866, the Valley railroad entered Des Moines after 12 years of work.  The first train that entered left from Keokuk at 7:30 a.m. and arrived in Des Moines a few minutes before 3:00 p.m. with 300 passengers from many Iowa towns including Keokuk, Burlington, Fairfield, Ottumwa, and Oskaloosa. The passengers were greeted by a large crowd on the east side of Des Moines (there was no railroad bridge in Des Moines until 1869). Arrivals attended a celebration planned by several prominent citizens.

At the meeting thus appointed Col. E. F. Hooker was elected marshal of the day. Col. E. S. Spofford was appointed committee on transportation of visitors, and John Morris on music, artillery and ringing of the bells of the city.

A supper and dance was appointed at the Savery House (now Kirkwood) and given into the hands of Geo. A. Drake, Ten Eyck Beekman and Major Joseph Lyman, with such sub-committees as might be required. -- Annals of Iowa