A Brief History of Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, which was once founded as Fort Des Moines in 1851, is the capital city of Iowa and holds fascinating history. We at Hawkeye Flat Roof Solutions, #1 commercial roofers Des Moines IA, are proud to have our headquarters here.

City’s Beginnings

The Fort was originally built in 1843 at the connection point of two rivers, namely the Des Moines River and the Raccoon River. However, the downtown area’s history dates back to 1300 AD, which was proved through archeological digging. 

Archaeologists found artifacts supporting three late prehistoric villages in Des Moines and during the destruction of this city’s development, 18 American Indian mounds were observed. 

To control and supervise the Sauk and Meskwaki Indian tribes in the area, the Fort was constructed on their land through the commands of James Allen, who was a U.S. Army officer at the time.

Due to the illegal whiskey trade in the area and the lifestyle change, the Indian tribes struggled to adapt, which led to many problems in their society. Eventually, the Fort was abandoned in 1846 and the tribes were removed from the state to an Indian Territory.

Des Moines’ Growth

Settlers then occupied the Fort in 1846, which led to a growth in this town but the entire town was destroyed in 1851 after the rivers rose like never before. However, the city began to rebuild that fall and Des Moines became the capital of Iowa in 1857. 

During the Civil war, the growth in Des Moines slowed down but rapidly picked up again after the war. The railroad completion in 1866 helped the city of Des Moines to expand tremendously.

Des Moines had about 23 different mines scattered around the city between 1846 and 1876, which provided jobs for hundreds of men. Since the coal resources were exhausted around 1908, the mining employment rate also dropped. 

Des Moines undertook a “City Beautiful” project at the turn of the 20th century. Many city features were constructed, including the large Beaux-Arts public building, fountains, the United States central Post office, a library building, and more. 

Today most of these constructions are still standing and proudly portraying the twentieth century. The federal Civilian Conservation Corps and President Franklin Roosevelt undertook more riverfront projects that were completed in the 1930s.

One of the struggles that Des Moines faced was a post-industrial decline that lasted into the 1980s. However, the city rebounded and flourished into what it is today. 

Des Moines Today

The population in the metro area of Des Moines is about 600 000 people and the city is one of the top three insurance capitals in the world.

Today one can also find plenty of financial institutions in Des Moines together with publishing companies, seed corn, chemical businesses, and data processing companies providing jobs for thousands of residents. 

Des Moines, IA is a city where corporate giants thrive, amenities are plentiful, and the urban-culture prevails. Anyone visiting this beautiful city will find plenty of visit-worthy attractions, from restaurants, museums, performing arts, outdoor activities, shopping, and more. The unique history of the town can be seen all around.

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