Des Moines, Iowa

00 des moines capitol steps flowersDes Moines, Iowa

  • Iowa became a state December 28, 1846, the 29th state admitted to the Union.
  • Des Moines became state capital: 1857
  • Settled: 1843
  • Name Origin: Named for the river, possibly adapted from French Riviere des Moines, or River of the Monks

Fort Des Moines (De-MOYN) began as a military garrison on the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers in 1843. The territory was later opened to settlers, a city grew, and it became state capital in 1857. The capitol was completed in 1871, and its towering central dome is covered in 23-carat gold. Even the four small domes have golden seam marks.

Des Moines is the largest city in the state and the hub of industrial, financial and political activity. More than 60 insurance companies have home offices here.

Living History Farms is a complex of four farms on 600 acres. There is a Native American settlement of 1700, a pioneer farm of 1850, a horse-powered farm of 1900, and an 1875 village, Walnut Hill. Tour the gardens, watch the farm-chores, learn about crops typical of each period. More farm history at Heritage Village – early farm machinery in a century-old barn; stores, church, school, railroad station.

Key Words: Farm, Military, Insurance, Settlers, Territory

Things To Love About Des Moines

The lushness of the sprawling farms and rolling hills; the green, green grass in every suburb and every downtown park, well-tended and fine to see; the thoughtful use of riverfront space; the appeal of downtown living; layers upon layers of things to see and do.

Blogs To Read About Des Moines

Windmills Of My Mind

Catching On

Attracted To Des Moines

Knee High By The 4th Of July

Five Domes, And Plenty

Capital City Basics

  • Population: 203,433, 19th largest in population of the 50 capital cities
  • Population density: 2,516 persons per square mile
  • Land area of city: 80.87 square miles
  • Elevation: 803 feet, 18th highest in elevation of the 50 capital cities
  • Normal high/low temps: January 31/14, July 86/67. Annual rainfall: 36 inches
  • Time Zone: Central
  • Water near: Des Moines River, Raccoon River
  • Mountains near: Loess Hills. Hawkeye Point, in the northwest corner of the state, is the highest point in Iowa at 1,670 feet.
  • Miles to three nearest State Capitals: Lincoln, NE 190; Saint Paul, MN 246; Topeka, KS 257
  • Miles to National Capitol in Washington, DC: 1,019

Population Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 203,433           Population
  • 24.8%              Under 18
  • 11.0%               Over 65
  • 4.4%                 Asian
  • 10.2%               Black
  • 12.0%               Hispanic/Latino
  • 0.5%                 Native Alaskan or American Indian
  • 0.1%                 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 70.5%              White

Education Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 16.4%              English Not Spoken at Home
  • 85.9%              High School Graduate
  • 24.0%              Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Economic Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 16.9%                Below Poverty Level
  • $24,006           Per Capita Income
  • $44,997            Median Household Income
  • $118,100          Median Value of Home
  • 63.5%               Home Ownership