Posted on July 21, 2010 by jphyman
With the Mecum Auto Auction here in town this past weekend, I thought a little bit of history about Des Moines’ automotive industry would be in order.
From the late 1800′s through the 1930′s Des Moines had a vibrant automotive industry. Automobiles were designed and manufactured here by a number of companies. From early electric carriages (yes, electric cars have been around for that long) to gas-powered luxury cars, Des Moines was a happening place when it came to automobiles. We even had a Ford manufacturing plant in what is now Central Campus for the Des Moines Public Schools! In 1906 Fred Duesenberg designed his first automobile, the Mason, in his machine shop at 915 Grand Ave. The car was named for Edward R. Mason, the financier of the project. Iowa was even number one in the nation in automobiles per capita in 1916.
For a more in depth look at Iowa’s automotive industry find Iowa’s Automobiles : Made in Iowa : An Entertaining and Enlightening History, Bill Jepsen.
Checkout this street scene of Des Moines from History.com. Four modes of transportation in one picture!
Image: Imperial Auto advertisement from The Midwestern, March 1914.
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Posted on July 19, 2010 by jphyman
The Central Library houses a lot informative local history materials, and one of the best places to dig for hard to find information is the Iowa Vertical File. The vertical file is kind of like a catchall, it has article clippings, brochures, event programs, handouts, and various other little pieces of paper that aren’t significant enough to catalog, but have valuable nuggets of information that might be useful to information seekers. Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t just pile this stuff up. The vertical file is organized by subject, but we don’t keep a list of materials we have filed under each subject.
So, if you’ve run into a dead end with a local history question about Iowa, particularly the Des Moines area, try the Iowa Vertical File…you might just find buried treasure.
Take a look at our online IOWA VERTICAL FILE INDEX to browse the subject headings.
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Posted on July 10, 2010 by Marci
Locust Street Looking West from Night in Des Moines, 1912
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