Des Moines Self-Tour

There are a bunch of historic places worth visiting in Des Moines and with the weather cooling off a little, you can actually enjoy being outdoors.   To see a little history of Des Moines visit the Historic Places page of our Local History Wiki.  There are two historic tour maps, a map and list of places on the National Register of Historic Places, and a number of links to other historic places websites that focus on Des Moines and Polk County (Drake’s Historic Des Moines collection is very nice).

The great thing about this tour is that you can access it on your phone or computer anywhere with an Internet connection.

Historic Tour 1

Historic Tour 2 (images soon to come)

Print version of the Historic Tour.

So go ahead and enjoy a digital tour of historic places in Des Moines.

Iowa State Fair

  • The first state fair was held in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1854.  Since then it has been held in Muscatine, Oskaloosa, Iowa City, Dubuque, Burlington, Clinton, Keokuk, and Cedar Rapids.
  • In 1879, the state fair found its permanent home in Des Moines.
  • Admission to the 1854 fair was 25 cents.
  • Fairgrounds take up 445 acres, of which 160 is campgrounds
  • Attendance in 1854 was 8,500.  The largest fair attendance was in 2008 at 1,109,150.
  • First butter cow was sculpted in 1911.
  • Food on a Stick –  59 foods on a stick are available, including a fried stick of butter.  I think you can get toppings.   Do you have a favorite?
  • There are more than 45  contests this year, including best mullet, rubber chicken throwing, a checkers tournament, benchpress/deadlift contest, cow chip throwing, beard growing, and mutton bustin’ (safety gear provided for this event).  See them all here.

Resources

The Iowa State Fair by Earle D. Ross, republished in The Palimpsest, July 1954.

Historical Highlights of the Iowa State Fair by Marion Lucas, 2010.

Iowa State Fair, http://www.iowastatefair.org/

CALLING ALL DES MOINES H.S. YEARBOOKS!

In case you don’t know, the Central Library keeps a historical collection of Des Moines high school yearbooks.  It is a part of our Iowa Collection, which is a permanent collection housed on the 2nd floor of the Central Library at 10th and Grand.  The yearbook collection is actively used by former students, genealogists, and other researchers.

If you have a Des Moines high school yearbook and you would like to donate it to the Des Moines Public Library, you may drop it off at any of our six locations.   We don’t mind duplicates!  If you have questions, you may contact me at mabehm@dmpl.org.

New Iowa Collection Books

       

 

        

More Highland Park College

The Midwestern, vol. 1, July.

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