Drake University has made some wonderful historic images (1904-1914) of Des Moines available through its online Heritage Collections. Here you will find images of homes taken from Artwork of Des Moines. Drake has done a fabulous job with this online collection by providing the digital image of the home, a link to the current image on the assessor’s site, and some brief historical information. I encourage you to check it out here.
The Larnerd Case house (also known as Rose Hill) at 3111 Easton Boulevard, is said to be the oldest home in Des Moines. Different sources cite the original construction date from the early 1840′s to 1850.
Owners appear to have loved the home, one even after moving across country from it. A widowed Elizabeth Davis sold the property in 1914 to move west. When she died, her will instructed that a mirror made out of walnut from the home’s bannisters be returned. The Borg family accepted the delivery and hung it on their wall.
The Larnerd Case house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 for its architectural and historical significance.
For newspaper citations on Rose Hill, click here. Articles can be viewed at the downtown Central Library at 1000 Grand Avenue.
DeNato, Pat. Tales of D.M.’s Oldest Home. The Des Moines Tribune, 28 March 1993.
Shotwell, Walter E. Attention, restoration buffs: Oldest D.M. house for sale. Des Moines Tribune, 22 May 1980.