North Des Moines

In 1887, Des Moines  laid out a plan to increase growth.  At this time, the independent suburb North Des Moines started booming as property lots were auctioned off for development.  During this development, two streetcar lines began running to Prospect Park and the main travel ways were paved with bricks, some of them cedar.

According to the History of Des Moines and Polk County,  North Des Moines had a population of about 1,900 in 1889.  Of the Des Moines suburbs, it was the most independent.  It and Sevastopal had elected officials and their own municipal services, but North Des Moines also had its own water plant and school district.  The Zoological Gardens were established here, which later became Riverview Amusement Park.

On February 6th, 1890, North Des Moines voted 243 to 107 in favor of city annexation and 258 to 48 in favor of school annexation.  On March 11, 1890, North Des Moines officially became a part of the city of Des Moines.   In the years to follow,  the North Des Moines area would gain more street car lines, a sewage system, merge school districts, and continue to grow.

Parts of the following neighborhoods fell into the North Des Moines city limits at time of annexation: River Bend, Union Park, Highland Park, Oak Park, Chautauqua Park (not developed at time of annexation), King Irving, and Mondamin Presidential .  If I’ve missed any or included some that I should not have, please let me know.

I highly recommend the following sources as they hold way more information than I could ever place in a blog post!


Jacobsen, James E.  The Historical and Architectural Resources of Highland Park and the Parks, (1888-1946), 1996.

Brigham, Johnson.  History of Des Moines and Polk County, 1911.

Des Moines Neighborhoods, City of Des Moines.  2009.

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