Origins of DSM Street Names, pt. 1

Grand Avenue – Once the grand dame of Des Moines streets, lined with mansions and trees, Grand Avenue was formerly known as Sycamore Street on the east side and Greenwood Avenue west of downtown. In 1887 the entire stretch was renamed Grand Avenue.

Ingersoll Avenue – Named for Ebenezer Jared Ingersoll, an Easterner who came to Des Moines and founded the Hawkeye Insurance Company. He also had extensive farm holdings.

Hubbell Avenue – This street’s official name is Avenue Frederick M. Hubbell, in honor of Frederick Hubbell, founder of Equitable of Iowa and prominent Des Moines businessman and citizen of the late nineteenth century.

Scott Avenue – Wilson Alexander Scott was an early ferry operator in Des Moines. His remains are buried on the Statehouse Lawn.

Merle Hay Road – Merle Hay was the first Iowan killed in action in World War I.

Fleur Drive – Similarly, Fleur Drive was named for Captain Edward Fleur, a Des Moines soldier who was killed in France in 1918.


Mills, George. The Streets of Des Moines. Typewritten list found in the Iowa Vertical File at the Central Library.

Drake Neighborhood Association.

Various articles in The Des Moines Register and The Des Moines Tribune, available in the Iowa Vertical File at the Central Library.

Republished from the Des Moines Public Library website.

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