Origins of DSM Street Names, pt. 2

Bell Avenue – Named for Hill B. Bell, president of Drake University in the early 1900’s.

MacVicar Freeway – Named for John MacVicar, who served as mayor of Des Moines from 1916-1918, as well as for his son, also called John MacVicar, who was mayor in 1928.

Watrous Avenue – Charles Leach Watrous moved to Des Moines in 1869, bought twenty acres of land on Southwest Ninth Street and opened a nursery. He later expanded to 145 acres and was one of the state’s pioneer nurserymen.

Hickman Road – Possibly named for G.W. Hickman, a pioneer who came to Des Moines in 1848 and resided at Thirty-Fifth and Hickman for many years.

Kingman Boulevard – Named for Albert S. Kingman, a pioneer farm investor who owned 120 acres of land on the west side of Des Moines. As the city grew, he sold up to forty acres of his land for $1,000 per acre.


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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