DSM Street plan images c.1925

Check out these great images and maps from 1925.   A preliminary major street plan for Des Moines, Iowa, from DMPL’s Special Collections!


From The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Iowa, 1875, A.T. Andreas.

Sevastopol started as a settlement south of Des Moines around 1855.  It was laid out by James Sherman, was recorded on July 21, 1862,  and  incorporated in 1877 or 1878 (varies with source).  Its boundaries were SE 5th, Hartford Ave, Bell Avenue and Pioneer Park.  It is said to have been named by John Webber after a Russian, now Ukrainian, fortress that was well-known during the Crimean War.  A large brewery and the largest coal mine in the county were there.   The brewery was located at SE 6th and Hartford Avenue.

The Sevastopol brewery was built in 1857 and after several years it was sold to G. Munzenmaier who later sold it to John Webber.  The Annals of Polk County and Des Moines reports that it was closed in 1884 “by force of law.”

There was a Sevastopol trolley line up until 1940 when bus lines took over.  At that time, Sevastopol was removed from the main line.   Des Moines annexed Sevastopol in 1890 along with several other communities.

Sevastopol is now in the McKinley/Columbus Park neighborhood.


Andreas, A.T.  Polk County, Iowa.  Illustrated Historical Atlas of Iowa, 1875.  Accessed through the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Bartholomew, Harland.  A Preliminary Major Street Plan for Des Moines, Iowa, 1925.

Denny, Robert R, LeRoy G. Pratt, and Bill M. Clark.  Perspectives of Polk County History, 1988.

Porter, William.  Annals of Polk County, Iowa, and the City of Des Moines, 1898.

Neighbor’s Hotline.  “Reader Asks About Sevastopol.”  Des Moines Register 03 June 1992.

Des Moines Expansion – 1890 map

In 1857, Des Moines only encompassed 8.75 sq/mi.   In 1890, Des Moines annexed the following surrounding communities and increased its size to 55.1 sq/mi. This was a significant increase in land and population.  The boundaries for various years may be seen on the above map (click once to enlarge, again to zoom in on a section).

  • Sevastopol –  incorporated in 1877
  • City of North Des Moines – incorporated in 1880
  • Greenwood Park – incorporated in 1881
  • Gilbert – incorporated in 1882
  • University Place – incorporated in 1883
  • Capitol Park – incorporated in 1884
  • Easton Place – incorporated in 1889

Starting next week, I will provide a little history for some of the above communities.  Next week, Sevastopol.


Bartholomew, Harland. A Preliminary Major Street Plan for Des Moines, Iowa. 1925

This Week in Des Moines – 1929

Freshly Digitized – 1887 Map of Grant Park


Grant Park Manufacturing District

To view a larger version of the map, click on it and then click on the area you wish to expand.

Freshly Digitized – 1882 Map of Des Moines

To view a larger version of the map, click on it and then click on the area you wish to expand.

Historic Places in Des Moines

There are a bunch of historic places worth visiting in Des Moines, but after lots of snow (who’s counting anymore?) and sub-zero temperatures you might prefer visiting some Des Moines landmarks from the cozy comfort of your home.  All you have to do is 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).

So go ahead and enjoy a digital tour of historic places in Des Moines.  Maybe you’ll find a few places you want to visit in-person when the weather turns.

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