​   Get your Des Moines Historical Society Polos Now!!!

​                DMHS Polo Shirts available for $22.00

  • Order items online below, OR pick up at:
    •  Ameriprise Financial Services
    •  2716 Grand Avenue   
    •  Des Moines, IA 50312
    •  From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    •  *Make checks payable to DMHS
Des Moines Historical Society Gear

Oops! Are you looking for the Des Moines (Washington) Historical Society? Try here >>

Contact the DMHS

Des Moines Historical Society

     P.O. Box 8038, Des Moines, IA  50301

EMAIL - info@desmoineshistoricalsociety.org  or complete the form to the right. Please ask for a reply and check the box if you want to be on the email list. 



The success of the DMHS depends on the generosity of those who share the belief that Des Moines history should be preserved. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, 

your contribution may be  tax deductible. 

The DMHS is a growing organization with many special tours, events and programs throughout the year. Join today!

The Des Moines (Iowa) Historical Society is a 501c3 organization with the mission to promote the preservation and study of the history and heritage of Des Moines, Iowa. 



Des Moines Historical Society  ©2015 | Privacy Policy

Check out the DMHS YouTube videos

NEWS - Upcoming Events - Projects - Activities

​​​Further information about Events and Projects are on the 'WHAT'S HAPPENING' & 'PROJECTS' pages.
Occasionally events are changed, please check this page for any modifications.  Thank you.  

~~~   DURING 2018 the DMHS is REMEMBERING 100 YEARS AGO WHEN THE FIRST THREE AMERICANS WERE KILLED DURING WORLD WAR I, INCLUDING PRIVATES MERLE DAVID HAY OF GLIDDEN, IOWA , THOMAS P. ENRIGHT OF PITTSBURGH, PA AND CORPORAL JAMES B. GRESHAM OF EVANSVILLE, IN ON NOVEMBER 3, 1917.  Only 16 days later, the City Council of Des Moines renamed 58th Street as Merle Hay Road in honor of Pvt. Hay November 19, 1917 as Camp Dodge was becoming important to the war effort.   ~~~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


~~~ PROJECT 1843 to repair and enhance the Fort Des Moines II/Birthplace of Des Moines Cabin -  CHECK OUT THE GREAT NEWS ABOUT PROJECT 1843!  Further information is on the PROJECTS page.  (See the page list in the upper right corner.)

~~~ GEORGE MATTERN MONUMENT PROJECT - Further information is on the PROJECTS page. (See the page list in the upper right corner.)

Des Moines History - 

The modern history of Des Moines can be traced to 1834, when John Dougherty, an Indian Agent at Fort Leavenworth, Ks, recommended a military post be established at the point where the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers merge. Nine years later, May 1843, Captain James Allen and a company of dragoons from Fort Sanford (east of the city of Ottumwa) arrived on the site. Captain Allen proposed to name the garrison Fort Raccoon but was directed by the War Department to use the name Fort Des Moines. (and the residents of Des Moines are glad the War Department prevailed) 

The origin of the name 'Des Moines' is not completely clear, but most historians agree the name initially referred to the river. Some people feel 'Des Moines' is derived from the Indian word 'moingona,' the meaning of which is unknown; but it has been applied to natives of the area. In the French language des moines literally translates to "of the monks," so others believe the name applies to the Trappist Monks (Moines de la Trappe) who lived in huts at the mouth of the Des Moines river. Early French voyagers in the 1700's referred to the river on maps as La Riviere des Moines. Another theory is that Des Moines was corrupted from the French de moyen ("middle") because of its location between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.  The consensus seems to be that Des Moines is a variation of the Native American word Moingona, Moingonan, Moingoun, Mohingona, or Moningounas, as shown on early maps.  


Has many ​DMHS photos

Has many ​DMHS photos

Please go the 'WHAT'S HAPPENING' & 'PROJECTS' pages for further information.



Member posts and news on the DMHS Facebook page.

Check out the DMHS YouTube videos

​Choose a DMHS Website page from this list on the right. >>>>>

​      ​Des Moines Historical Society of Des Moines, Iowa

Member posts and news on the
Facebook page.