Des Moines Historical Society





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. 

We are a growing organization with many special tours, events and programs throughout the year. Join today!

Our success depends on the generosity of those who share our belief that Des Moines history should be preserved. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,  your contribution may be tax-deductible. 

May 10:  Members-only tour of The Hubbell Center

May 17Tour of the former home of Babe Bisignano 


Contact Us


Des Moines Historical Society

P.O. Box 8038

Des Moines, IA  50301

(515) 971-4364 (call or text)

Photos courtesy Lost Des Moines


These radio advertisements were taken from acetate recordings by KRNT radio station in Des Moines, Iowa, in the late 1950s. (Audio courtesy Mark Heggen; photo courtesy the Des Moines Public Library.) Click below to listen.

What kind of name is Des Moines anyway?


The origin of the name "Des Moines" is uncertain. The French des moines literally translates to "of the monks." Some people believe it refers to French Trappist monks who lived in huts at the mouth of the Des Moines River, while others think it could be referring to the Moingona natives of the area. Another theory is that Des Moines was corrupted from the French de moyen ("middle") because of its location between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. 

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

Read the National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form for the downtown Des Moines Younkers Building (2010, 81pgs., 6MB PDF). Includes architectural descriptions, store history, photos and more. Click here