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. 

Jan. 17: Annual Meeting & Showstorm, Iowa Genealogical Society, 628 E. Grand, 1 p.m.

Contact Us


Des Moines Historical Society

P.O. Box 8038

Des Moines, IA  50301

Photos courtesy Lost Des Moines

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2015 Calendars For Sale - Now $5!

​Now available! Support the Des Moines Historical Society by purchasing a 2015 calendar, featuring high quality vintage images of Des Moines buildings and scenes from long ago. Each month has fascinating "on this date in history" tidbits.

You may pick up your calendars or have them mailed to you. Calendars are available for pick up at AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES, 2716 Grand Avenue, Des Moines from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Please bring your Paypal receipt with you when you pick up your calendar(s).

There is no fee to pick up your calendar. If you wish to have your order mailed to you, please note the additional shipping fee upon check out.

NEW! Calendars are now available for purchase at:

Beaverdale Books, 2629 Beaver Avenue. Hours: 

M-F 10 am-8 pm, Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 12-4 pm

Plain Talk Books & Coffee, 602 E. Grand. Hours: 

M-F 7 am-6 pm, Sat 9 am-4 pm, closed Sunday

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.