Give Local Des Moines - May 3, 2016 - we are joining more than 100 communities across the country to raise millions of dollars for our individual communities.  See Events page for more details.


May 14, 2016 - Quarterly Meeting and St. Johns Lutheran Church Tour


​​Iowa Architectural Foundation 2016 Lectures
​Thursday, April 28th– 6:30 Pm – Des Moines Art Center

​NEW 2017 Calendar 


History of Highland Park ​ - Wednesday, December 14th, 6:00 pm 
North Side D.M. Public Library, 3516 Fifth Avenue (on the south side of Euclid Avenue).  Lisa Elm will present the history of Highland Park.  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Tour of the Des Moines Playhouse - Monday, January 9th, 7:00 pm 
Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd Street (just North of I-235 on 42nd).  Tour of the Playhouse and history given by John Viars, Executive Director of the Playhouse.  MEMBERS ONLY EVENT

Annual Meeting at the famous West End Architectural Salvage & Coffee Shop!
 - January 28th 11am to 1pm at 22 9th Street
About: West End has everything from furniture to stained glass to doors to tin panels. These one-of-a-kind items are organized by category throughout the four floors of the West End building. This makes it possible for you to find what you want in a minimal amount of time.

History of Iowa Capital Building​  - Saturday February 25th, 10:00 am 
State of Iowa Capitol Building (Enter at the south door and someone will direct you).  Joan Arndt, who fascinated us with interesting facts and tour last year, will give us more history about the Capitol,… that sometimes we take for granted.  MEMBERS ONLY EVENT



Des Moines History - 


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. 

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

  • NEW 2017 Calendars are here!!!

  • DMHS Pennants ​

  • DMHS Polo Shirts available for $22.00

Order items through Paypal below, many of these can also be picked up at:

 Ameriprise Financial Services

 2716 Grand Avenue   

 Des Moines, IA 50312

 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 *Make checks payable to Des Moines Historical Society...

Des Moines Historical Gear

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Contact Us


Des Moines Historical Society

P.O. Box 8038

Des Moines, IA  50301

Photos courtesy Lost Des Moines

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. 

We are 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. 


Join Today

​​​Des Moines Historical Society