​Des Moines
Historical Society

PROJECT 1843

'Project 1843' is to secure contributions for improvements and repairs to the Birthplace of Des Moines/Fort Des Moines II Memorial Cabin at Principal Park. 

“Dragoon Donations” of $18.43 to Project 1843 are greatly appreciated. These funds will be used for immediate repairs to the structure; weather proofing to protect the cabin from weather, birds and animals; informational interior signage about Fort DM II and the Dragoons; the purchase of three United States Flags (26 Star Flag, 29 Star Flag and 50 Star Flag); the restringing of rope for the flag pole at the Abigail Adams DAR monument; and other incidentals.


The DMHS extends a heartfelt “Thank You” to the Des Moines Chapter of The National Society Colonial Dames of America for their generous donation to PROJECT 1843. Wed., March 22, 2017 several Des Moines leaders of The Nat'l Society Colonial Dames of America brought a donation – and a challenge – to the DMHS at the Birthplace of Des Moines Cabin on South Water St. DMHS president David Barzen accepted a check for $1,000.00 earmarked for repairs to the cabin.

In making the award, NSCDA Des Moines Burrough chairman Kay Fenton Smith said the NSCDA members want to encourage others to support the project. “We also voted to make a further contribution in 2017, of up to $1,000.00 to match contributions to the DMHS for preservation and improvement of the cabin and site,” she said.

IF YOU WISH TO CONTRIBUTE -
You may send a check to:
     Des Moines Historical Society
     P.O. Box 8038, Des Moines, IA 50301.
     Be sure to indicate “Project 1843” in          the memo section of your check.
OR - you may use the online donation button on the main page of this website.  If the donation is $18.43 or a multiple of it ($36.86, $55.29 etc.) we will know that donation is for the cabin.  If other amounts are donated online please send an email to - info@desmoineshistoricalsociety.org to explain the purpose of the donation. 
     THANK YOU, and a huge THANK YOU to the NSCDA for their contribution and challenge. - with Laura Bouchard Kozin, David Barzen, Karen Hanley and Linda Ultang Powers.


The image to the right is of the NSCDA presenting the donation check for PROJECT 1843 at the Des Moines Birthplace/Fort Des Moines II Memorial Cabin on March 22, 2017.  


EARLY HISTORY OF THE DES MOINES RIVER, Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
By:       John Wenck, the Water Coordinator for the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources.
When:  Tuesday, August 22 at 6:30 PM
Where: The Ding Darling Shelter House - on Birdland Lagoon, just below Union Park
            2100 Saylor Road, Des Moines, IA

The Des Moines Historical Society is fortunate to host John Wenck, the Water Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. This event will be held at the Ding Darling Shelter House on Saylor Road, on the Birdland Lagoon, just below Union Park. 

Mr. Wenck will talk about Tacitus Hussey, a pioneer and writer who lived from 1832 to 1919. Hussey was a "riverman" and wrote volumes on the history of the river; what it was like and how it was useful in the Victorian Era and many river happenings. This will be a very entertaining and educational lecture with a valuable power point including many unique photographs. 


THIS IS A MEMBERS ONLY EVENT, 

but you may join in advance online or at the door. SEE YOU THEN! 

A note about our events...

Unless noted as a members-only event, all programs and events of the Des Moines Historical Society are open to the public. We welcome you to come see what we're about! 
For our members-only events, nonmembers may join DMHS and pay dues in order to participate. See our
membership page for details. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

WHAT'S HAPPENING?

GEORGE MATTERN MONUMENT

George Mattern - son, brother, husband, father, fallen DMPD officer

George William Mattern was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1890 to an American father and Swiss immigrant mother.  As a young man he played basketball at the Roadside Settlement House, before marrying Grace DeMoss at St. Mary's Catholic Church in 1911.  During the course of their short marriage they had two daughters, Helen and Marcella.


Mattern worked a series of jobs from age ten, until becoming a patrolman for the DMPD in March of 1916 at age 26.  On that day no one knew he had just a little over two years left to live . . . and a century of waiting to be remembered.  


INJUSTICE - Officer Mattern's overnight shift of August 7th - 8th in 1917 would have been unremarkable if not for the shots he heard in the distance while patrolling near Court Ave. In an alley at the current location of the Neal Smith Federal Building, Officer Mattern encountered a would-be robber fleeing a gun battle with another officer.  


The criminal and Mattern exchanged fire and Mattern took a bullet to the gut.  He didn't die immediately, but when infection set in and the medical knowledge wasn't enough, he became the third DMPD officer to die as a result of his service.  His killer faded into the shadows of the alleys in the city, escaping justice.  This homicide is the sole unsolved death of an officer in DMPD history.  Although his name isn't as well-known as those of other fallen DMPD officers, George Mattern's service remains undiminished.  


HOW YOU CAN HELP - To honor Officer Mattern two goals must be achieved - 1) ground penetrating radar will be used to establish the location of his burial, 2) his grave is unmarked, and his sacrifice deserves acknowledgement.  Please consider a donation to this worthy effort.


IF YOU WISH TO CONTRIBUTE - 
You may send a check to: 
          Des Moines Historical Society
          P.O. Box 8038, Des Moines, IA 50301. 
          Be sure to indicate “Mattern Memorial” in the memo section of your check. 
OR - you may use the online donation button on the main page of this website.  If the donation is $5.40 or a multiple of it ($10.80, $16.20, $21.60, $27.00 etc.) we will know that donation is for Mattern. If other amounts are donated online please send an email to - info@desmoineshistoricalsociety.org to explain the purpose of the donation.  

The image below, to the right, is of Officer #54, George W. Mattern.