Whether you’re new to Des Moines or simply wanting to explore your city this holiday season, these are must-see attractions. Traverse the city and stop by the following historic locations to learn more about the history of Des Moines:
1. Terrace Hill (Iowa Governor's Mansion)
2300 Grand Ave.
Constructed in 1869, Terrace Hill was once the tallest home in Des Moines and owned by its wealthiest man. The lavish 18,000-square foot Victorian serves as both the governor's residence and also a National Historic Landmark. You can take a guided tour of this "Palace of the Prairie" and its eight acres of historic grounds Tuesdays through Saturdays for only $5 ($2 for children). Terrace Hill also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
2. Polk County Courthouse
500 Mulberry St.
The Polk County courthouse is a breathtaking Beaux-Arts style building constructed in 1909 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A visit to this building simply to admire the architecture is worth the trip alone. While you’re there, see if you can spot all 28 goblin faces chiseled into keystones above the second story windows.
3. Fort Des Moines
75 E Army Post Rd.
Fort Des Moines is one of only two National Historic Landmarks in Polk County. It began as a cavalry base in 1901, but is famous for having trained black officers in the segregated U.S. Army during World War I and the Women’s Army Corps, also knows as the WACs, during World War II, t You can visit the base Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on any other day by appointment.
Do you have any suggestions for historic sightseeing in Des Moines? If so, please share your recommendations with fellow residents in the comments section below!