Des Moines

The Accidental Revelations of Sanborn Maps - A Great Introduction

Des Moines, 1884 Sanborn Map from Library of Congress

Have you used the library's collection of Sanborn maps for family history research? They are a great resource for a family historian attempting to identify property owned by ancestors. Sanborn maps can also show the evolution of a city, including residences, businesses, schools, churches, and mining companies (a surprisingly popular topic)...

Sherman Block - Historic Tour #8

F.M. Hubbell

On the northeast corner of 3rd and Court was the Sherman Block, built in 1855 by Hoyt Sherman.  B.F. Allen was a banker here and it was also the first home of Equitable of Iowa. Equitable was founded by F.M. Hubbell who arrived in Des Moines on May 7, 1855, with $3 in his pocket.  His father demanded he give the money back to him so he could buy land in Dallas County. Young Hubbell walked the streets until he found a job as a clerk in the land office with Phineas Casady.

What’s up with Beggars’ Night?

Candy filled jack-o-lantern

Newcomers to the Des Moines area are often surprised to find that local children go out trick-or-treating on October 30, not on Halloween night, October 31, as most of the country does. How did this tradition get started? An article in The Des Moines Register on October 28, 1997, says “Blame World War II.” as well as rowdy youths in the early history of Des Moines.

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