By the late 1950s, airplanes were a fairly common sight over Des Moines, but not quite like this. On January 29, 1957, Roy Soderquist took a Cessna 172 from his flight instructor and spent the next several hours flying low over downtown Des Moines. He managed a crash landing in a field, with little injury to himself and the plane. Charges against him were dismissed.
Though it has been widely believed that the first night professional baseball game under lights was played in Des Moines on May 2, 1930, it appears that this is not entirely accurate. The Des Moines Demons did indeed play the first game under permanent lights on that date at the Western League Park at Sixth and Holcomb.
Baseball in Des Moines existed long before 1947. Some earlier teams included: 1887 - The Des Moines Baseball Club played their home games at Athletic Park on the old Polk County Fairgrounds at Seventh Street and the Raccoon River. 1890s - The teams were known as the Colts, and then became the Prohibitionists.
Recent discussions of the country's failing infrastructure might lead some long-time Des Moines residents to remember April 17, 1965, the day the Sixth Avenue bridge over the Des Moines River collapsed. Shortly after 3 P.M. that Saturday, three cars were on the bridge when the middle section, about 100 feet long and over half the width of the bridge, fell into the river.
Newly digitized! Historical Reminiscences of the City of Des Moines, Together with a Full Description of the City and the County, H. B. Turrill, 1857. Update: Well, it looks like Archive.org is either having problems or changing their format. Here is a link directly to the "Read Online" version of Historical Reminiscences. Enjoy.
On January 4, 1904 the Capitol Building caught fire. According to an article in the Des Moines Register and Leader the House Legislative Chamber and adjacent rooms were gutted by the fire. The cause of the fire was unknown at the time the article was written. The total loss from the fire was estimated at between $300,000 and $500,000.