Des Moines Real Estate, Des Moines IA Homes for Sale
Des Moines, Iowa's Capital City is located at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers in central Iowa. It is also at the crossroads of Middle America - the junction of Interstate Highways I-80, the Midwest's primary east-west artery and I-35, the Pan American Highway. Des Moines is Iowa's largest city with a population of 193,886 (2006 est.) and the center of a metropolitan area with a population approaching 500,000.
Des Moines is considered one of the two major insurance centers in the USA and is known as "The Hartford of the West" with dozens of major life, casualty and specialty insurance companies headquartered in the City and nearby suburbs. The most notable large corporations headquartered in Des Moines are the Principal Financial Group and Meredith Publishing Company. Allied Insurance and EMC Insurance also have a major downtown Des Moines presence.
Agribusiness, always important in this Iowa Capital, is becoming even more important as high technology and biotechnology impact that sector. Pioneer Hi-Bred is located in nearby Johnston and other notable seed companies have either headquarters or significant operations in Central Iowa. Iowa State University, the premier agricultural university in the nation, is located at Ames some 40 miles north of Des Moines.
Des Moines still retains a significant portion of it's historic manufacturing base including two major agricultural/construction tire making plants and several food processing facilities in addition to many specialty and other smaller manufacturers. John Deere has a major manufacturing facility at Ankeny a few miles to the north. High tech companies of all kinds are helping to keep the whole area's economy vibrant. Des Moines is also home to Central Iowa's major medical care facilities as well as a Veteran's Administration hospital.
Downtown Des Moines is undergoing a significant renewal cum renaissance. In addition to several new corporate buildings with others planned, the city boasts a new downtown library, a new events complex and an ongoing project to revitalize the Des Moines River front. The State Capitol building, a Victorian era jewel, occupies the State Capitol Grounds on the hill east of downtown across the Des Moines River valley along with several other major State buildings. The approach to the Capitol is undergoing a renaissance all its own with the revitalization of the East Village area that lies between the Des Moines River and the Capitol Grounds. Also, the AAA baseball league Iowa Cubs home, Principal Park at Sec Taylor Stadium, was recently rebuilt and will receive more improvements in the near future. Des Moines' primary highway artery, I-235, has just undergone a complete rebuilding. In recent years, the Downtown Farmers' Market, set in the historic Court Avenue district and held every Saturday from late Spring to early Fall, has become a popular destination for many people from all over the Metro area.
Des Moines has many fine institutions of higher learning including Drake University, Des Moines University (medical), Grand View College and the urban campus of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). Iowa State University, one of the finest agricultural and engineering universities in the nation is 40 minutes north at Ames. The University of Iowa, Iowa's Big 10 University, is less than two hours to the east at Iowa City. The University of Northern Iowa is also less than two hours to the northeast at Cedar Falls.
Des Moines is also home to the historic Iowa State Fair where the most famous state fair in the USA is held every August. The fairgrounds facility has undergone major restoration and improvement over the last 10 years and improvements are still ongoing.
On the south edge of Des Moines sits historic Fort Des Moines. Once a major military installation, this area is now being developed for civic use and houses Blank Park Zoo, a fine golf course as well as other attractions including The Fort Des Moines Museum dedicated to the first African-American US Army officer candidates and the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC).
The Des Moines International Airport is also located in south central Des Moines offering connections to all major airports in the USA and abroad. The Iowa Air National Guard is also housed at the Des Moines Airport.
Historic Camp Dodge lies just to the Northwest of Des Moines and houses the Iowa Army National Guard and the Iowa Gold Star Museum.
Des Moines Iowa History
Des Moines as a designated location traces it's beginning to 1843 when a company of Us Army Dragooons established a garrison at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers. The origin of the name "Des Moines" is somewhat controversial, but the majority opinion is that it is derived from the Native American word "moingona" which means "river of the mounds."
In 1907, the city adopted a city commission government known as the "Des Moines Plan," consisting of an elected mayor and four commissioners who were responsible for public works, public property, public safety, and finance. This form of government was scrapped in 1950 in favor of a council-manager government, and tweaked in 1967 so that four of the six city council members were elected by ward rather than at-large.
Des Moines has seen reasonably steady growth since the late 1800's and, while some population has been lost to the suburbs, Des Moines has never suffered the extensive depopulation from de-industrialization that many other eastern and midwestern cities have faced. The unique contributions to US manufacturing and the agricultural community made by Des Moines and Central Iowa are celebrated by the area being named "Silos and Smokestacks" - a National Heritage Area.
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Des Moines Iowa Real Estate
Des Moines offers the full range of housing types and neighborhoods that you would expect in a major Midwestern city. In addition to more modest housing stock of varying ages in many inner city neighborhoods, there are several well-preserved Victorian era communities the most notable of which is Sherman Hill just south of 1-235 and northwest of downtown. Unfortunately, as with many cities, much of Des Moines Victorian and post-Victorian housing stock was lost to "urban renewal" and freeway building in the 1950's. The Beaverdale neighborhood in the northwest section of Des Moines is noted for its charming brick bungalows. Downtown Des Moines has always had several high-rise and low-rise housing units and recently many new loft and condo projects are underway as the downtown renaissance continues. The neighborhoods west of downtown including the Grand Avenue and Waterbury circle areas have a large number of Victorian and post-Victorian single-family houses and historic apartment buildings. South of Grand is noted for it's eclectic variety from historic mansions to bungalows including many luxury homes. East and South Des Moines also offer a wide variety of housing styles and ages from modest starter homes to grand estates and luxury homes. Townhome and Condo neighborhoods are sprining up in many secions of Des Moines.
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