Des Moines

Des Moines  (dē-moin ´), Iowa . [This name was applied by the Indians to a place in the form of Moingona, which the French shortened into Moin, calling the river “rivière des Moins.” Finally, the name became associated with the Trappist monks, and the river by a spurious etymology was called “la rivière des moines,” “the river of the monks.”]

The capital and largest city of Iowa, it is an important manufacturing and commercial city, and noted especially for its extensive insurance interests and exceptional railroad facilities. It has many important buildings, among them the Capitol, built at a cost of three million dollars, the United States Government Building, the State Arsenal, a State Historical Building, completed in 1908 at a cost of five hundred thousand dollars, Drake University, Highland Park College, Des Moines College, and a state library. A new city hall at a cost of four hundred thousand dollars, and a great coliseum to seat ten thousand are recent additions.

The city has nearly one hundred churches of all denominations. Half a dozen bridges over the two rivers connect the different parts of the town, and there is a public park, with fine groves of forest trees.

Vast bituminous coal fields have contributed to the growth of the manufacturing industries. These include typewriters, wagons, sleighs, cotton and woolen goods, pottery, furniture, and electrical appliances. The city was one of the first to adopt the electric car system.

Des Moines was settled in 1846, incorporated as the town of Fort Des Moines, 1851, chartered as a city and became the capital of the State in 1857. In 1907 Des Moines adopted the commission form of government and attained wide celebrity as a leader in progressive municipal government.