As Iowa's capital city, Des Moines is a hub of government action, business activity, arts and cultural affairs.
The city lies on the Des Moines River at its juncture with the Raccoon River in the south-central part of the state. Situated in the heart of the Corn Belt, it is the focus of Iowa's most populous metropolitan area, which includes the cities West Des Moines, Urbandale, and Pleasant Hill.
|Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
Corn, cattle, and rolling fields all bring to mind the State of Iowa, as do covered bridges and fields of brilliant wildflowers. Iowa, the backdrop for the famous Grant Wood painting entitled American Gothic, was also the first state to legalize riverboat gambling…and then, there is Des Moines. The area now known as Des Moines began as a military post in the 1840's. Several of such posts were set up in the area to protect the rights of the Sac Indians. The garrison, named Fort Des Moines, was decommissioned shortly thereafter. The town of Fort Des Moines emerged from the few people who remained. By the late 1850's, 'Des Moines' was officially the capital of Iowa.
Des Moines is headquarters for many and varied businesses but in the forefront is the Insurance industry. Iowa holds the distinction of being one of the top three centers for insurance in the world. More than 385 factories in Des Moines produce everything from farm machinery to food products. The state's capital city is bisected by the Des Moines River. The gold-domed state capitol, which contains elaborate wood trim and multicolored marble, can’t be missed.
There are a number of historic homes in Des Moines, particularly in the Sherman Hill neighborhood, that are open to visitors. Terrace Hill was built in 1869 and now serves as the residence of the governor. Jordan House, built in 1850, was once the home of James Jordan, who aided escaped slaves as they fled north. The Hoyt Sherman Place is a Victorian mansion built in 1877 that now contains an art gallery and period furnishings. The Des Moines Botanical Center displays a rich collection of exotic plants under a 75-foot dome, and the Blank Park Zoo affords visitors a delightful walk through natural-habitat exhibits. After seeing the sights, relax and eat at the refurbished Court Avenue District, a center for food and entertainment.
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