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Old Des Moines

Photos and images of Des Moines, IA from the past 100 years

Midtown Roller Rink at 11th & Walnut Street, Downtown Des Moines

Newspaper Ad for Thrift Way Supermarkets, 1949. Supermarkets in 1949 were very small compared to today's standards. Many of the Thrift Way buildings still survive. 315 5th St. West Des Moines is a quilt shop, 2709 Ingersoll is Louie's Floor Covering, 1313 Forest is the New Friendship Church of God in Christ, 3018 SW 9th is Import Auto Parts. 1443 Grand is vacant, 1435 E. Grand is Burgin Drapery Workroom and 1922 Carpenter is a Polk County office building - formerly Uncle Sam's niteclub

Hills Department Store, Walnut Street, Downtown Des Moines - late 1940's - early 1950's. Note the electrified Curbliner bus on Walnut Street. Capital Square occupies this block today.

East Locust and East 5th, winter of 1956. This was the east side of Downtown Des Moines - now East Village. This area was in it's retailing prime. There is a shoe store , a Woolworth's and Firestone store on the north side. Adams Pharmacy on the SE corner.

Driver's Ed car Des Moines Independent School District, 1947

Downtown Des Moines, 9th and Locust looking east, 1957. Locust Street was 2-way then. Equitable Bldg. is right of center, the current Suites of 800 Locust Hotel is just to the right. Note the diversity of shops. There is a Sherwin Williams paint store on the NW corner. This was before there was suburban shopping centers or strip malls.

Interior of the spacious Paramount Theater in Des Moines, 1940

Grand Avenue Downtown Des Moines, 1930's. View looks east from 6th showing Des Moines and Paramount Theaters and the Insurance Exchange Building.

Paramount Theater, Downtown Des Moines, 1943

Urbandale Line Trolley car, 1930's - 1940's

Superior Oil Co., Downtown Des Moines 1930's - SW 9th south of downtown.

Downtown Des Moines, 4th Street and Grand Ave., looking east - 1920's. Koch Brothers [on right] is still at this location today. The right side of the street is now a City of Des Moines parking ramp.

Downtown Des Moines, 1989. Corner of Mulberry and 10th looking north. In front of what was later to become Raccoon River Brewery. 801 Grand is under construction and the old 10th Street Parkade still stands.

Anderson Erickson Dairy advertisement [Des Moines, IA], late 30's to 40's era

Downtown Des Moines, 8th and Locust St. looking east -1965. Bishop Buffet is on the left, the old Younkers Parkade on the right side of the street.

Keo Way, Des Moines, south of the Des Moines Freeway looking north, early 1960's

Exterior of Younkers Department Store, Downtown Des Moines. Display windows on the south building exterior, Locust Street. Appears to be a night where the store was open late and people were out front waiting on a bus. Clothes and hair styles suggest 1940's or 1950's.

Iowa State Fair, 1955 Photo by John Dominis, Life Magazine

Downtown Des Moines, 6th Avenue, 1910

Des Moines Railway trolley line [1940], likely taken on south side of Des Moines. The car shows a Fort Des Moines route sign. Also the front of the car has an advertisement for a movie called 'Turnabout". This movie was released in 1940

Might be a typical Des Moines, IA neighborhood, 1950's

Hop on the bus, 1942

Working on the railroad. Railroad photo of the major north-south railroad line in east side of Des Moines, early 1950's looking north. If you look close [ photo has good detail, if you enlarge] there are a group of men in the background repairing the rail line, perhaps replacing the railroad ties by hand. The work is done next to the Oliver Farm Machinery plant.

Trolleys parked in the snow Downtown Des Moines, 1938

Advertisement for AirLanes Bowling Alley, Fleur Drive, Des Moines, IA. Photo looks to be taken in 50's or 60's. Bowling alley still is open for business at same location.