West Des Moines Historical Society

West Des Moines Historical Society The mission of the Society is to educate, to preserve, and to promote the heritage and history of West Des Moines. The West Des Moines Historical Society owns and maintains two historic properties in West Des Moines, the Jordan House and Bennett School.

The idea of establishing a historical society for the City of West Des Moines was conceived in 1968 as plans were made for the city’s Diamond Jubilee. Two years later, in 1970, the West Des Moines Historical Society was formed. The mission of the Society is to educate, to preserve, and to promote the heritage and history of West Des Moines. To this end, the Society purchased the Jordan House in 1978. Through the efforts of the Society, the business community and the volunteer organizations of West Des Moines, the dream of transforming Jordan house into a museum became a reality. The major initial restoration was completed in 1993, the centennial year of West Des Moines. Since that time the West Des Moines Historical Society has also acquired and restored the Bennett School, the last one room school houses built and used in West Des Moines. These two facilities together with the growing collections of memoribilia and historical information form the core of the West Des Moines Historical Society’s collection. If you have knowledge of significant events in West Des Moines, pictures from the past, or historical items relating to West Des Moines we would love to hear from you. If you have only time, we are always looking for volunteers and can help you with that too – and you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of it. In either event please contact us using the information below.

Don't let the rain stop you from visiting the Jordan House Museum and learning from our new exhibit, West Des Moines at ...
06/22/2019

Don't let the rain stop you from visiting the Jordan House Museum and learning from our new exhibit, West Des Moines at War. Tours Saturday and Sunday, 11am and 1pm. The doors open 15 minutes before the tour begins!

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo
06/20/2019

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo

A new exhibit opens this Saturday at 11am,and will be part of regular Jordan House Museum tours all year. American Legio...
06/17/2019

A new exhibit opens this Saturday at 11am,and will be part of regular Jordan House Museum tours all year. American Legion Riders Post 232 Post 158 Earlham American Legion West Des Moines VFW, Emerick-Williams VFW Post 8879 in Valley Junction VFW Auxiliary to Post 5060 Madrid, IA Carlisle VFW Post2099VFW Post 817 Auxiliary - Boone, IA

We Are Iowa Local 5 News visited the Jordan House Museum for a sneak peek at our new exhibit, West Des Moines at War. Th...
06/15/2019
Preview the new Jordan House Museum war exhibit

We Are Iowa Local 5 News visited the Jordan House Museum for a sneak peek at our new exhibit, West Des Moines at War.

This exhibit opens to the public Saturday, June 22 at 11am.
We hope you visit us soon!

West Des Moines at War

The answer to What is it Wednesday is the handpainted map on the back of the WW II bomber jacket owned by Robert Jordan,...
06/13/2019

The answer to What is it Wednesday is the handpainted map on the back of the WW II bomber jacket owned by Robert Jordan, Jr., the last Jordan to live in the house that is now our West Des Moines Historical Society museum!

You can see this jacket and many more artifacts in our new exhibit, "West Des Moines at War." It opens to the public Saturday, June 22 at the 11am guided tour!

For more information on decorated jackets, check out this fascinating history!

https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/wwii-war-paint-how-bomber-jacket-art-emboldened-our-boys/

What is it Wednesday? This is tied in with the new Jordan House Museum exhibit, "West Des Moines at War."
06/12/2019

What is it Wednesday? This is tied in with the new Jordan House Museum exhibit, "West Des Moines at War."

We are proud to announce a new exhibit at the Jordan House Museum. "West Des Moines at War" will examine the contributio...
06/10/2019

We are proud to announce a new exhibit at the Jordan House Museum. "West Des Moines at War" will examine the contributions and sacrifices made by Central Iowans both in the field and at home.

This new exhibit will be part of the regular weekly Jordan House guided tours, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm. Opening day is Saturday, June 22, at 11am.

We hope you visit and see artifacts dating from the Spanish American War through present day.

The answer to What is it Wednesday is D-something else. (apologies to all who voted for a sporran!)This WWII German hors...
06/06/2019

The answer to What is it Wednesday is D-something else. (apologies to all who voted for a sporran!)

This WWII German horsehide backpack is part of a new exhibit opening in a few weeks, focusing on the service of West Des Moines men and women in war. Thanks to the help of private collectors, the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, Fort Des Moines Museum, West Des Moines VFW, Emerick-Williams VFW Post 8879 in Valley Junction and private collectors, we are eager to share and celebrate this part of Iowa history.

Stay tuned for an announcement of opening day!

Learn about the sometimes murky history of ice cream, then join us for History Al A Mode Wednesday, June 19. Call 225-12...
06/05/2019
The History of Ice Cream

Learn about the sometimes murky history of ice cream, then join us for History Al A Mode Wednesday, June 19.

Call 225-1286 to reserve your tickets today!

A brief timeline of the history of ice cream from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

What is it Wednesday could be: A. Long forgotten sandwich from the back of the fridge?B. The newest thing in square hair...
06/05/2019

What is it Wednesday could be:
A. Long forgotten sandwich from the back of the fridge?
B. The newest thing in square hairpieces?
C. Part of a fashion sporran? (look it up, it's a real word!)

or D. Something else?

We'll tell you later today, but until then, let's hear your best guesses below!

06/04/2019

Please note, we will not be offering Jordan House tours this Friday, June 7, due to a private event.

Come see us Saturday or Sunday, 11am or 1pm!

05/31/2019

Saturday tours of the historic Jordan House Museum are back this summer!

75 minute guided tours are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at 11am and 1pm.

Doors will open 15 minutes before the tours begin at the top of the hour! Adults are $5, youth are $3.

Come see us soon!

Preserve and Protect. The historic Jordan House was on the verge of disappearing, but is open to the public and educatin...
05/30/2019
Discover America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2019 | National Trust for Historic Preservation

Preserve and Protect. The historic Jordan House was on the verge of disappearing, but is open to the public and educating thousands of visitors every year thanks to the hard work of volunteers, organizations such as Bravo Greater Des Moines, Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel, John Deere, Wells Fargo, City of West Des Moines - City Manager's Office, Polk County Supervisors Angela Connolly Polk County Supervisor Tom Hockensmith Polk County Supervisor Matt McCoy, and thousands of donors and members!

Let's hope these endangered places have their heroes, as we at the West Des Moines Historical Society do.

The 2019 America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list features American Indian landmarks in southeast Utah, Nashville's Music Row, and more.

State Historical Society of Iowa
05/30/2019

State Historical Society of Iowa

This summer, join Goldie the Goldfinch’s adventure to the State Historical Museum of Iowa and several other museums across the state – all for free. Goldie’s Kids Club members will explore historic buildings, examine artifacts, and learn about Iowa’s fascinating history.

On Saturday, June 8, visit the Bennett School in West Des Moines. The Bennett School was one of the last one-room schools to be built in West Des Moines and served students until 1941. Goldie’s Kids Club members will tour the school and learn what classes were like for kids their age “way back when.” So register today – and be there before the bell rings!
Register here: tinyurl.com/y246fnmy

#iowaculture #iowahistory #bennettschool #westdesmoines #goldieskidsclub

https://iowaculture.gov/calendar/goldie-takes-flight-bennett-school

The answer to What is it Wednesday is a Grand Army of the Republic lithograph, published in 1896. It's part of an upcomi...
05/30/2019

The answer to What is it Wednesday is a Grand Army of the Republic lithograph, published in 1896. It's part of an upcoming exhibit, West Des Moines at War. We'll be announcing the opening date for this new exhibit at the Jordan House Museum very soon!

What is it Wednesday is also a teaser for an upcoming exhibit at the Jordan House Musuem! Any ideas? Answer later today!
05/29/2019

What is it Wednesday is also a teaser for an upcoming exhibit at the Jordan House Musuem!

Any ideas? Answer later today!

Feel Good Tuesday- check out this HUGE pile of thank you cards and notes from Ms. Mann's class at the Des Moines Public ...
05/28/2019

Feel Good Tuesday- check out this HUGE pile of thank you cards and notes from Ms. Mann's class at the Des Moines Public Schools Downtown School. The toured the Jordan House Museum earlier this year and were able to experience our expanded "Rule Breaker/Rule Maker" curriculum, funded by Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel!

Thanks to the folks at the West Des Moines Public Library and Humanities Iowa for a great Iowa Files program Sunday! We ...
05/20/2019

Thanks to the folks at the West Des Moines Public Library and Humanities Iowa for a great Iowa Files program Sunday! We learned about just a few of the many amazing places to visit this summer from presenter Dan Kaercher.

Looking forward to the Iowa Files continuing in September!

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo
05/20/2019

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo

05/19/2019

Don't forget, Exploring Iowa's Historic Gems at the West Des Moines Public Library starts at 2:30! It will be road trip weather soon!

Wednesday, May 15 was graduation for the latest class of James C. Jordan Scholars Leadership Institute. An absolutely st...
05/17/2019

Wednesday, May 15 was graduation for the latest class of James C. Jordan Scholars Leadership Institute. An absolutely stellar group of young leaders completed this 9 month leadership program and were inspired by featured speaker, Iowa Senator Zach Wahls.

Thanks to the sponsors and organizations that gave their time, talent and support!

05/17/2019
West Des Moines Historical Society

West Des Moines Historical Society

What's your favorite Iowa road trip? Or is there someplace you've always wanted to go? In no particular order, I recommend these destinations for your summer stay-cation:

Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption- amazing craftsmanship!

DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges- the Steamship Bertrand Museum is a step back in time.

Villages of Van Buren County, Iowa-if you like camping, the parks here are beautiful.

Find out even MORE amazing places to visit this Sunday as Dan Kaercher presents "Exploring Iowa & its Historic Gems." Made possible through support from Humanities Iowa.

05/17/2019

What's your favorite Iowa road trip? Or is there someplace you've always wanted to go? In no particular order, I recommend these destinations for your summer stay-cation:

Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption- amazing craftsmanship!

DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges- the Steamship Bertrand Museum is a step back in time.

Villages of Van Buren County, Iowa-if you like camping, the parks here are beautiful.

Find out even MORE amazing places to visit this Sunday as Dan Kaercher presents "Exploring Iowa & its Historic Gems." Made possible through support from Humanities Iowa.

Wednesday, May 15 was graduation for the latest class of James C. Jordan Scholars Leadership Institute. An absolutely st...
05/16/2019

Wednesday, May 15 was graduation for the latest class of James C. Jordan Scholars Leadership Institute. An absolutely stellar group of young leaders completed this 9 month leadership program and were inspired by featured speaker, Iowa Senator Zach Wahls.

Thanks to the sponsors and organizations that gave their time, talent and support!

Planning a summer family reunion of history lovers, or want to have an amazing book group or club get together? Are you ...
05/13/2019

Planning a summer family reunion of history lovers, or want to have an amazing book group or club get together? Are you looking for a unique setting for a breakfast meeting away from the office? Then you should be looking at the historic Jordan House Museum!

You can bring in your own food, or use your preferred catering company. The 2 hour rental includes a guided tour of the Jordan House, featuring stories of the Underground Railroad and early Iowa history.

For more information, call 225-1286!

Tea Time At the Jordan House
05/13/2019

Tea Time At the Jordan House

Thanks for visiting the Jordan House and Bennett School!
05/02/2019

Thanks for visiting the Jordan House and Bennett School!

Last Wednesday, the middle school students went on a field trip to the West Des Moines Historical Society. They are standing outside of the Jordan House. Image of a group of students outside a Victorian style building. West Des Moines Historical Society More about the Jordan House: https://www.wdmhs.org/history/

04/30/2019
Thanks to the amazing folks at the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, especially Carole Chambers, for an enlightening ...
04/26/2019

Thanks to the amazing folks at the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, especially Carole Chambers, for an enlightening and interesting Jordan Scholars program this week!

Tickets are almost sold out for #TeaTime at the Jordan House! Please see pictures below of the rooms to see times and nu...
04/22/2019

Tickets are almost sold out for #TeaTime at the Jordan House! Please see pictures below of the rooms to see times and number of seats left.

Reserve your afternoon of delicious traditional treats, hot tea and the chance to make a lovely lavender sachet using a vintage hankie.

Reserve your tickets today: http://www.wdm.iowa.gov/government/parks-recreation/program-registration/-fbclid-IwAR1aClXLRXHCU3nlCLBNS-Sfo4C_GTw7OvcgDreSg2RP1vr8BakmHuE7vlQ?fbclid=IwAR23IVIxUM0VvzinIZy0P8Lx06-FlfYkIrlZBvLh5IYfFTLxfAfzvSQCV-Y

West Des Moines Historical Society
04/22/2019

West Des Moines Historical Society

Plan your summer getaway with help from the West Des Moines Historical Society and West Des Moines Public Library!

Historic sites, parks, natural wonders, quaint small towns, big-city attractions, museums and eateries galore: you’ll be amazed to learn what surprises await right in your own backyard: Iowa.

Our presenter, Dan Kaercher is the retired founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living Magazine and host of “Iowa’s Simple Pleasures” and other travel-related programs aired on Iowa Public Television and other public television stations nationally.

Join us Sunday, May 19 at 2:30 as we Explore Iowa & Its Historic Gems!

Plan your summer getaway with help from the West Des Moines Historical Society and West Des Moines Public Library!Histor...
04/22/2019

Plan your summer getaway with help from the West Des Moines Historical Society and West Des Moines Public Library!

Historic sites, parks, natural wonders, quaint small towns, big-city attractions, museums and eateries galore: you’ll be amazed to learn what surprises await right in your own backyard: Iowa.

Our presenter, Dan Kaercher is the retired founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living Magazine and host of “Iowa’s Simple Pleasures” and other travel-related programs aired on Iowa Public Television and other public television stations nationally.

Join us Sunday, May 19 at 2:30 as we Explore Iowa & Its Historic Gems!

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo
04/22/2019

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo

The Jordan House Museum will be closed Sunday, April 21 so our staff and volunteers may spend Easter with their families...
04/19/2019

The Jordan House Museum will be closed Sunday, April 21 so our staff and volunteers may spend Easter with their families.

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo
04/18/2019

West Des Moines Historical Society's cover photo

"Our New Neighbors; Refugees & Immigrants in Iowa" starts in just one hour at the West Des Moines Public Library. Doors ...
04/14/2019

"Our New Neighbors; Refugees & Immigrants in Iowa" starts in just one hour at the West Des Moines Public Library. Doors open at 2pm, program begins at 2:30. Hope you'll join us for this interesting and informative conversation!

04/12/2019

Brave the winds and see us at the Jordan House today or Sunday! Tours at 11am and 1pm.

Looking for an interesting museum to visit Saturday? Check out the Fort Des Moines Museum! It's open 10am-4pm

04/11/2019
West Des Moines Historical Society

The Waukee Community School District APEX (Aspiring Professional Experience) class created this wonderful video, giving some background on the importance of James Jordan to West Des Moines history!

This is "West Des Moines Historical Society" by Waukee APEX: DCS on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Our "What is it Wednesday" was never guessed. But you can come see & touch(!) these beautiful miniature portraits at our...
04/11/2019

Our "What is it Wednesday" was never guessed. But you can come see & touch(!) these beautiful miniature portraits at our White Glove Wednesday event. Tickets are still available for April 17th at 6pm. Call 515-225-1286 to reserve your gloves.

What is it Wednesday? Join us next Wednesday to touch this lovely piece of history at the White Glove Wednesday event! C...
04/10/2019

What is it Wednesday? Join us next Wednesday to touch this lovely piece of history at the White Glove Wednesday event! Call head for tickets 515-225-1286

You won't get thrown out for touching things at our White Glove Wednesday event. But you might enjoy handling the origin...
04/08/2019

You won't get thrown out for touching things at our White Glove Wednesday event. But you might enjoy handling the original Jailhouse Key from Valley Junction. Just one many items we'll have on display for you to touch. Call to get your tickets today, we have 12 spaces left! https://www.facebook.com/events/759365511084207/

State Historical Society of Iowa
04/04/2019

State Historical Society of Iowa

Healers of Buxton: Today's #IowaTimeCapsule features three "company doctors" from the uniquely integrated SE Iowa town. Buxton was founded by the Consolidation Coal Company in 1873 with the majority of its residents being African Americans. Dr. Edward A. Carter (second from the left), Dr. Powell and Dr. Gray on shown seated on the porch of their practice with an associate, James Warren (far left), around 1910. Carter, the son of a miner who arrived in the 1890s, became the first African-American man to receive a medical degree from the University of Iowa. He, along with his fellow physicians, treated all Buxton patients regardless of race. Residents paid $2 per month for a family or $1 per month for an individual to receive any necessary care.
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This image from the State Historical Library & Archives is one of many primary sources included in the State Historical Society of Iowa's Primary Source Sets, which provide educators with resources to teach Iowa history. bit.ly/BuxtonIA
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#iowahistory #iowaculture #buxton #primarysource #library #archives #doctors #1910 #historyteacher

Address

2001 Fuller Road
West Des Moines, IA
50265

General information

One Hour, fifteen minute Guided Tours of the historic Jordan House are available multiple times weekly. (February 1-May 26) Fridays and Sunday 11am and 1pm. Summer 2019 Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am and 1pm Doors open 15 minutes before tour start times. Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for youth

Opening Hours

Friday 13:00 - 14:15
Friday 11:00 - 12:15
Saturday 13:00 - 14:15
Saturday 11:00 - 12:15
Sunday 13:00 - 14:15
Sunday 11:00 - 12:15

Telephone

(515) 225-1286

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