Des Moines in Iowa

Monday, 20 February 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Des Moines skyline at night © Shimo

Des Moines skyline at night © Shimo

Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines, which was shortened to “Des Moines” in 1857. It is located on and named after the Des Moines River, which likely was adapted from the French colonial name, Rivière des Moines, meaning “River of the Monks.” The city’s population is at 203,000. Des Moines is an important city in U.S. presidential politics: as the capital of the state, it is the site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary cycle. Many presidential candidates set up campaign headquarters in Des Moines. A 2007 article in The New York Times said, “If you have any desire to witness presidential candidates in the most close-up and intimate of settings, there is arguably no better place to go than Des Moines.”

Des Moines is a major center of the U.S. insurance industry and has a sizable financial services and publishing business base. The city was credited as the “number one spot for U.S. insurance companies” in a Business Wire article and named the third-largest “insurance capital” of the world. The city is the headquarters for the Principal Financial Group, the Meredith Corporation, Ruan Transportation, EMC Insurance Companies, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Other major corporations such as Wells Fargo, Voya Financial, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, ACE Limited, Marsh, Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred have large operations in or near the metro area. In recent years Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Facebook have established data processing and logistical facilities in the Des Moines metro. Forbes magazine ranked Des Moines as the “Best Place for Business” in both 2010 and 2013. In 2014, NBC ranked Des Moines as the “Wealthiest City in America,” according to its criteria.

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates - Public Library of Des Moines © James Steakley/cc-by-sa-4.0 Des Moines Art Center © Des Moines Guy/cc-by-sa-3.0 Des Moines skyline at night © Shimo Des Moines skyline © Tim Kiser/cc-by-sa-2.5 Iowa State Capitol © Iqkotze/cc-by-sa-3.0
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World Food Prize Hall of Laureates - Public Library of Des Moines © James Steakley/cc-by-sa-4.0
The skyline of Des Moines changed during the 1970s and 1980s as several new skyscrapers were built. Additional skyscrapers were built in the 1990s, including Iowa’s tallest. Before then, the 19-story Equitable Building, from 1924, was the tallest building in the city and the tallest building in Iowa. The 25-story Financial Center was completed in 1973 and the 36-story Ruan Center was completed in 1974. They were later joined by the 33-story Des Moines Marriott Hotel (1981), the 25-story HUB Tower and 25-story Plaza Building (1985). Iowa’s tallest building, Principal Financial Group‘s 45-story tower at 801 Grand was built in 1991, and the 19-story EMC Insurance Building in 1997. During this time period, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines (1979) was developed; it hosts Broadway shows and special events. Also constructed were the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden (1979), a large city botanical garden/greenhouse on the east side of the river; the Polk County Convention Complex (1985), and the State of Iowa Historical Museum (1987). The Des Moines skywalk also began to take shape during the 1980s. The skywalk system is 4 miles (6.4 km) long and connects many downtown buildings. In the early 21st century, the city has had more major construction in the downtown area. The new Science Center of Iowa and Blank IMAX Dome Theater and the Iowa Events Center opened in 2005. The new central branch of the Des Moines Public Library, designed by renowned architect David Chipperfield of London, opened on April 8, 2006. The World Food Prize Foundation, which is based in Des Moines, completed adaptation and restoration of the former Des Moines Public Library building in October 2011. The former library now serves as the home and headquarters of the Dr. Norman Borlaug/World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is an indoor conservatory of over 15,000 exotic plants, one of the largest collections of tropical, subtropical, and desert-growing plants in the Midwest. The Center blooms with thousands of flowers year-round. Beautiful and extensive exterior gardens are also located here. Nearby are the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens and Pavilion, named in honor of the former governor whose influence helped relocate thousands of Vietnamese refugees to Iowa homes in the 1970s and 1980s. Developed by the city’s Asian community, the Gardens include a three-story Chinese pavilion, bonsai landscaping, and granite sculptures to highlight the importance of diversity and recognize Asian American contributions in Iowa. Blank Park Zoo is a beautifully landscaped 22-acre (8.9 ha) zoological park located on the south side. Among the exhibits include a tropical rain forest, Australian Outback, and Africa. The Zoo offers education classes, tours, and rental facilities. Adventureland Park is an amusement park in neighboring Altoona, just northeast of Des Moines. The park boasts more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions, including four great roller coasters. A hotel and campground is located just outside the park. Also in Altoona is Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, a popular entertainment venue for gambling and horse racing enthusiasts. Open 24 hours a day, year-round, the racetrack and casino features live racing, plus over 1,750 slot machines, table games, and concert and show entertainment.

Read more on Iowa State Fair, VisitTheUSA.com – Des Moines, Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau and Wikipedia Des Moines (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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