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April, 2017

Celebrate Decoration Day 

Sunday, May 21
Historic Jordan House

Join the West Des Moines Historical Society and Wet Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department to discover the history behind Decoration Day. The family-friendly celebration will take place at the historic Jordan House, 2001 Fuller Road, and Jordan Cemetery. 

  • West Des Moines Community Band Concert
  • Ice cream treats
  • Childrens' crafts
  • Jordan Cemetery self-guided tour

The Jordan House will be open for tours from 1-3pm. 
$5: adults
$3: students

Why Should You Become a Member of the West Des Moines Historical Society? 

  • Your financial support helps us complete critically needed repairs and renovations on our two historic properties, the Jordan House and Bennett School. In 2016 alone, donor funds were used to repair flat roofs, foundations and chimneys at the Jordan House and repair window frames and sills at the Bennett School. 
  • In 2017 additional restoration includes Jordan House porch columns, siding and gutters, and a new coat of paint on the exterior. 
  • Without membership support, we wouldn't be able to offer quality education programs, including expanded Underground Railroad curriculum, to central Iowa students touring the Jordan House.
  • In 2016 the Society significantly expanded guided tour opportunities for the general public. Adding tours to Saturday and Sunday, in addition to Friday over the summer months, resulted in a 20 percent increase in the number of adult and student visitors for a total number of 3497 visitors. Your support enables the Society to keep tour fees affordable for students and adults and helps keep the doors open and lights on at the Jordan House and Bennett School.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of $25, $50 or even $100 today. Become a member online on our secure site at, or you can mail your check to: 
West Des Moines Historical Society
P.O. Box 65563
West Des Moines, IA 50265

Thank you!

Annual Membership Meeting

Tuesday, April 11
Jordan House  *  2001 Fuller Road

All members of the West Des Moines Historical Society are invited to attend the annual meeting. Celebrate accomplishments, learn what is planned for restoration, education and outreach in 2017, and vote for the new members of the Board of Directors. 

Please RSVP by calling 515.225.1286

Guided Tours at the Jordan House


Weekly public tours: 

Tours are 1 hour and the doors open 15 minutes before the time listed

Now thru June 1, 2017*
Fridays and Sundays 
Tours begin at 11am and 1pm

Adults: $5     Students: $3

* Closed Easter Sunday
* No 11am tour Sunday, May 21


Private group and school tours of the Jordan House
and Bennett School

Is your group, club or organization looking for a unique location for a meeting or reception? The Jordan House and Bennett School are available for school groups and private tours,receptions and dinners. Groups of up to 50 are welcome at the Jordan House, and the Bennett School can comfortably accommodate 25.

For more information on reserving either location, please call the West Des Moines Historical Society at 515.225.1286.

Enhanced Bennett School Curriculum Planned in 2017

What was it like to learn the "Three Rs"in a one-room schoolhouse? Beginning Fall of 2017, school tour groups can learn more about the many differences between school in the early 20th century and today. 

Thanks to funding from the Polk County Supervisors, support from Iowa State University and staff, curriculum is being developed which will enable teachers to present a comparison of early Iowa classrooms and society to today's learning process. 

Teacher training workshops will begin this summer. Tours featuring this unique learning opportunity may be booked today. 

For more information, call (515) 225-1286.

MidAmerican Energy Foundation Supports the West Des Moines Historical Society

The West Des Moines Historical Society is dedicated to the mission of historic preservation and to educate the public about our historic sites in Central Iowa. Thanks to a recent grant from the MidAmerican Energy Foundation, WDMHS will continue to preserve and protect our two landmark properties.

Thanks to the MidAmerican Energy Foundation funds, the WDMHS will be able to continue Phase II renovation projects, including repairs on porch columns and floors at the Jordan House, followed by repainting this circa 1850s building. These repairs are scheduled to begin as soon as the weather allows in 2017, with the goal of being completed by the fall. 

These two historic buildings require constant maintenance, and not just the projects that can be seen from the outside. In the past year the WDMHS has updated HVAC systems, improved lighting and alarm systems, repaired windows and resided the Bennett School, thanks to the support of organizations like the MidAmerican Energy Foundation. These funds not only preserve and protect the buildings, but allow the Society to put financial resources towards special events and educational programs. The generous donation from MidAmerican Energy Foundation will greatly aid the mission and vision of the West Des Moines Historical Society. 

James C. Jordan Scholars Meet With Local Leaders

The 2016/2017 James C. Jordan Scholars Leadership Institute Scholars are a class of 18 metro area high school students who are learning about James Jordan's role in local history. Recent programs have focused on Jordan's legislative career, philanthropy, banking and civil rights. The Jordan Scholars program is sponsored by Patricia & Ed Berkley, Kemin Industries, Polk County, Ruan Transportation, West Bank, the West Des Moines Community Foundation and members of the West Des Moines Historical Society. 

Pictured below: Jordan Scholars meet with Polk County Supervisors

Jordan House Book Group
"The Invention of Wings"
Tuesday, April 18
Jordan House  *  2001 Fuller Road

We hope you join us for the next title for the Jordan House Book Group. We'll be reading and discussing The Invention of Wings Tuesday, April 18 at 6pm at the Jordan House (2001 Fuller Road). Please RSVP by calling 225-1286.

Volunteer with the WDMHS

As the West Des Moines Historical Society grows and expands programs, events and outreach, the need for volunteers has grown. Volunteer opportunities include:
  • Special event volunteer (planning committee and/or day of)
  • Office/clerical/administrative
  • Facility maintenance (indoor and outdoor) 
You can choose to be part of an ongoing committee, or help us around the office once a month; we're very flexible and grateful for all help! 

To apply, please go to the on-line volunteer application on our website, and thank you! 
Copyright © 2017 West Des Moines Historical Society, All rights reserved.

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