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027_Growth of Des Moines


027_Growth of Des Moines


This is a page from the collection "Bicentennial Reflections: History of Des Moines Public Schools, 1876-1976" by Dr. Robert R. Denny, published by the Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, Iowa in 1976.

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The Growth of Des Moines As we can look at the growth of the school district of Des Moines and see how it has evolved into its present single status from the consolidation of more than twenty separate districts, we must look at how the city of Des Moines has grown. In the accompanying map you can see the relative small space that was encompassed in the city of Ft. Des Moines in 1853. In 1857, the boundaries are delineated and at that time it became the city of Des Moines. The city was first incorporated January 18, 1853, as the city of Ft. Des Moines. On March 7,1857, the city of Des Moines was organized and the city limits extended, giving the city an area of 8 c square miles. This change can be seen on the map. The population in 1857 was approximately 4,000. As Des Moines continued to grow, a number of incorporated towns and cities began to surround the core area of downtown Des Moines. These included University Place, Greenwood Park, Sevastapol, Gilbert, Capitol Park, Grant Park, Easton Place, and North Des Moines. It is interesting that neither Highland Park nor Oak Park were incorporated. All of these incorporated areas voted in 1889 to merge into the city of Des Moines. This was a large consolidation move and the city limits remained fixed for the next 60 years. Earlier in the booklet the consolidation process of the school district was set out in detail. The accompanying map will help give some idea of the areas involved. The city annexed, on June 2, 1955, the Des Moines Municipal Airport which was outside of the city limits in Bloomfield Township. This action was taken as a defensive measure since there had been some discussion on the part of Bloomfield Township's residents to incorporate as "Rose City" and of course to include the airport. The Bloomfield Township area was incorporated into the city later in 1955. In 1976 the city incorporates about 64 square miles and the school district has within its limits approximately 84 square miles. As a sidelight on school district mergers within Polk County it is pointed out that there were 52 separate school districts in 1952. The steady decline of the many rural school districts across the county assisted in the merger of many of these districts. In 1962 there was a total of 27 separate school districts and this was reduced to 15 by action of the Polk County school board. The reorganization of a number of school districts to form the Southeast Polk district as well as those to form the North Polk district as well as certain other mergers such as the Clive school district merging with the West Des Moines school district resulted in further reduction. 23