REMINDER: Don’t forget to ‘Celebrate Des Moines’ this Saturday, Sept. 17th, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Beach Park for FREE fun, magic, music, ice cream, a scavenger hunt and other games, crafts, entertainment and history.
Here’s more from a flier:
Join us at the Beach Park, the birthplace of Des Moines, 22030 Cliff Avenue S., on Sept. 17th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free fun and entertainment. This free day of fun for the community is sponsored by the City of Des Moines Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Department, Des Moines Arts Commission, Des Moines Historical Society, Wesley Homes, 4Culture, and Judson Park.
Stage Lineup sponsored by Judson Park:
- 11:00-11:30am: Goofy Gideon Magic Show
- 11:30-12:00pm: Dignitaries Welcome
- 12:00-12:45pm: Vince Mira “Johnny Cash”
- 1:00-2:00pm: Duwamish Dixie Land Band
- Ice Cream Social sponsored by Wesley Homes
- Heritage Trail with displays of the historic eras of the Des Moines Waterfront from the 1890′s to present
- Semaphore (poetry using nautical symbols) by Amy-Ellen at 12:45
- Historical Society Picnic
- Scavenger Hunt
- Live Entertainment
- Field Games
- Craft Activity
- Face Painting
- Balloon Animals
- Free Shuttle to the Farmers Market
Here’s more historical background:
Des Moines Beach Park Heritage Trail “The Birthplace of Des Moines”
By the mid to late 1880s a 15,000 board foot capacity sawmill was operating at Des Moines creek.
The area was being logged by French Canadians, using oxen and a skid road. By 1889 the VanGasken and Markwell mills were considered the payroll of the town and employed 25 men. At one point, there were 12 mills along the harbor. The VanGasken house (at top center of photo) was built during the winter of 1889-90 using unplaned 1X12 boards and 2X6s, (it is above the north entrance to the marina).
From the original dock, Cliff Avenue cut south up the slope to Cherry street (now 223rd) and to downtown Des Moines, which was mostly on Grand Avenue (now 6th Ave. So.). Cliff avenue also continued north from the dock, past the mills, across Des Moines creek and the mill pond, then up the hill, in places no more than a trail taking the path of least resistance, from one homestead to another. Today it is the paved path that crosses the creek near the beach and goes up the hill to the north.
This photo shows the Des Moines shoreline around 1910. The original 1889 dock would have been in the center of this photograph, but it burned and was replaced by a dock at the foot of 227th St. (Where the south marina entrance is today.) The VanGasken mill is at the left, in front of Des Moines Creek, the Markwell mill is at the center. Cliff Avenue angles up the hill to the right. The VanGasken (mill owner’s) house is at the center, on top of the slope, built in 1889-90 and still there today (brown with white trim).