Thursday, January 27, 2022

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Once Upon A Time

From the Des Moines City Council minutes


100 years ago (February 1915) :

Permission granted to J.C. Watson to “shoot two pounds of dynamite for breaking frozen ground” on the premises of C. Staves, 1730 York St., under the provision of the Dept of Public Safety. (Today the city does not have such a department.) Discussion: Should the Superintendent of Public Safety be “authorized and directed to establish a “rock pile” to work City prisoners? Approved.


TO: The Department of Parks and Public Property. FROM: The Department of Streets and Public Improvements: “The charge, construction, maintenance and repair of all street watering troughs and fountains.” (Historical note: One of those troughs is in Sam Cohen Park at 1000 Scott St. and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.)



Application granted to H.E. Bergstrom to operate a billiard and pool hall at 814 W. Locust (now the Suites Hotel). In addition, application granted to A.J. and O.J. St. Clair to move their billiard and pool hall from No. 409-411 E. Fifth St. to 415 W. Fourth St. (415 W. Fourth St. is now under a parking garage.)


Ordinance regulating, licensing and taxing billiard tables, pool tables, bowling alleys and shooting galleries amended. Such must “cease daily at twelve o’clock midnight, and shall not begin prior to seven o’clock in the morning of each day.” Fees set at $25 per year for the “first carom or pocket billiard table,” and $10 for additional tables. Each “bagatelle table or table other than a carom or pocket billiard table” is charged $25 per year. A “double or single bowling alley bed” is charged $25 annually, with $10 for each “additional bed if located in the same hall or place” ($600 today).


(The beginnings of Prohibition: 86 “mulct saloons” in Des Moines had their liquor permits cancelled awaiting a matter pending in District Court that would close all saloons.)


50 years ago (February 1965):


For consideration of $1; six Colby family members signed agreements, quit claim deed, warranty deed and gave temporary easements in connection with construction of the new bridge across Raccoon River near 63rd Street.


Delta Phi Delta Honorary Art Fraternity of Drake permitted to ban parking on north side of University between 24th and 25th streets and hang banners across University because of their “4th Annual Art Fair” held in the parking lot of the First Federal State Bank. And, permission granted to Dr. Gustafson, president, Capital Heart Division to conduct a “Tag Day and Balloon Sale for Heart” on the “downtown streets of Des Moines and outlying business sections” from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 13.


The “United States of America” cancelled its lease for basement space in the Terminal Building at the Des Moines Municipal Airport, and later the City of Des Moines granted approval to Ozark Airlines for leasing office space in the basement described as “room No. 18 containing 288 square feet” for $48 per month ($360 today).


Ordinance passed issuing free dog licenses for “dog owners who are blind.” Ordinance defining “House mover” and “House moving” and set license fee at $50. Also, due to invasion of Dutch Elm Disease, more and more elm trees designated each week for removal at $55 per tree ($413 today).


25 years ago (February 1990):


Des Moines City Council meetings are now on “live telecast” on CITICABLE Channel 34. (Thus, a lot less detail published in printed minutes available to the public.)


Council seeks recommendations for developing the Riverview Adventure Island Park Site and begins the design review process for new skywalk from the Register Building to the new Ninth and Grand parking garage.


Approved lease agreement with IBM for a “Central Processing Unit (CPU)” for monthly cost of $6,350 plus maintenance of $750. ($12,860 today — per month!)


Approved a bid for asbestos removal of airport terminal second floor and restroom restoration and started the competitive selection process for awarding “current and future pay telephone concessions at the Des Moines International Airport.” (Asbestos is now “gone,” as are the pay phones.)


“Gameroom” licenses renewed for: Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle on Harding Road, Locust Billiards, Skate East, Y-Not Grill, Kamala Corp “d/b/a Blue Nude Bookstore 1117 Grand Avenue,” Delta-Z, Inc. “d/b/a 1536 Theater” on East Grand and a new license to R&M Music Co. for game room during wrestling and basketball tournaments at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium.


Liquor licenses: Pace Membership Warehouse, AK O’Connor’s, King Ying Low, Bill’s Back Door Tavern, Spanky’s, Kaplan Hat, Secrets on Cottage Grove, Babe’s North and Battani’s Pizza.


Beer permits with Sunday sales allowed: Campbell’s Concessions at Iowa State Fair, Grandview Golf, Rainbow Cleaning Machine on Merle Hay, Saigon Restaurant, Candy Kitchen on Forest, Oceanview Café on Beaver and Orlondo’s Pizza.


Purchase agreement approved for a “triple combination pumper fire truck” costing $186,790.50 from Sutphen Corp. ($338,330 today)


Sports Car Club of America granted permission to use the City Hall parking lot and to block adjacent streets for the SCCA Des Moines Valley Regional Solo II event. CV


Steve Nelson-Vaux is a retired Iowa farmer-turned-library explorer and vintage prospector digging Des Moines’ and S.E. Polk’s historical aether-ore.

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