Friday, December 1, 2023

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Once Upon A Time

From the Des Moines City Council minutes


100 years ago (January 1915) :

Welsbach Street Lighting Company to install a gas street lamp at West 37th street and Kingman Boulevard. Des Moines Electric Company directed to install an incandescent street lamp at 32nd and Iola.

West Grand Avenue from 14th to 18th to be made 50-feet wide, and from 18th to 19th to be made 40-feet wide. (Only dirt roads, remember.)

In 1914, the auditor was requested to make full payment to Archie Knox for upkeep of Grandview Golf Links in the amount of $100. (About $2,400 in today’s money for a year’s effort. And who had time to golf 100 years ago?)

Resolved that “the Christian Volunteers be permitted to use the first floor of Municipal Lodging House Saturday night and to leave it in the same condition as they find it.” (Reasonable request, but the Boy Scout directive is to leave it in better condition.)

The Superintendent of Streets and Public Improvements was directed to fix heating plant “of the Detention Hospital so old boiler can be used in conjunction with the new in extreme cold weather, at an expense not to exceed $50.00.” (The “Detention Hospital” was east of where the current Broadlawns Hospital is located. People with tuberculosis and other communicable diseases were quarantined and made to live in isolation from others there. A history source claims it was “one of the most feared places in Des Moines,” and known as the “Pest House.”)

Application of J. B. Foley for transfer of saloon at 407 E. Fifth St. to 517 Mulberry St. (Now, Tacopocalypse is located at 407 E. Fifth.)

C.C. Kimball granted permission for the operation of the skating rink at the Municipal Bath House. (With regard to the “Municipal Bath House,” research shows that all larger cities provided public bathing facilities.)

Resolved, “… no City employee be allowed street car tickets from his home to his work and return, and anyone making such use of tickets be subject for discharge.”

50 years ago (January 1965):

The Des Moines-Kofu Friendship Commission was established to further cultural and economic understanding with Kofu, Yamanashi-Ken, Japan.

Ordinance was passed establishing a new job classification and salary for a school crossing guard. Salary is $1.31 per hour. (About $10/hour in 2015 dollars.)

Johnny and Kay’s Motor Hotel was approved to rent a display case at the Des Moines Municipal Airport for one year for $300. ($2,400 in today’s monies.)

Cities of Des Moines and West Des Moines and Polk County agreed to the construction of a bridge across Raccoon River near 63rd and add paved roadways from the bridge to connecting streets and highways.

A.J. Allen Plumbing and Heating Company was approved for the plumbing work relative to the construction of the Children’s Zoo in A.H. Blank Park.

Class “B” beer permits were issued to Fifth Avenue Bowling, Des Moines Catering, LaPizza House, Billies and Freddies Golden Nuggett, Armands Alpine, Francie’s Tap, Timber Tap, Tony’s Grand Tavern, The Nip, The Keo Tap and Madge’s Locust Tap. Class “C” liquor licenses were awarded to P.S. Lounge, Cliff’s Tavern, Triangle Café, Tom’s Grocery on Beaver and Yale Drug on Penn Avenue.

25 years ago (January 1990):

The Skywalk Commission warned of smoking and failure to obey peace officers in the skywalk system.

Archie Brooks reported on a trip to Cherokee to view a Lundell Manufacturing automatic waste separator.

Contract for the renovation of the men’s and women’s restrooms in the Main Library was issued to Big Boy’s Construction (Orville Bellville, Pres.)

An Early Warning Weather Alert System to be purchased for $16,729. ($30,280 in today’s money, and probably were a bunch of weather radios at that.)

Granted permission to International Cinema Artists of West Des Moines to close 19th Street from Ingersoll to Grand on Thursday the 25th from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Any guesses what the company did?)

Approved vacating part of East First between East Locust and Walnut for the Embassy Suites Project.

Authorized more than $40,000 for a New York firm to do a “nuisance odor source study… to identify odor emitting sources” from Southeast 14th East to city limits and from Market Street south to the Des Moines River. Also, an ordinance “establishing an Odor Hotline and a Citizen Odor Board.” (Have you noticed since then how much better that area smells? Wonder if the Odor Hotline was active for very long?)

Game room permit issued to Nickelodeon at 4040 Merle Hay Road.

Various liquor and beer permits were granted to the following: DSM Air National Guard Service Club, Club 2000, Sambetti’s Lounge, Mr. V’s, Dutch and Dales, Archery Field and Sports, Coney Island, Jim Dandy, Karen’s Five and Ten, Walnut Tap, Carol’s Wakonda Lounge and Who’s on 3rd.

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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