Downtown History Brick by Brick, Beam by Beam


Banking and insurance industries did an admirable job building the economy of Des Moines. Now it’s time to admire the actual buildings they erected on their way to fame and fortune. Such as the Principal Financial Group headquarters and campus. Or American Enterprise Group’s award-winning HQ. Or the ornate Polk County Courthouse.

Architecture on the Move is a series of walking tours that will have you do the moving as you tour east, west, north or south sides of downtown to view contemporary as well as historic buildings. Tour guides will be on hand to discuss works by architects as notable as Mies van der Rohe and Helmut Jahne.

The tours are run by the Iowa Architectural Foundation and are sponsored by Kum & Go, the convenience store operator that is constructing a strikingly designed headquarters, the Krause Gateway Center, on the western edge of downtown.

Tours start from the foundation’s digs at Capital Square, 400 Locust St. After a wine and appetizer welcoming, they shove off on any of the four available routes. Organizers would appreciate an RSVP phone call, to 244-1888, or an email to

In the event of inclement weather, tours will use the skywalk. Bring $15 for each walker. And sensible shoes.

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