In its 170-some years, the evolution of Des Moines’ commercial core has paralleled that of many American cities. Fort Des Moines, an early foothold in terms of Euro-American settlement, today survives only as an archaeological site. Early commercial buildings of wood frame on both the east and west sides of the Des Moines River were replaced with brick later in the nineteenth century. At the turn of the twentieth century another wave of development introduced tall buildings or skyscrapers. In the midst of all this change, we can see the impact of external forces, including architectural ideas from Chicago, the City Beautiful Movement and the contributions of nationally and internationally renowned architects. The “book” on Des Moines’ architecture is still being written. To read the full article from the Spring 2018 issue of The Alliance Review.