Book Summary –
Owl’s Head – A Hidden Gem tells the stories of a unique Des Moines neighborhood that has maintained the charms of childhood dreams while also housing many who have blazed new trails.
Nestled behind major roadway Grand Avenue on Des Moines’ west side is a quaint historic neighborhood – Owl’s Head. Spanning only about one square block in size, one would never guess this unassuming enclave would have so many fascinating stories to tell. Owl’s Head began as a streetcar suburb not long after Iowa became a state in 1846. The homes were built by notable architects of the time with a focus on style, entertaining, and accommodations for staff. It was a haven where affluential residents could escape their downtown career and enjoy the relaxation of nearby parks.
Owl’s Head has been the home to pioneers who influenced journalism, politics, art, and business innovation at the local, state, and national level. One of the more prominent homes was the official residence of the Iowa governor for 28 years. It is not uncommon for several generations of families to live in the neighborhood or to meet a resident who has resided in their home for well over 40 years. Residents in the neighborhood have socialized with prominent figures such as Louis Armstrong and Theodore Roosevelt. An annual neighborhood Labor Day party has been a tradition since Owl’s Head became a historic district in the late 1970s.
We invite you to take a stroll through the neighborhood and discover for yourself what makes Owl’s Head such a hidden gem.