Welcome to the West Des Moines Historical Society

Support the West Des Moines Historical Society–learn about our Community Enrichment Initiative today!

The West Des Moines Historical Society is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization dedicated to community enrichment through education, preservation, and celebration of the history and the heritage of the greater West Des Moines area and its environs.


For all inquiries and questions, please contact us at

West Des Moines Historical Society
PO Box 65563
West Des Moines, IA 50265
(515) 277-6652

The Society owns and operates two properties:

  • The Jordan House is a restored Victorian Mansion that was the home of James Jordan, the founder of Valley Junction (which was later renamed West Des Moines). In the 1850’s and early 60’s, the home served as a station on the Underground Railroad. Today, it serves as a museum for the City of West Des Moines and as the office of the Historical Society.  The Jordan House, a stately Victorian home of Italianate Gothic design, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.

The Jordan House is open every Friday for 45 minute guided tours at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm, as well as on the first Sunday of each month for 45 minute guided tours at 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm.   For breakfast clubs or evening tours with an optional reception, please see our policies and information to learn more.

  • Bennett School was one of the last one-room schoolhouses built in the West Des Moines area and has been restored as closely as possible to its former appearance as remembered by Walter Fuller, Pete Johnson, and Lincoln Bennett (all students there) and by Dorothy Temple Mosher, a former teacher at the Bennett School.

Both properties are open to the public on a limited schedule.  For information, schedules, and a virtual tour, visit the pages for both properties!

Support the Historical Society – Volunteer a little time – have fun meeting others. Interested? Click here.