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Iowa History Daily: August 18 - Incorporation of Clive

Iowa History Daily: On August 18, 1956, the City of Clive officially incorporated in Polk County. An important location in Iowa’s coal-mining past, today Clive stands on the edge of the Des Moines Metro area as an important suburb.

Following the dispossession of the Sauk and Meskwaki during the first-half of the 1800s, the lands now encompassed by Clive came into the American record as the Flynn Farm in 1870. The Union Land Company, led by Jefferson Polk and Fred Hubble, laid a narrow-gauge railway from Des Moines to Clive during the early 1880s.

Starting in 1881, the Gibson Coal Company began operations between the stretch between today’s 69th and 78th streets. The St. Louis-Des Moines Northern Railway located a depot at Clive in 1882 and hired Thomas Neff as postmaster. Development slowly followed, and soon roughly twenty families made up a coal mining community featuring two general stores, a school, and a blacksmith shop.

Across the early 1900s, the community grew to roughly 150 people as workers slowly exhausted the coal seams beneath the small unincorporated village. When West Des Moines started exploring an annexation of Clive in the 1950s, the residents decided to incorporate. With the implementation and expansion of the Interstate Highway System the small town grew rapidly across the second-half of the 1900s. Today, Clive hosts roughly 18,000 residents and represents an important Des Moines suburb. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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