Iowa History Daily: October 9 - Valley Junction

Iowa History Daily: On October 9, 1893, the city of Valley Junction incorporated. Today the downtown heart of West Des Moines, Valley Junction formed around the switching facilities and repair shops at the meeting point of three lines on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.

Held by the Sauk and Meskwaki during the era immediately preceding American settlement, James Cunningham Jordan, a cattle farmer, signaled the opening of the lands to eager easterners during October of 1845. Jordan’s residence eventually served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and famed abolitionist John Brown stayed at the location now held by the West Des Moines Historical Society several times.

An important trading and shipping location on the Raccoon River and important routes west out of Des Moines, Valley Junction grew as railroads started to stretch across Iowa. When three lines of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific formed a junction featuring facilities to service trains, the small settlement started to grow leading to the 1893 incorporation of the town.

Growth stagnated during the early 1900s as rail traffic declined, and local citizens schemed up a new strategy to attract interest in the small town. On January 1, 1938, Valley Junction officially moved toward becoming West Des Moines, Iowa. Although the incorporated town faded into the past, Valley Junction still represents the downtown of modern day West Des Moines. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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