History - DSM First Church

History

In 1845 a number of settlers living along the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers began holding Bible study at the cabin of the Rathburn family. Then in 1848 the Fort Des Moines town Commissioners voted to donate to the Methodist group "a lot on which to erect a church" making us the first church in Des Moines. This building was located on 5th St. 1/2 block south of Walnut. At this time there were no other buildings suitable for public meetings so the church served as a public hall, court room and general utility auditorium.

 


 With the influx of settlers the little church on 5th St. was soon outgrown. The building was moved across the street and a larger church was built on the original site. It was in this building in 1866 Des Moines' first public library opened in two rented basement rooms with 2,300 books.

 

 

 

 


By 1880 the church had again outgrown its space. The property was sold and the church purchased land at the corner of 9th and Pleasant. The membership at this building grew to over 1,000 and there was a discussion to enlarge the 9th street church. At that same time property became available on the corner of 10th and Pleasant. The 9th St. building was sold to the Shrine Temple Company and the land at 10th and Pleasant, our current location, was purchased. The cornerstone of this building was laid in 1906 and the church was completed in 1908.

 

 

 

 


We are proud to be the city of Des Moines' first church and to have served our community and the world for nearly 170 years.

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