City of Des Moines from South Park Hill


Detailed, if exaggerated, bird’s eye view of Des Moines, Iowa.

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This lovely view of Des Moines was taken from an issue of A.T. Andreas’ work “The Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa.” The Hawkeye Insurance Company was a primary sponsor of the atlas, and features prominently in the elaborate bold type, as well as with portraits of the headquarters (still standing today as apartment buildings) and the president of the company.

One could expect the patron would want a idyllic view of their home city, and Andreas used several tricks to provide the best look possible. Chuch steeples and smoke stacks soar disproportionately high into the sky, reflecting on the city’s rich industrial and pious citizenry. Prominent buildings, such as the capitol and courthouse, are given similar treatment. Numerous trains can be seen running on dangerously crowded tracks and side spurs to give the impression of bustling commerce. An artist in the foreground, likely representative of the engraver, contemplates the scenery in admiration.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1875

Author: A.T. Andreas

Sheet Width (in): 17.50

Sheet Height (in): 14.50

Condition: B+

Condition Description: The map has been washed and flattened, but there is still some moderate soiling confined largely to the margins. Some sheet loss from where the map was disbound, but very good overall.