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May 2024

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Des Moines Historical Society Centennial Certificate Program

Des Moines Historical Society logoOne hundred years is a long time. And in each passing day is a reminder that our history is growing and changing and, oftentimes, forgotten. The Des Moines Historical Society (DMHS) wants to make sure Des Moines’ history isn’t lost.

In response to a need for greater recognition and acknowledgement of Des Moines history, DMHS is starting the “Centennial Certificate” program.

Through Des Moines’ 58 neighborhood associations, DMHS is working to document businesses, organizations, people, homes and buildings that are 100 years old or older. Each honoree will receive a complimentary framed Centennial Certificate recognizing their contribution to the history of Des Moines during special public presentations throughout the year, many in conjunction with Neighborhood Association meetings. Honorees will also have the opportunity to purchase a bronze plaque recognizing this achievement.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this important project. Click here for the Centennial Certificate Program Guidelines or submission form. Contact DMHS Board Member Laurance Tovrea with any questions: [email protected], (515) 255-2705.

DMHS Centennial Certificate Guidelines


Business (includes large and small)
Organizations (non-profit, church or religious, school-related, tribal, other)
Buildings (includes privately owned and public/government)


The business / organization / person / home / building must be documented to be 100 years old or older and still currently living or in existence.

Homes and buildings must reflect most of their original architectural character (additions/alterations acceptable, but only to the extent it has not compromised historic character).

Businesses and organizations must have been founded in Des Moines and remained (essentially) under the same name and with the same mission/purpose throughout its history.

Small businesses (50 employees or less) must have retained (essentially) the same name and purpose throughout their history. It is acceptable that ownership of the business may have changed. It is acceptable that the location has changed.

Only businesses and organizations founded and currently operating within Des Moines city limits will be considered.

Only businesses / organizations / people / homes / buildings built, organized or born on or before 1912 will be considered for a 2012 Centennial Certificate.

“Homes” also includes multi-family structures (duplexes, four-plexes, apartments)

“Buildings” refers to structures that house commercial or retail businesses, government, schools or hospitals.

People: Any man or woman, still living, who is 100 years old or older and who has spent the majority of their life living within the city limits of Des Moines.