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The capital of and the largest city in the the state, Des Moines, Iowa, is also the county seat of Polk County, though a portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851 and is named after the Des Moines River, The city's population was around 200,000 at the 2000 census. It is a large city, taking up an area of more than 77 square miles. The median household incomes for residents in the city is around $40,000.
Des Moines was founded as a fort at the place where the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers meet and was constructed to keep out the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians. The fort was abandoned in 1846. Today the city has a thriving economy and is a major center for the insurance, financial services and publishing industries. Des Moines is the headquarters for such companies as Principal Financial Group, the Meredith Corporation, Ruan Transportation, EMC Insurance Companies and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The city is home to a smattering of things to do, from cultural attractions like Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, the Temple for Performing Arts, the Des Moines Playhouse, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Ballet Des Moines and the Des Moines Symphony to museums and historical sites like the Salisbury House and Gardens, a 42-room mansion on 10 acres, The Des Moines Botanical Center, the Blank Park Zoo, the Hoyt Sherman Place mansion, the State of Iowa Historical Museum, and the Science Center of Iowa and Blank IMAX Dome Theater. Major events in the city include the Jazz in July series, the Des Moines Arts Festival in June, the Iowa State Fair in August, and the World Food Festival in October.
The schools here are administered under the Des Moines Public Schools system, which is in charge of 38 elementary schools, ten middle schools, five high schools and 10 special schools. Colleges in the city include two four-year, private institutions: Drake University and Grand View University, and the two-year Des Moines Area Community College.For getting to and around the city, commercial flights are operated out of the Des Moines International Airport located in the southern part of town. The Des Moines Area Regional Transit operates bus routes both within the city and out into some suburbs.