The second largest city in the capital region of the state, West Des Moines, Iowa, is split among Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties. It is the ninth largest city in the state, and as of a special census taken in 2005 was home to more than 50,000 residents. The community makes up an area of more than 27 square miles, most of which is land and residents here have an annual median household incomes of around $55,000. It lies less than 10 miles west of Des Moines.
The area was once the home to the Sac and Fox tribes. James Cunningham Jordan was one of the first Europeans to settle here, founding a cattle farm on the Jordan House, which today still sits and has been restored as the home to the West Des Moines Historical Society. The city incorporated October 9, 1893 as Valley Junction. However, after the heyday of the railroad ended, residents thought the city needed a more updated name and thus it became West Des Moines on January 1, 1938.
Schools in the community are operated by the West Des Moines School District, including nine elementary schools, two junior high schools, one high school and a second high school for freshmen only. Private schools in West Des Moines include Dowling Catholic High School and Iowa Christian Academy. For getting around town without a car, there is the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, which operates bus lines. Some companies who have their headquarters in town include Farm Bureau Financial Services, Hy-Vee, Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, and the Kum & Go convenience store.
Attractions here include Glen Oaks Country Club, Ponderosa Public Golf Course, a large community center, Valley View and Holiday Park Aquatic Centers, Raccoon River Park Softball Complex and the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge. Shopping can be done at one of several complexes: Valley West Mall, West Glen Town Center, Jordan Creek Town Center or in the historic downtown Valley Junction area. Area events include those such as Illumifest, A Fall Festival of Light; Learnapalooza; spring and fall Art Markets; Festivale Cinco de Mayo; the Historic Valley Junction Farmer's Market and Music in the Junction Thursday evenings in the fall; the PGA Champions Tour Principal Charity Classic; a Hy-Vee Triathlon; and A-May-Zing Days.
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