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I cannot tell you how many dwellings there are, for I have not counted them; some are of logs, some of brick, some framed, and some are the remains of the old dragoon houses... There are people from nearly every state, and Dutch, Swedes, etc.

The people support two papers and there are several dry goods shops. In May 1851, much of the town was destroyed during the Flood of 1851.

A small part of the city extends into Warren County.

The city's population was 216,853 as of the 2018 population estimate.

Based on archeological evidence, the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers has attracted humans for at least 7,000 years.

Growth was slow during the Civil War period, but the city exploded in size and importance after a railroad link was completed in 1866.

In 1864, the Des Moines Coal Company was organized to begin the first systematic mining in the region.

A 2007 article in The New York Times said, "If you have any desire to witness presidential candidates in the most close-up and intimate of settings, there is arguably no better place to go than Des Moines." Some historians and researchers lacking linguistic or Algonquianist training concluded that Moingona meant "people by the portage" or something similar, a reference to the Des Moines Rapids.

This was where the earliest known encounters between the Moingona and European explorers took place.

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