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North of Grand Neighborhood Earns Grant to Study Historic “Center-Soll”

Posted January 13, 2014 in Des Moines West, Community Web Exclusives

DES MOINES—The North of Grand (NOG) neighborhood in Des Moines will continue researching its historic significance thanks in part to a $5,900 grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Located just west of downtown Des Moines, NOG includes what was once called the “Center-Soll” area, a name combination of two streets within the neighborhood boundaries. Center-Soll stretches from Center Street to Ingersoll Avenue and from 35th to 38th streets. The funding comes from Iowa’s Certified Local Government (CLG) program, designed to help promote historic preservation at the grassroots level.

In partnership with the City of Des Moines, NOG will hire a professional architectural historian to identify significant historic properties and, with the help of volunteers, collect photos, census records, maps, building permits or property transaction records related to Center-Soll.

“Our long-term goal is to determine whether there is a historic district in this section of North of Grand. Besides honoring this area’s history, this project may trigger financial incentives if property owners choose to rehabilitate historic buildings,” said Colleen Kinney, incoming board president of North of Grand. “It is another economic development option for one of Iowa’s most vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods.”

In April 2013, North of Grand partnered with the city of Des Moines, Polk County Community Betterment Grant program, SHSI-HRDP grant program and others to list the Greenwood Park Plats Historic District (39th to 42nd, Grand Ave. to I-235) on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 2000, the Middlesex National Historic District (31st to 35th, Woodland to Pleasant) was also listed on the National Register.

Center-Soll existed before cities had neighborhood associations, and was recognized in a 1924 Better Homes & Gardens article entitled, “Getting Neighborliness in Your Neighborhood.” With the help of volunteers, the search is now on to discover more about this era with the hopes of having it listed as the third National Historic District within the North of Grand neighborhood.

Work will begin in March 2014 and be completed by June, 2015. For more information, contact Colleen Kinney at (515) 664-9183, visit; or join our Facebook page,

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