The city of Des Moines experienced a rebirth at the beginning of the 20th century. The City Beautiful movement focused on cleaning up the city, starting with a new civic center along the Des Moines River. A progressive wave in city politics organized the Des Moines plan of commission government. Modern streetcars traveled along recently paved roads and newly constructed bridges, while electric lights kept the streets safe at night. The city motto said it all: Des Moines Does Things. This postcard collection showcases the best the city had to offer during that time, as the city changed and prospered, becoming the "City of Certainties," through challenges during both world wars, and beyond into the postwar boom, when Des Moines became the crossroads of the nation.
Craig S. McCue and Ron Playle are both Des Moines area residents and are authors of other historical works from Arcadia. McCue works at Wells Fargo and lives in Urbandale with his family, spending his spare time volunteering for the community. Playle keeps busy by selling worldwide vintage postcards on his Playle's Online Auctions Web site and collecting postcards of the Des Moines area.