Woodland Place Historic District

Des Moines City, Polk County, IA

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Home on Woodland Avenue

Woodland Place [†], bounded by 25th, 28th, Center and Woodland, was platted by Percival-Porter and Company and was first opened for sale in late June 1907. The plat contained 138 lots (50 feet by 132 feet). The plat was offered in competition with a broad range of West side plattings, the closest of which was Middlesex (see: Middlesex Plat Historic District). The promotional push for Woodland was noticeably less intense than that offered for the other developments. This was because Woodland wasn't already developed when it's lots hit the market. There was no street grading and no sewer in place. The earliest advertisements stressed that the developers had posted a $5,000 bond to guarantee street grading and promised that "sewer [was] ordered." The ads stressed the natural beauty of the plat and promised that it would be a "high class neighborhood" as well as a good investment. By late July 1907 the grading was finally underway and gas and water were "nearby." Each lot was staked with its price tag and the buyer could go out, make a lot choice, and then return to the downtown Percival-Porter Company office with the price tag to consummate the sale. A $25 down payment and $5 monthly were the purchase terms. From the start potential buyers were warned that "the best lots are going fast." By mid-July there were "still many choice timbered lots" unsold. There were apparent hopes for a Center Street streetcar line extension (see Streetcar Suburbs). The Ingersoll line was just two blocks distant although there was no direct access to it apart from 28th Street or 24th Street. The public was reminded that the "new car line will not be over two blocks from any lot." As the house-buying season closed down in August (the last time that a new house could be enclosed and occupied before winter) little could be offered by the developers to measure either sales or house starts. The ads did not mark off sold lots and no counts of house starts were incorporated into the advertisements. In early August the promoters could only repeat that "this will be one of the high grade and popular additions of the city" and to note "we have promises of several fine houses there and are selling to people of taste and means" (Des Moines Register and Leader, June 27, July 21, August 4, 1907).

Adapted from: James E. Jacobsen, History Pavs! Historic Preservation Consulting Firm, Woodland Place Historic District, nomination document, 2000, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Center Street • Pleasant Street • Woodland Avenye

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