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River Bend Historic Home Tour- Celebrate the 18th Annual!
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River Bend Historic Home Tour- Celebrate the 18th Annual!

Historic Homes and a Trolley ride for good cause. You really should make time to check this out and share with friends!

This year will mark the 18th Annual tour of this kind and tickets are on sale now.

Pay tribute to the historical culture around us that we often don’t take time to appreciate like the architecture and creativity of local artists.

If you are not familiar –this is very special neighborhood that opens its doors each year.

Tanya Keith, Board President shared with me,”Here's the thing about River Bend: It's not like anywhere else in Iowa. I moved here from metropolitan New Jersey, and I almost left because I couldn't find a place where I wanted to settle to raise my kids. Then I met someone who lived here and found our home. I don't know of anywhere else in Iowa where the neighborhood is so engaged. The neighbors care about each other, they care about preserving the architecture of this place, and there are conversations here about preservation, race, economic's exactly where I want my kids to grow up. It's a place where I can talk about some of the things you see in the headlines, but in a way that's hopeful for what the future could hold for them.

On this tour, you'll get to tour Trinity Church, where they host one service in English and Spanish. I met both pastors at a Popsicle social they hosted this weekend. We talked about engaging this community across racial and economic boundaries over frozen fruit bars. It's refreshing to live in a place, particularly in Iowa, where people are out talking about the challenges of their community and how to resolve them.

You'll tour homes where every home has a profound story to offer about the history of this neighborhood, the first suburb of Des Moines (River Bend used to be North Des Moines, a suburb of the city downtown). The original farmhouse is on the tour, resurrected after being saved once then lost in foreclosure and subsequent mining. The house at 1824 7th was a duplex that looked beyond saving until a group of neighborhood rehabbers took on the project and brought it back to life. Every single house on this tour is a story of renewal and rebirth of this neighborhood. It's not just a tour of homes. It's a chance to live part of the great history of this neighborhood.”

Neighborhood Community Member, Mike Hildebrand suggested making a day of it and painted a picture with some great tips: I would park at the ticket booth, down at Birdland Sports Park, just off of 6th Avenue at 300 Holcomb. I would catch the free trolley and enjoy a stress free ride to each house with our resident history expert, Ralph Christian who works in the State Historic Preservation Office narrating the trip around the neighborhood. The trolley will run about every 30 minutes. If it takes more than 30 minutes to go through a house, we are a very walk-able neighborhood and you can walk to the next house or enjoy a free bottle of water on a large front porch and wait for the next trolley. When you get to the final house on the tour, our hospitality house located along the river, go up on the front porch, have a seat with Curt and Ellen. Enjoy some free lemonade and cookies, and spend some time while Curt tells the history of the Colby Mansion while enjoying the views of the river and his beautiful flower beds that are the best in the neighborhood. Then walk across the 6th avenue bridge enjoying the view of the river back to the ticket booth. There are also many guests who drive to manage their time, there is ample on street parking at each home.


There is a food truck on 6th avenue in the parking lot of the Asian Market, 1600 block that sells the best Papusa's in the city, I highly recommend stopping there to experience a taste of our neighborhood diversity. We also have some of the best BBQ, Uncle Mikes located right across the street from the Papusa truck. Grab some BBQ and for another great experience, walk up 3 blocks to Butterfly park at 9th and College, and have a picnic. You will be just across the street from stop number 3, Trinity Church and right on the trolley line. C-Fresh Market up on University also has food and seating.


For the first time on our tour we will have local antique vendors and artists exhibiting with items for purchase at house #8. You not only will support our local artists but will get a start on your holiday gift shopping very early with a one of a kind gift. Other establishments to support that support your group: 6th Avenue Corridor will have a booth set up at house #1 explaining the progress and plans for the 6th Avenue revitalization plans. As I said it would be great if everyone supports the local artists at house #8. In addition our sponsors who cover our expenses every year include Whole Health Chiropractic in the Shops at Roosevelt, Frame Works on Merle Hay Rd. who sponsored the Art and Antique venue, Neighborhood Finance Corp on 6th Avenue, Transformations Hair – Skin – Nails in the Shops at Roosevelt who sponsored our VIP event this Friday for donors, volunteers, and home owners on the tour, Sergeants Garage on College Avenue, Gateway Market, and Marceen Peters with Berkshire Hathaway. Central City Liquors on 2nd Avenue provided free bottled water at all locations. More details on event invite on Facebook (and their wonderful Fan page) See you there! Step into these historic homes and hear some amazing stories! Free trolley rides between the homes are available. For more information about the homes on the tour and other details, please visit


Saturday September 6th, 2014 from 10-4 p.m. Sunday September 7th from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Parking at Birdland Sports Park, 300 Holcomb Avenue, just across the Des Moines River on 6th Avenue across the street from North High School. Hop on the Trolley for transportation between homes.


Day of the tour tickets: $15 for adults, $7.50 for kids under 17, free admission for kids 5 and under Available only at the ticket booth.

Advanced Tickets $10 for adults and $5 for age 6-17, 5 and under free.

*Advanced tickets available now at at (includes processing fee) And no, Historic Hatton House is not on the tour this year but you check read their blog @

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