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Summertime, Satchmo, & Salisbury House
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Summertime, Satchmo, & Salisbury House

Your first thought upon visiting Salisbury House will be, “Wow! Why haven’t I been here before?"

It’s just that cool.

For the as-yet uninitiated: Salisbury House is a 42-room historic house museum nestled among the oaks of Des Moines’ South of Grand neighborhood. Iowan Carl Weeks and his wife, Edith, built Salisbury House in the 1920s to pay homage to the old-world English architecture they both loved. Salisbury House cost the family a cool $3 million to build and furnish in the twenties, which would be around $40 million today.

Salisbury House is more than just a pretty face. The outside is awesome, but the inside has beauty and substance all its own. Carl and Edith beat the HGTV bandwagon and became architectural salvagers before it was hip, as evidenced by the upcycled 16th-century English oak featured in several rooms. Fine art by the likes of Anthony van Dyck and Joseph Stella grace the walls.

Decorative arts, you ask? We’d be here all day.

Of course, all kinds of stories are told about Salisbury House, too. Some even have the imprimatur of historical fact. For example: Louis Armstrong visited Salisbury House in the late 1940s. We have it from a source as august as the Des Moines Register:

“After concerts Louis would meet with his friends in their Des Moines homes. After a 1949 concert at Hoyt Sherman Place Louis               and some of the musicians…went to the home of Carl Weeks, Salisbury House, at the invitation of Weeks’ son, Evert. Ingrid                     Bergman some time before that had starred in a play about Joan of Arc…as Louis passed one of the suits of armor in a hallway,                 he paused, took the mail glove in his hand, bowed and said courteously, “Good evening, Miss Bergman.”

And guess what? The suit of armor is still here.

In two weeks’ time, we have the perfect opportunities for you to visit this magnificent historic house museum AND enjoy the music of Louis Armstrong. What could be better?

August 1: Hot Piece of Brass

7:00-10:00 PM

Live jazz. Dancing. Brass.

It's Louis Armstrong's 114th birthday, so come on out and celebrate with us! Enjoy a convivial evening 1920s style with a jazz-infused, speakeasy themed party presented by the Salisbury House Young Professionals.  

Your $35 ticket gets you:

Free beer and wine, scrumptious appetizers via Catering DSM, live Jazz-era music from the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, birthday cake + champagne toast

1920s attire encouraged but ain't nothin' required.

Tickets: Call (515) 274-1777, go online, or just whip out your wallet at the door.


August 2: Louis Armstrong Birthday Bash

2:00-5:00 PM

Enjoy live jazz by the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra in the Salisbury House gardens. Ogle historic automobiles displayed on the grounds. Wander through the historic halls of Salisbury House.

We’ve got something for everyone! Join us for this family-friendly event.

$15 for adults

Children age 6-12 admission is $5

The small fry (kiddos under 5) get in free

Tickets: Call (515) 274-1777, go online, or purchase at the door.


For more info about Salisbury House and our other great events, visit our website.


Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

More about DSM, summertime, events

Leave a Comment

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