A Des Moines Icon, Woven Into the City's Cultural Fabric
A Carefully Curated Time Capsule
A Historic Landmark and Political Hub
Hotel Fort Des Moines' history is as illustrious as its guests. What began as the most expensive hotel project in Iowa ever in 1918, costing $1.5 million, swiftly turned into an icon rivaling the greatest hotels of the era in Chicago and New York. The Iowa caucuses have brought esteemed politicians and beloved presidents to the hotel for more than a century, from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton. The latter stayed in the Penthouse Suite numerous times and liked gazing out of the window. Step back into some of the hotel's most iconic moments through the years.
- 1919Hotel grand opening, with building design by renowned architectural firm Proudfoot, Bird & Rawson
- 1922Helen Keller stays at the hotel while in town for a week of stage performances at the Orpheum theater, and wishes staff a Happy New Year
- 1927Aviator Charles Lindbergh stays at the hotel and hosts a banquet serving boneless squab, a rare Des Moines delicacy
- 1933Amelia Earhart comes to Des Moines to speak before the Women's Club about her solo flight across the Atlantic
- 1938Air conditioning units were installed in many of the rooms, a first for many hotels in the country
- 1940Katharine Hepburn stays at the hotel during her performance in "The Philadelphia Story" at the Shrine Auditorium
- 1946Hob Nob Restaurant opens to rave reviews from food critics and restaurateurs
Mae West stays at the hotel during her performance of "Come on Up" at the KRNT Radio Theater
- 1953TV sets are installed in 100 rooms, the largest mass installation of TVs in the state
- 1959Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stayed in the Presidential Suite during the Cold War
- 1960John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey attend dinner at the hotel and host a meeting on farm policy
- 1971President Nixon stays at the hotel, greeting supporters in the lobby while in town for a rural development meeting and address
- 1974President Ronald Reagan attends WHO Radio's 50th anniversary at the hotel
- 1980Elizabeth Taylor stays at the hotel during a Des Moines appearance with her husband US Senator John Warner
- 1982Hotel Fort Des Moines is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- 1994Hotel Fort Des Moines' celebrated its 75th anniversary with 500 guests in attendance.
- 2002Skywalk added to the hotel, connecting it to the Iowa Events Center and Wells Fargo Arena
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both stay at the hotel while in town during the 2008 caucuses
- 2021Renovations are completed and The Hotel Fort Des Moines re-opens as part of Curio Collection by Hilton.