In 1867, James Jordan, one of the first European settlers in the area, agreed to donate land and plat a small town in exchange for a railroad spur to serve his cattle operation. Jordan’s business prospered as did the railroads and with them the town, which became known as Valley Junction. In 1891, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad decided to relocate its engine shops from East Des Moines to the growing community that was now on the main line. Prosperity turned to bust when the rail yards moved out during the Depression, and the city renamed itself West Des Moines to invite a more stable population. The community bonded together during the war years, and when the interstate came, the city grew outward as a hub of retail commerce and transportation. Now a financial center in its own right, West Des Moines hosts several Fortune 500 headquarters and is a magnet for the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the state. This collection showcases the history and character of the city through the eyes of its citizens.