One of the best resources for discovering the past are old maps. When writing Papa’s Bones I found myself referring to this map several times. Map and Guide to Des Moines: Iowa’s Own City. Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Chapter of Commerce, c. 1930. Buildings and streets changed in seventy years. I needed to know what my character’s world looked like in detail.
The image below is what the Highland Park Neighborhood looked like in the 1930s. Many plots, especially to the west, were undeveloped. You can even see Des Moines University (Des Moines College) as well as the college’s athletic field. On the lower left is Broadlawns. Surprising enough this was once the T.B. hospital.
Reprinted with permission from the Greater Des Moines Partnership