West Des Moines is a city in Polk, Dallas, Warren, and Madison counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. A majority of the city is located in Polk County, a minority of the city is located in Dallas County, and small portions extend into Warren and Madison counties.
As of the 2010 census, the city population was 56,609, with the United States Census Bureau estimating a population of 67,899 in 2019. West Des Moines is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the sixth-largest city in Iowa. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008, 77th and 57th on the 100 Best Places to Live in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and 18th on the Hipster Cities of 2015.
The West Des Moines area used to be home to the Sac and Fox tribes. Near the stroke of midnight on October 11, 1845, a gunshot was fired by a cattle farmer, James Cunningham Jordan (1813–1893) to declare that the area was open for Anglo-European settlement. His residence, the Jordan House, has been restored and is now home to the West Des Moines Historical Society. The Jordan House was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and abolitionist John Brown stayed on Jordan property multiple times, at least once while escorting a group of freedom-seeking slaves to Canada. In West Des Moines' early years, the town was a trading and shipping junction. West Des Moines incorporated as the city of Valley Junction on October 9, 1893.