Ankeny Fun Facts

September 2018


Did You Know?.........


John Fletcher Ankeny was the founder of Ankeny.


John F. Ankeny bought the land that would become Ankeny on July 1, 1874 for $1,600 (about $50,00 in 2018 money). It was nearly one full year before he platted the town of Ankeny.


The town of Ankeny came into official existence on April 19, 1875 and the plat of the town was filed three days later.


The original plat of Ankeny’s eleven blocks was divided into 71 lots. This was the area from First Street on the north, the east side of Maple on the west, Fifth Street on the south and the west side of Walnut on the east. The balance of the 80 acres was divided into five Out Lots of various sizes.


John F. Ankeny and his wife never lived in Ankeny, but resided in Des Moines.


John F. Ankeny passed away in 1886 and Mrs. Ankeny then liquidated her holdings in Ankeny.


The most crucial development in the northern areas of Polk County to the founding of Ankeny was the completion in 1874 of the narrow gauge railroad. This little railroad ran between Des Moines and Ames. The road was known as the Des Moines and Minneapolis, and was primarily the work of the Frederick Hubbell interests in Des Moines that financed the construction. The town of Ankeny was founded on the railroad by one of the railroad promoters.The Des Moines and Minneapolis railway fell on hard times and the company was not able to meet its obligations and went into receivership in 1876. Chicago & Northwestern bought the property in 1878.


The first passenger train rolled through Ankeny on the 11th of July, 1880. The fare from Ankeny to Des Moines was thirty-three cents (about $9.00 in 2018 money)


The First United Methodist Church was the first to establish a place of worship in Ankeny in 1881. Their first place of worship was at 315 Walnut Street. They then moved to the present site on the corner of Second and Walnut Streets in 1886.


The First Congregational Church, now known as, United Church of Christ, was dedicated on December 27, 1898, on the northwest corner of Second and Cherry Streets.


The first Ankeny Post Office was located in the General Merchandise Store and B.A. Lamason was the first postmaster in 1878. In 1898, the post office was in the H.E. Wagner General Store. In 1902, the post office was moved to Railroad Avenue around the corner from the Bank of Ankeny. A sub station was also established in the Woods Lumber Company.


Ankeny Fun Facts taken from facts listed in “Ankeny: The First One Hundred Years,” published in 1975.

Ankeny Area Historical Society

Bringing The Past To Life

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Physical Location: 301 SW Third Street, Ankeny, Iowa 50023

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1111, Ankeny, Iowa 50021 

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