Iowa’s First Shopping Center
The Roosevelt Cultural District (RCD) is a certified historic district comprised of 29 businesses with the Des Moines Community Playhouse as the cultural hub. Built in 1933, the Roosevelt Shopping Center was the first true shopping center in the state. Originally built to house businesses such as a drug store, dance academy, doctor’s office, beauty parlor, bakery, and florist, the one square mile area has grown and thrived into a cultural landmark that reminds visitors of Des Moines at its finest. The RCD became a state certified historic district and obtained their 501c3 status in 2005.
Along with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, Hubbell Elementary School and Theodore Roosevelt High School, each with strong fine arts programs, round out the educational side of the district. Within the historic boundaries, a residential apartment building and three private homes add to the community. Between the business district, the school campuses, and the neighborhoods, the district is pedestrian-friendly and perfect for community gathering and cultural events. Prior flagship events like Jazz in July/Festival Week and Art Stop have drawn crowds from all over the city to enjoy live music, art, and local vendors to the cultural district.
Beyond the special events, Roosevelt Cultural District has developed a Streetscape project to be implemented over a period of years with streetscape plantings and changes in the roadway to beautify the area and to make it safer for pedestrians. To learn more about the Streetscape Project or to make a donation, click here.