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view of hoyt sherman place and front lawn

Hoyt Sherman Place Lawn Dedication Ceremony

Hoyt Sherman Place will celebrate the completion of its Lawn Enhancement Project on October 17, 2023.

The Ceremony will begin at 5:00 pm with musical entertainment followed by brief remarks at 5:30 pm.

The plaza design incorporates elements of the original 1910 plan for lawn enhancement created by Charles Mulford Robinson, who was commissioned by the Des Moines Women’s Club soon after they leased the property from the City of Des Moines as their Clubhouse. A subsequent plan in 1926 created by Etta Bardwell, University of Iowa’s first female landscape architect, added additional landscaping and was also commissioned by Des Moines Women’s Club when the theater addition was completed. Nearly 113 years later, those plans are being brought to life.

The updated designs received unanimous approvals from the State Historic Preservation Office, the City of Des Moines Historic Preservation Commission, and the Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation’s Building & Grounds Committee.

The design features a circular stage area with a formal staircase that connects the plaza to the sidewalk with brick pillars, that match Hoyt Sherman Place’s exterior. The plaza is intended to host outdoor music, such as the annual Jazz in July series as well as other community and neighborhood events such as movie nights and Halloween on the Hill.

New contouring makes the Hoyt Sherman Place lawn, previously considered challenging for general use and special events due to the slope of the hill, more accessible. Improvements to existing sidewalks, new steps, and minor grading increases ADA accessibility by providing an enhanced route with wider walkways from the east parking lot to the lawn.

Major donors to the project were EMC Insurance Companies, Bradford W. Harvey Estate, Polk County Board of Supervisors, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Kemin Industries, Reba A. and Leon G. Benschoter Charitable Fund, and more than 60 individual donors. To learn more or to make a gift in support of the project click here or contact Anna Cramer at 515-348-6949.

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