In 1850, Hoyt Sherman purchased five acres of land for $105. The mansion was built in 1877 and widely considered to be a “society showplace on the grandest scale.” It served as a home for Hoyt, his wife Sara Moulton, and their five children. Among its distinguished guests in history were General Sherman, General Grant, General Sheridan, and Major McKinley. When he died in 1904, Sherman’s estate transferred to his heirs. They later gifted the entire estate to the city of Des Moines with the caveat that it forever be called Hoyt Sherman Place.
In 2021, the mansion’s second floor was restored, including Hoyt and Sara’s bedroom and a room dedicated to the memory of their daughter, Helen Sherman Griffith. The rooms include period-appropriate lighting fixtures, original paint colors, flooring and décor. Many of the pieces were donated by generous supporters who are interested in the history and preservation of Hoyt Sherman Place.
In addition to the second floor restoration, a mobility-impaired lift has been added to allow all visitors access to the second floor. A Research and Archive Library was also created to view special documents.
The mansion is such a central part of the neighborhood that the surrounding district of Victorian homes is called Sherman Hill. Today, Hoyt Sherman Place is listed on The National Register of Historic Places, a designation given to significant buildings in American history deemed worthy of preservation.
TAKE A TOUR
Hoyt Sherman Place offers tours of the mansion, art gallery, and theater for school groups, Scout groups, and the general public.