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Wayne Robbins Barn

Urbandale History

Urbandale was incorporated as a community in 1917. Records of these early days are few. Two Urbandale residents published their personal accounts of life in the community.  Les Hamilton came to Urbandale in the 1940s.  His wife Elizabeth had lived here since 1920. Les started the first newspaper URBANEWS in 1954.  He was also one of the organizers of the Chamber of Commerce and the first chairman of the library board, a township trustee, realtor and active in local politics.  He decided to compile a small book of recollections by the time Urbandale celebrated it's 50th year.  Les wrote, “The beginning plan was to select a few organizations, a few leading community families through the years, a few events, then to tie them to the present context.  Our interest was not so much the accurate fixing of times and an event, as it was that of tracing the development and human side of our young city.”  AROUND HOME, URBANDALE was printed in 1967.  Mae and Howard Nelson came to Urbandale in 1953.  Mae enjoyed history and people in the community.  She compiled a collection of things she learned, and her experiences, and included some drawings in a small book LISTENING AND LEARNING – URBANDALE.  It was printed in the 1970s.  As a result, neither of these accounts is all inclusive.  Both of these are in the collection of printed materials at the Olmsted-Urban House, or can be checked out from the Urbandale library.

Madeline Kaloides, President of the Urbandale Historical Society from 1988-2001, prepared a brochure for Urbandale’s 75th anniversary in 1992.  Copies of this brochure ‘URBANDALE – A BRIEF HISTORY’ are available for free distribution from the Urbandale Historical Society.

Articles of historical interest from past issues of the Society newsletters include: Founding of Urbandale, Urbandale Development, History of Streetcars in Urbandale, Urbandale Lions Club Park and Shelter House, History of the Library in Urbandale, and History of the Police Department. This historical information will help you learn more about the community.


For personal recollections of life in Urbandale go to Pictures and Videos to see interviews with some Urbandale residents covering a variety of Topics.


View a sample of the Historical Information and depiction of streetcars that is located at Trolley Park, 70th and Roseland.

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