News

Sherman Hill Association Cornhole Tournament

Big Grove is partnering with the Sherman Hill Association for a cornhole tournament! Please come out, enjoy a Sherman Hill Champagne, and play some bags to fundraise for the neighborhood association.

Proceeds from every Sherman Hill Champagne sold from Sunday, August 4 to Saturday, August 10 will be donated to the association to help build a park.

What to know —

Drink A Beer for Sherman Hill!

Help the Sherman Hill Association build a park in our neighborhood! We’re donating proceeds from every Sherman Hill Champagne poured in our taproom from August 4 – 10th to the association to help build the park.

You can also join us for a cornhole tournament on Aug 8 with the Sherman Hill Association from 6 – 8pm. 

What to know —

Doors To The Past, Walking Tour — Homes Needed!

The date is set for the annual Doors to the Past Walking Tour, and the Sherman Hill Association is seeking homes and gardens to showcase. Those interested in participating should email jacki.bergman@shermanhilldsm.org.

What to know —

  • Walking Tour Date: September 28th & 29th, 2024
  • Due Date to Submit home: June 30th, 2024
  • Participating homes will need to be open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the tour weekend. Participants are responsible for cleaning before & after the tour.
  • Safety measures taken during the tour include — volunteers at the door and inside the home, they can make any rooms/areas off-limits

Sherman Hill Night at the Iowa Cubs

The Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association is sponsoring the first Sherman Hill Night at the I-
Cubs at Principal Park
on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Game time is 6:30 p.m., and the I-Cubs will be
playing the St Paul Saints, the Minnesota Twins AAA affiliate. The I-Cubs will recognize our
group during the game.

WHAT TO KNOW:

When: Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Where: I-Cubs at Principal Park
Time: Game time 6:30
Price: $9.00 ticket
How to purchase: Pay via Venmo @Daniel-Alexander-27
Ticket Pick-up: June 20th Mickle Center @ 5:30 pm

MORE INFO:
The price of the ticket is $9.00 and is payable via Venmo to Daniel Alexander
@Daniel-Alexander-27.

Don’t have Venmo? No problem. Just contact Dan at
daniel.alexander@drake.edu to set up another way to pay. If you use Venmo, add “Sherman
Hill at the I-Cubs” or “gift” in the note field so I won’t be taxed.

Tickets, which normally cost $18, will be together in Section 9, reserved grandstand. Children
ages 3 and under do not require a ticket as long as they do not take a seat in the stadium.  The
number of tickets is limited so act quickly.

Because we need to buy the tickets a week in advance to get the discounted price, the deadline
for purchasing tickets is Monday, June 17
(although it is possible some tickets might be
available after the deadline).

Tickets can be picked up on Thursday, June 20 at the Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association
Quarterly Meeting
(June 20th, Mickle Center) beginning at 5:30 p.m. or by contacting Dan at
daniel.alexander@drake.edu.

Contact Dan if you have any questions.
Email: daniel.alexander@drake.edu

Note: Since we need to sell 20 or more tickets to get the $9 price, if not enough people sign up
for the game, we may need to cancel the event in which case your money will be refunded
promptly.

Sherman Hill Park

Bringing a park (back) to Sherman Hill

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Sherman Hill is on the verge of having its very own park again. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Sherman Hill Association, the Mickle Center, and dedicated neighborhood volunteers, we have a plan to bring a new playground to our community by 2025.

Below is how we got here and how you can be a part of this exciting project.

History: Sherman Hill’s lost park

If you’ve ever wondered why a neighborhood as great as Sherman Hill doesn’t have its own park – for 91 years, it did.

From 1904 to 1995, Sherman Hill’s Chamberlain Park occupied two acres at 19th and Ingersoll. The property was donated by the Chamberlain family, and even then it was considered a valuable piece of land, originally owned by the Ingersoll family.

The original park

According to city documents, the original park was packed with amenities. In talking with neighbors about the original park, some recalled taking their kids to the park and remembered using the wading pool.

The original park donors: Meet the Chamberlain family

The Chamberlains were a prominent family who founded Iowa’s first drug company in 1872. Siblings D. S. (Davis) Chamberlain, Lowell Chamberlain and Izanna Chamberlain were officers of the company. 

By 1900, the business was flourishing. Over the next twenty years, branch offices were opened in South Africa, Australia and Canada. Products included Chamberlain’s Cough Remedy, Chamberlain’s Liniment and Chamberlain’s Pain Balm.

From left to right: Lowell, Izanna, and D.S. Chamberlain.

The Chamberlain family’s impact on Des Moines was remarkable and is connected to many landmarks and institutions of our city.

Des Moines officially adopts the park in 1933

The park operated outside of the city’s operations for its first 20 years.

In 1933, the park was officially deeded to the city and absorbed into the city’s park system. Interestingly, this change also lifted the rule that park visitors had to be under 12 years old or accompanying a child.


But by the early 1990’s, there was concern the park was becoming run down and little used. After a few years of debate and limbo, the park was sold to developers. G&L Clothing built a store (today’s Boot Barn) and Crescent Chevrolet built a used car lot (today’s Tri-City Electric).

Today, it looks like this:

Funds from the property sale were distributed to the Sherman Hill and Woodland Heights neighborhoods. Woodland Heights built Chamberlain Park near Woodland and MLK, and some of the features are a nod to the original park.

Sherman Hill used the funds to establish their Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) fund, which helped fund the installation of historic street lights (and is helping to fund the new park).

More information on the history of Chamberlain Park can be found in this document created by the Parks Department. (Many of the historical images and information here comes from this work.)

Previous efforts to bring a park back to Sherman Hill

Since the time of the park sale, there have been numerous attempts to bring a park back to the neighborhood.

Despite many supporters, challenges always centered around funding, insurance coverage, and a site. 

A new park: Mickle Center approaches Sherman Hill Association seeking a park partnership

In the spring of 2022, the Mickle Center reached out to the Sherman Hill Association to explore a partnership to build a park. This effort was part of a larger renovation project at the Mickle Center.

With this invitation, the Sherman Hill Association launched an initiative to explore installing a park at the Mickle Center. Key milestones included:

  • Sept. 2022: Surveyed neighbors to gauge their interest and support of a neighborhood park (the results of which showed “a definite interest for a park that would be used on a regular basis.”
  • Spring 2023: Established a park committee of Sherman Hill Association Board Members (Cale Johnson and Matt Warner-Blankenship) and neighborhood volunteers (Noah Brinkmeyer and Libby Nizzi).
    • Evaluated a wide range of styles of park equipment and suppliers.
    • Created a partnership model to provide equipment, insurance, and coverage for the park on the Mickle Center property.
  • December 2023: Presented the findings and initial park plans to neighbors at Sherman Hill’s quarterly meeting to get input on equipment choices, materials, and location.
  • March 2024: Received unanimous approval from the Sherman Hill Association Board to pursue the park. The board also committed $25,000 toward the project, which is about 25% of our total fundraising goal.
  • March 2024: Received unanimous approval from the Mickle Center Board to pursue the park partnership.

Sherman Hill’s new park

Our new park will be located at the Mickle Center, on the northeast corner of their property. This location offers nice elevation, natural shade, and close proximity to a new patio space the Mickle Center team is installing.

Because this area isn’t particularly large, the Park Committee focused on playground equipment that maximized the space with multi-user pieces – things lots of kids can play on at the same time. The equipment’s muted aesthetics will also complement the historic neighborhood and the Mickle Center. As an added bonus, this equipment’s natural wood requires minimal maintenance and is very durable.

The playground will be installed by Crouch Recreation. To see their work using similar equipment, check out Lamson Woods State Park in Fairfield, Iowa.

Park funding and fundraising

In working with Crouch Recreation, we estimate needing $101,590 to purchase and install our playground equipment.

In addition to this one-time cost, we estimate ~$7,000 in annual operating costs to cover insurance and semi-annual replacement of base material (the soft stuff that helps keep users safe). The Sherman Hill Association will use SSMID funds to cover these annual expenses (similar to how the fund supports the maintenance and upkeep of historic streetlights).

Any additional funds we are able to raise will be used for park upkeep and long-term support of the park area.

Funding sourceGoalCurrent Totals
Sherman Hill Association$25,000$25,000
Donations (individual, corporate, etc.)$25,000 – $50,000$~1,000
Grants$25,000 – $50,000$0
Totals$100,000 – $125,000$~26,000
Last updated June 6, 2024

Our park project in the news

We’re grateful to these news organizations for helping us raise awareness for our project. Check out their stories to learn more about this initiative.

Considering a significant contribution? Please reach out to cale.h.johnson@gmail.com to learn about recognition opportunities.

Doors to the Past 2023

2023 Doors to the Past Tour is back — tickets available!

After three years, Sherman Hill’s “Doors to the Past” Tour is back, September 16 and 17!

Discover history in your own backyard! You’ll love this self-guided tour:

  • See inside more than a dozen historic Sherman Hill homes — including several homes featured for the first time ever.
  • Get ideas for your own home and learn restoration tips.
  • Meet owners, neighbors, historic home enthusiasts, and new friends.

Discounted, early-bird tickets available here. Get yours today!

Want to help by volunteering and earning a free ticket? Sign up here.

Volunteer at Doors to the Past Tour — earn a free ticket

Photo by HiddenDSM

We are looking for volunteers to help put on this year’s home tour!

With more than 15 stops and a lot of ticket sales, it takes a village to put on the event.

Volunteers will be assigned to one of the beautiful homes or points of interest on our tour to take tickets, direct guests, answer questions, and/or help our homeowners with other tasks. In exchange for volunteering, you will receive a free ticket to the tour. We can accommodate individuals or groups of volunteers.

Can you help? Learn about our volunteer shifts and sign up here. All volunteers earn a free ticket!