Located in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood and named after a noble philanthropist and statesman, Hoyt Sherman Place was completed as the Sherman family residence in 1877. Sixteen years after it was built, Sherman rented his home to the Sisters of Mercy, who operated a 52-bed hospital out of the building for two years.
Shortly after Sherman’s death in 1904, the city took possession of the property and agreed to rent the building to the Des Moines Women’s Club for $1 per year. The Des Moines Women’s Club took over the space as their clubhouse and added an art gallery, which became the first public gallery in Des Moines.
The Club later added the 1,400-seat theater to accommodate special events and speakers, including such influential figures as Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller and Grant Wood. To this day, the Des Moines Women’s Club still calls Hoyt Sherman Place home, and the facility serves as an elegant performing arts and events venue with an impressive art gallery.
Recently a painting was discovered by Hoyt Sherman Place Executive Director Robert Warren. Warren went searching in the building’s attic for Civil War-era flags and ended up finding acclaimed Dutch painter Otto van Veen’s “Apollo and Venus,” dating back to the 16th century. The art’s value was later estimated between $4 million and $11 million based on previous auctions of van Veen’s works.
Self-guided tours of Hoyt Sherman Place are available Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
1501 Woodland Avenue, Des Moines