the neighorhood of Sherman Hill, Des Moines, Iowa
Photo: John Hallstron
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Sherman Hill, Des Moines, Iowa

The Neighborhood
"A local resident once said, 'You will know our revitalization efforts were successful when families start moving back into the neighborhood,' " says Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association president Donna Hallstrom. That day has arrived, with young families and couples making their way from the 'burbs into this historic neighborhood in recent years. Despite its comprising only 210 buildings, this urban enclave is packed with amenities, including the historic Hoyt Sherman Place, a meetinghouse with an art gallery and performing arts center. Sherman Hill has its own 185-student, pre-K through fifth grade elementary school; older kids commute to schools around the city.

In the Flood Zone
While many areas of Des Moines have experienced intense flooding in recent weeks, Sherman Hill, which is on high ground, was unaffected.

The Houses
Queen Annes, Italianates, and other Victorian-era homes dating from the 1870s through the turn of the last century dominate. Foursquare and Craftsman styles can be found, too. Some homes appear on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Prices
Smaller unrenovated houses go for as little as $50,000, while a restored Victorian can cost up to $350,000.

Why Buy Now?
Prices are low, and there are incentives to invest. The Neighborhood Finance Corporation, a local nonprofit mortgage broker, provides assistance for purchasing and improving historic homes, and the state's Historic Resource Development Program also provides grants.

Among the best for:
Bargains, City Slickers, Families with Kids, Queen Annes, Midwest
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