Did you ever wonder how Ankeny got its name?
The town of Ankeny is named after the founders John and Sarah Ankeny. John and Sarah moved their family to Des Moines in 1869. John was elected to the Des Moines City Council in 1872.
The narrow gauge railroad from Des Moines to Ames was the most important thing to happen in the 1870s in north central Polk County. John was a promoter and stockholder of this railroad company owned by Fred Hubbell.
The Ankenys bought land that would become Ankeny on July 1, 1874, for $1,600. Perhaps Ankenys, being a member of the Hubbell circle, had advance notice as to the routing of the rail line and with this knowledge they were able to secure land along the right-of-way. It is common historical knowledge that railroads built towns and that towns were assured of growth if rail connections were made. Sounds like the interstates today.
The town of Ankeny came into official existence on April 19, 1875, and the plat of the town was filed three days later.
The Ankenys built the first combination rooming house and hotel, first store and a house that still stands at 318 S.W. Walnut St. However, the Ankenys never lived in their new creation.
Ankeny was incorporated on Feb. 28, 1903, and as they say "the rest is history!"