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On February 28, 1903, Ankeny was incorporated as a town, with a total incorporated area of one square mile. Seven years after its incorporation, the United States census indicated a population of 445 persons.

Ankeny 1900sTelephone service quickly followed incorporation and electricity was made available for the first time in 1907. Extensive electrical service was not generally available to residents until 1919, when the Central Light and Power Company were granted a franchise to operate a power plant in Ankeny.

In 1907 Ankeny’s first fire department was organized on a volunteer basis. The total firefighting equipment at the time consisted of three ladders and 24 galvanized pails.

Between 1932 and 1940, Ankeny experienced four major fires that almost destroyed the uptown business area. Most of the businesses rebuilt. By 1942, the federal government had established an ordnance plant for the manufacture of ammunition on the site now occupied by the John Deere Des Moines Works and surrounding area.

Ankeny population experienced a rapid increase that continued after John Deere purchased the plant in October 1947. Production of corn pickers began in February 1948, with 570 employees. Production later included harvesting equipment for corn, cotton, sugar beets and potatoes, along with grain dryers and various self-propelled crop sprayers.

By 1950 the town had grown to 1,229 citizens and by 1958, the first home mail delivery began. Ankeny was officially declared a city in 1961 and the number of residents living in Ankeny was 2,964, more than double the 1950 total. A special census taken in 2005, showed Ankeny's population at 36,161 and land size 26.45 square miles.

If you would like to learn more about Ankeny’s history, please visit the Ankeny Historical Society online at

Last updated: 2/10/2010 4:53:44 PM