860 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway (Cottage), Des Moines, Polk County, IA
Significance: Constructed in 1891 and located near the Sherman Historic District, the architecture of this cottage is significant because it calls attention to a vernacular design influenced by Queen Anne taste. The employment of a cross gable roof configuration and facade window with its large pane and diamond design point to these influences, while the basic el-shape of this cottage illustrates one type of affordable housing being constructed in Des Moines during the boom years of the early 1890s. The cottage is also significant because it calls attention to laissez faire town building practices, exercised in Des Moines during the Victorian era. Situated on portions of three different town lots, this configuration attempted to rectify problems inherent in the original irregularity of the plat. Finally, this cottage is significant because its modest architecture shows how land use affected the quality of town lot improvements. In this instance, the presence of a nearby cemetery depressed the improvement of lots on its fringes, while lots located in neighboring Sherman Hill were more extensively upbuilt.
Survey number: HABS IA-190