As population increased, they acquired a public school in 1911 and named it Byron Rice. In 1914, a local minister organized what is now known as First Federated Church. Beaverdale's growth was further stimulated by the efforts of a Catholic priest, Father Francis Ostdiek, who almost single-handedly established what is now known as Holy Trinity Church. Coal mining was tried in the early days of the area, but the coal proved to be of poor quality and the effort lasted less than ten years.
In 1917, the United States became involved in World War I, and Camp Dodge was built to train soldiers for the Army. The military required the old Fort Dodge Road to be paved all the way to the base at Herrold (near Johnston). This spurred the growth of Beaverdale. About that time, the town we now know as Urbandale decided to incorporate, taking the name Urbandale and leaving Beaverdale without a name. Undaunted, the citizens readily adopted the only name considered -- Beaverdale.
The commercial district was slower to develop. Elderly residents have memories of a grocery called "Toombs & Prunty" and a Baker Drug Store, followed by Iltis Lumber Co. in 1917. In 1921 there were four businesses operating. Thereafter merchants were quick to realize the potential for business in this area, as indicated by the fact that in 1940 there were 54 businesses in Beaverdale.
Beaverdale is blessed with wonderful parks which have contributed greatly to the growth of the area. Most of the houses in Beaverdale were built during the 1930's. The Wallace-Ashby district is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Beaverdale has only two really old houses: the Sinn house at 4109 Northwest Drive (built in 1855) and the Hickman house at 2024 - 35th Street (built in 1885). The latter is said to be of brick fired in a kiln located on the site.
The steady growth of the Beaverdale area during these 90 years proves that it has been a good place to live and carry on business.
Compiled and written by Ken Black, former chairman of the Beaverdale Neighborhood Association History Committee, and a Beaverdale resident since 1945. If you have Beaverdale history to add to this collection, please contact Bill Miller.