Anyone with an interest in history (or just helping out the neighborhood on a fantastic project) is encouraged to contact one of the project managers to volunteer. Whether you are available for 2 hours, 20 hours, or 200 hours we can find a place for you to contribute!

There are many volunteer tasks - see the full list below. The tasks are divided into "research" and "organization." If you have an interest in helping out, please contact volunteer project manager Steve Wilke-Shapiro.

We Want Your Help!

This online database is a living and growing project! The more information we have, the more useful this database will be to residents and historians.

If you have information about any of the buildings or historic residents of the Drake Neighborhood, there are two ways you can add it to the database:

  1. Sign up for an account to edit an existing entry, add new information, or upload scanned photos.
  2. Contact one of the Project Managers to arrange a transfer of information.

The Drake Neighborhood Historic Survey project is looking for

  • Old photos of Drake Neighborhood residents and buildings
  • Information about former Drake Neighborhood residents
  • Information about Drake Neighborhood buildings


  • Drake University-related research:
    • Researching demolished houses and relocated houses
    • Reviewing the image datasets to determine exact address, identifying lost houses, analyzing group house photos to determine addresses (historic survey images, Quax images, other images)
    • Locating Drake University original photos and copying (scanning or otherwise)
    • Researching, mapping 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960 student housing addresses
    • Researching and mapping sampled years of Drake faculty/staff housing
  • Researching demolished/relocated houses (other than those on land owned by Drake U)
  • Researching building permits (original house construction,
    conversion to multi-tenant)
  • Looking up historic newspaper photo citations and photocopying (list provided)
  • Locating Des Moines Register original photos and copying (scanning
    or otherwise)
  • Identifying individually historically significant houses/other
    buildings and spaces
  • Researching individually historically significant houses/other
    buildings and spaces (and inputting findings)
  • Neighborhood institutions/businesses/etc research:
    • Churches
    • Public schools
    • Parks
    • Businesses 1920-60 (summarizing and mapping)


  • Data entry
    • Individual house data into database
    • Inputting previous historic research
  • Assisting with online database, entering house evaluations, printing out summary reports
  • Compiling a database of historic newspaper photo citations (so we can prioritize and check off what we find)
  • Editing house/Greek house photos to determine current status, actual address
  • Printing out and analyzing Sanborn Maps
  • Working with oral history/other history contacts to gather and
    organize house specifics and other data
  • Hosting an "Abstract Party" for your neighbors to learn more about the history of your individual homes

We hope to hear from you!

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