Our Story

historical aerial view of the foundry at valley junction
These walls

According to Roger G. Reed of the National Register of Historic Places, our property is “the last remnant of the historically important Rock Island railroad marshaling yards and service and repair facilities.” Built in 1899 by the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company, this building also served as the operations facility for the Wakonska Foundry Co from 1940 - 1965.

The building, owned by the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company, was dismantled in Stuart, Iowa and reassembled in Des Moines in 1899. Known as the “Rock Island Car Barn,” the building served as a maintenance shop for railroad cars in the rapidly expanding Valley Junction area.

Given the historical significance of the building the founders knew this wasn't going to be "just another retail building." In the end, they decided to let the walls speak for themselves.

Once inside, you'll see the subtle references to its rail-industrial past, as well a nod to the maker workforce who once toiled these same floors. The goal of The Foundry has always been to create a space where things are made and people come together. We hope this place becomes a destination for all of Des Moines to enjoy.