Learn More About Terrace Hill, the Iowa Governor's Residence
Terrace Hill, located in Des Moines, Iowa, is the Iowa Governor’s Residence and a National Historic Landmark.
Terrace Hill’s 150-Year-Long History
Terrace Hill observed its 150th anniversary in 2019. Completed in 1869, Terrace Hill has intrigued and inspired the public since the first guests walked through its doors for the housewarming party of Arathusa and Benjamin Franklin Allen on January 29, 1869.
Terrace Hill is an architectural marvel that was built as a private home in 1869 in the developing, fast-growing community of Des Moines. Benjamin Franklin Allen and Frederick Marion Hubbell, Terrace Hill’s first two owners, were two teenagers who “went west” to a small, rugged frontier outpost called Fort Des Moines. Their lives later intertwined with one another and with the history of Terrace Hill and Iowa. Benjamin Franklin Allen built Terrace Hill, and Frederick Marion Hubbell and his descendants lived in Terrace Hill for over 70 years. The last Hubbell in residence left Terrace Hill in 1957, whereupon it remained vacant and unused, leaving its fate uncertain. In 1971, slightly over a century after its completion, the Hubbell heirs donated Terrace Hill to the state of Iowa, and the latest period in its long and colorful history began. Click here to read the full history of Terrace Hill.
Today, Terrace Hill is “Iowa’s Home”
A stunning example of Victorian Second Empire architecture, the 18,000-square foot building currently serves the dual purpose of the official governor’s residence and a National Historic Landmark. The first Iowa governor to live at Terrace Hill, Governor Robert Ray, moved in with his family in 1976. The residence currently serves as the home of Governor Kim Reynolds and First Gentleman Kevin Reynolds. Terrace Hill remains a treasured symbol of Iowa, cherished by its residents.
The first and second floors of Terrace Hill serve as a public museum and event space and recreate the lavish Victorian lifestyle of wealthy former residents Benjamin Franklin Allen and Frederick Marion Hubbell. From the brilliantly colored stained glass window, marvelous woodwork, eight acres of historic grounds, and worldly collections, Terrace Hill leaves an impression on every visitor. Terrace Hill hosts nearly ten thousand visitors each year, from buses of school children to political figures and foreign diplomats.