Des Moines, Iowa's State Capital, is located in Polk County and it is the county seat. It lies along Interstate 80 on the banks of the Des Moines River, near Saylorville Lake and Red Rock recreation areas.
Fort Des Moines was erected on the site in 1843. As Native Americans left the surrounding country, new settlers came to the post. Four years later, the settlement was made the State Capital.
Des Moines, population 198,682 (2000 Census), experiences an average winter temperature of 21.3 degrees; the summer average is 71.9 degrees. The average annual rainfall is 32.1 inches and the snowfall is 31.6 inches. Downtown is connected by 2.8 miles of skywalk. Des Moines' top three employers are The Principal Financial Group, State of Iowa and Central Iowa Health System.
Attractions include the Fort Des Moines Museum, site of the first Women's Auxiliary Corps and the first black officers training center; and the 1886 State Capitol, containing numerous displays.