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city and suburb of Des Moines (which lies immediately to the east), Polk county, central Iowa, U.S. The area was settled in the 1840s and became an important rail junction in the 1850s called Valley Junction. James Cunningham Jordan, the town's first settler, operated a station on the Underground Railroad assisting fugitive slaves; his Victorian-style house (c. 1850) is preserved and is open for tours. The city was renamed in 1938, after which its economy began to diversify.