Historic Auto Trails

MacVicar Freeway

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Special Route and Bridge DesignationsOfficially, the name of the Des Moines freeway is "Interstate Highway 235." However, it was designated in the 1960s as the John MacVicar Freeway by the Des Moines City Council. The plan to name the new freeway the John MacVicar Freeway was first suggested in 1958 by the Des Moines Pioneer Club, but gained little support at that time.

The two John MacVicars, father and son, were reportedly the closest thing to a political dynasty Des Moines has ever known. They held city offices at intervals over a period of more than 50 years. The elder MacVicar was mayor from 1896 to 1900, streets commissioner in 1908 to 1912, mayor again in 1916 to 1918 and public safety commissioner in 1922 to 1924.

He was elected mayor again in 1928, but died seven months later. John MacVicar, the younger, was city streets commissioner in 1932 to 1934 and 1936 to 1940, and was mayor from 1942 to 1948. He died in 1950.


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