Get to Know: Earlham 

Tucked into the northwest corner of the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region, the town of Earlham is flourishing with historic charm, investment in amenities and a priority placed on community. Numerous events and groups provide opportunities to get connected. Earlham’s recreational spaces, like the recently renovated swimming pool and nearby Pammel State Park and Kuehn Conservation Area offer fun and exploration. 

Madison County bridge

Earlham at a Glance: 

  • Population: 1,343 (2021, US Census Bureau) 
  • Location within Greater Des Moines: West 
  • Type of Community: Small Town 
  • School District: Earlham Community Schools 
  • County: Madison 

Earlham in one sentence: Earlham is a historic, small-town community thriving in a rural landscape 30 miles west of Des Moines.  

The best things about Earlham: The Old School House Museum and The Hocket House are historical buildings that tell the story of early Earlham and are open to the public. Earlham has an excellent school system and a new, state-of-the-art track. Bricker-Price Block, a nonprofit community event venue in Earlham, brings unique events to the area and provides youth and senior programming for the community.  

Hidden Gems and Unexpected Finds in Earlham: Kuehn Conservation Area is five miles north of Earlham and includes a wildlife refuge, public hunting area and bow hunting-only area. There are two primitive camping areas here surrounded by trails and the Bear Creek Education Center.   

Community Traditions and Annual Events: Throughout the summer, stop by Earlham City Park to enjoy live music, food and entertainment during the Levitt Amp Music Series. In July, Earlham Freedom Fest celebrates Independence Day with a parade, fireworks and contests.  

Best Ways to Get Connected: Get involved with community organizations like Chicks with Checks, Earlham PIE (Partners in Educaton) and the Greater Madison County Community Foundation. Check out community programming like concerts and trivia night presented by Bricker Price Block.  

Big Things on the Horizon for Earlham: The city of Earlham is continuing to look at developing its housing offerings, recreational amenities and business district, and in 2022 was awarded a grant for renovations to its swimming pool. 

If you’re coming to check out the community, be sure to spend your day ... : exploring shops along Chesnut Avenue, stopping at Beans and Beignets Coffee & Café for New Orleans-style pastries with dipping sauce included! The coffee is delicious, too, thanks to Pammel Park Coffee Co. beans ground fresh. Round out your day with stops at the Hockett House Museum and the Old School House Museum or by taking a drive through rural Madison County to enjoy the scenery. Head north and stop at Kuehn Conservation Area or swing south to Pammel State Park.