In the 1989 classic Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner walks through a cornfield in Iowa and hears the whisper, “If you build it, he will come.” In response, he builds a baseball field in the middle of a corn field, drawing some unlikely visitors, just as the voice foretold. 30 years later, this whispered vision of Iowa and cornfields has more or less stuck in the cultural lexicon.
Thus, one of the most common responses when you tell someone you’re from Des Moines, Iowa, is: “Do you live in a cornfield?” The Iowa capital has long been considered one of those mid-size, Midwestern dark horse cities, where you get it if you live there, but wonder why anyone would live there if you don’t. However, this 20-minute city — meaning, you can get pretty much anywhere within a 20-minute drive — is now drawing visitors from all over the world and contributing to culture in an entirely new way.
More specifically, it’s drawing a plethora of skaters. Skateboarders are coming to the Midwest in droves, and Iowans themselves are feeling cooler than ever, because as of 2021, Des Moines is home to the largest public skatepark in the U.S., Lauridsen Skatepark. The cornfield has been replaced by a skatepark and the baseball players have been replaced by skaters, but the Iowan vision remains the same: if you build it, they will come.
Across the street from Wells Fargo Arena and across the Des Moines River from the golden state capital building, the new skatepark has shaped the geography of downtown Des Moines — as well as the community. Spanning 88,000 square feet, Lauridsen has provided a location for competitions like Dew Tour, a 2021 Olympic qualifier, and has become a hub for locals. It’s a place where hometown skateboarding crews like Subsect Kids come together and a place for seasoned skaters to connect and film videos. READ MORE