In 1965 the General Board of Open Bible Churches began to look for suitable property on which to build a new headquarters building. The previous location on the corner of 19th and Crocker Streets in Des Moines had deteriorated in esthetic value and could no longer accommodate the growing needs of the association. Many departments had to carry on their activities outside a central facility. Every time new officers were elected, officials had to move files, publicity materials, and office equipment.
By the 1966 convention a beautiful property had been found at the corner of Fleur and Bell Avenue on a hill that provided a stunning overlook to the entire city of Des Moines, standing out like a beacon by the main traffic artery leading to the airport. The convention voted to buy this fourteen-acre building site, which was ideal for both the association headquarters and facilities for Open Bible College. On July 19, 1966, a contract was signed with its owner, Mr. Butler, for the purchase of the property.
The January 1967 cover of the Message magazine displayed a full-color picture of the property. On November 30, 1971, snow was scraped away and ground broken for the new building. Scott Johnson, representing the city of Des Moines, said, “Down below you to the north lies a segment of the business strain of our society. But what you are doing up on this hill is greater than what they are doing down there. You are maintaining the spiritual and moral concepts in our world.”1
IT’S A NEW DAY!” was the theme for the 1973 convention held in Des Moines, Iowa. On a beautiful summer day, conventioneers gathered on the lawn underneath the stately oak and elm trees to officially dedicate the new headquarters office. The building, costing $335,000, had a floor space of 10,000 square feet, 5,000 on each floor. The lower floor of the building was used as mailing, production, and storage areas for the various departments. The upper floor provided offices and a conference room. The new building became a hub for conferences, meetings, seminars, and spiritual training.
Several renovations have taken place since those early days, and a studio and Historical Gallery have been added. Thankfully, these fifty years later, the building still stands as a beacon, representing Christ’s presence not only in Des Moines, but around the world.
You are welcome to visit anytime! To view a video of the office, please go to https://vimeo.com/832377611/1ac3306698?share=copy
1Robert Bryant Mitchell. Heritage and Horizons. Des Moines: Open Bible Publishers, 1982, p. 318.