Adel, Iowa is a town of about 4,100 people located 26 miles west of Des Moines. It’s located in Dallas County, and not only is it the county seat, it’s also the oldest city in the county. Adel is characterized by charming brick streets, historic architecture and its location along the Raccoon River. This article will explore what it’s like to live and buy a home in Adel.
Overview of the City & Neighborhoods
Adel’s population has ticked steadily upward in recent years, growing about 13 percent since 2010.
Originally called Penoach, the city that’s known today as Adel was first incorporated in 1847. Native American artifacts discovered in the region hint at an even earlier settlement by members of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi.
In the mid-1800’s, the Des Moines Western Railroad Company built a line that ran through town and contributed to the population’s early growth. Railroad service ran until it was discontinued in 1952.
The old railroad line has since been turned into the Racoon River Valley Trail, a popular recreation trail that runs for 89 miles and connects a series of towns in the greater Des Moines area. The concrete and asphalt trail can be used for walking, jogging and biking; some residents even use it to commute to work between towns. The cost to use the trail is $2 per day.
To get a feel for the community vibe in Adel, head straight to its beautiful downtown district in the heart of town, perhaps its most well-known feature. The downtown district is rich with turn of the century history and carefully preserved buildings. The Dallas County Courthouse serves as the centerpiece, showcasing classic French Chateau architecture, while the nearby Adel Historical Museum displays artifacts from Adel’s early days. The downtown district, complete with its buildings and brick streets, are listed on the National Register Of Historic Places.
If outdoor recreation is your hobby, check out Kinnick-Feller Riverside Park on the banks of Racoon River. The 23-acre park offers a football field, walking trails, playground and gazebo. It was also where football star Nile Kinnick played football while growing up. The University of Iowa player won the Heisman Trophy in 1939 and died while serving his country during World War II, and is known as a local legend.
Island Park and Campground, Brickyard Park and Evans Park round out the community’s roster of public parks. A new Aquatic Center keeps families busy in the summer months with a pool, swimming classes, water slides and other attractions. The city is also home to a dog park, archery range and multiple public-use pavilions.
Despite its small size--the city limits cover just over three square miles--there’s no shortage of things to do in Adel. The town hosts an annual classic car show, wine festival, sweet corn festival, holiday open house, light parade and more.
Students in Adel attend school in the Adel DeSoto Minburn Community School District. As its name suggests, the district serves students in all three small towns.
The district is made up of an elementary school for grades pre-K through 2, an intermediate school serving grades 3 to 5, a middle school for 6th to 8th graders, and a high school for grades 9 through 12. Three of the four schools are located in Adel, with the exception being the intermediate school, which is located in nearby DeSoto.
Adel schools enjoy a near-perfect graduation rate, with more than 98 percent of 4-year high school students and 100 percent of 5-year high school students receiving a diploma. The district’s performance scores in both reading and math exceed state levels. 87 percent of students are proficient in math (compared to 78 percent statewide), while 86 percent are proficient in reading (versus 77 percent at the state level).
Shopping & Eating
If you’ve got an eye for vintage, head to Modville, home of “Vintage Retro Mid-Century Modern” furniture. The store sources one-of-a-kind vintage pieces from all over the area and brings in new inventory each week. Archer Home Center has all your home decor and entertainment needs covered, stocking everything from appliances and electronics to flooring and cabinets.
Dillard’s department store in nearby West Des Moines is a popular apparel, beauty and accessory shopping spot among Adel residents. Valley West Mall, with several dozen retail shops and a handful of restaurants, is about 20 minutes away by car.
When a sweet tooth strikes, Billy’s Ice Cream Store is the place to go. Whether it’s a sundae, a banana split or a good old fashioned ice cream cone you crave, you’ll find it at this classic treat shop. For lunch or dinner, highly-rated Adel options include Fiesta Mexican Restaurant for south-of-the-border dishes and Patrick’s Restaurant for comfort food favorites like barbecue ribs and chicken strips.
When it comes to crime, Adel ranks lower than the national averages for property and violent crime. Its property crime rate is 2,024 per 100,000 people (about 14 percent lower than the national average), while its violent crime rate is 318 per 100,000 people (about 17 percent lower than the national average).
The majority of people in Adel, Iowa commute by car, and the average length of their ride is just under 20 minutes. The drive into downtown Des Moines takes about half an hour, while the commute to nearby communities like Waukee and West Des Moines is shorter at about 9 minutes and 22 minutes, respectively.
According to Sperling’s Best Places cost of living index, it costs slightly more to live in Adel than the average community in America. The Adel cost of living index is 107.1; 100 is the break-even point for the national average.
Housing is the biggest factor accounting for the cost of living difference. The median home price in Adel is $231,000, compared to $216,200 nationally and $137,600 at the state level.
Salaries, on the other hand, are slightly higher among Adel residents; the median income is about $58,300, about 3 percent higher than the national median income.