Arthur H. Neumann of Des Moines, the eldest son of a pioneer family, starts Arthur H. Neumann & Company. The first building the company built, Childs Hall for Dowling College, established Neumann in the Education and Training sector and still stands today.
1913 – 1919
Walter, Oscar and Harold Neumann join their brother at Arthur H. Neumann & Company, in 1913. Together they lay the foundation for excellence with structures in downtown Des Moines such as the Des Moines Municipal Courthouse and the Des Moines Register and Tribune. Significant commercial construction projects also included the First National Bank in Newton, Mary Greeley Memorial Hospital in Ames and countless other buildings throughout Iowa.
The Aulmann brothers of Eagle Iron Works reached out to the Neumann brothers of Arthur H. Neumann & Company for their industrial prowess to build them a new plant on Holcomb Avenue after their original building was destroyed in a fire. The new plant included a foundry, machine shop, pattern shop, heating plant and office building plus contained one six-ton crane and two three-ton traveling electric cranes. Eagle Iron Works has been operating out of that same building ever since.
Arthur H. Neumann & Company expanded their commercial presence in downtown Des Moines with the completion of the Equitable Building, the first skyscraper in Iowa. It is still the eighth tallest building in Iowa and remains one of the most signature fixtures in the Des Moines skyline, earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
1925 – 1929
Through hard work and diligence, Arthur H. Neumann & Company continued completing projects that left their mark on Iowa, such as the Insurance Exchange Building, Farm Bureau Building, Harding and Callanan junior high schools, as well as major structures at University of Iowa and Iowa State University (it was an honor to build the Memorial Union at Iowa State to honor students and alumni who had died during World War I).
In 1930, Arthur H. Neumann & Company finishes work on the Des Moines Building, a 14-story structure, which rises to a height of 190 feet. The building would go on to be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 and continues to stand out in the Des Moines skyline as a testament to Neumann’s dedication to excellence.
In 1932, they finished the Iowa Des Moines National Bank Building in downtown Des Moines that would eventually be added to the National Register of Historic Places list 47 years later. That same year, in 1932, the company changed its name to Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers, Inc. to underscore their commitment to excellence, family and the communities they serve.
1933 – 1939
The Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers core values and standard of excellence continue to manifest through downtown structures such as the Greyhound Bus Depot, Flynn Dairy, the Armory Building and Bankers Life. Their work in education and training was highlighted by Drake University’s Cowles Library, University of Iowa Law Commons and the Smouse Opportunity School in Des Moines which got a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
1940 – 1945
World War II sends skilled construction workers to fight overseas. In Des Moines, Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers push on to complete more infrastructure with the construction of the electric plant and the presently named Dale Maffitt Reservoir. Industrial and manufacturing sees a boom with Neumann finishing the first Firestone Tire & Rubber Company plant in Des Moines, the Armstrong Rubber Manufacturing factory, office and warehouse; and several buildings for Maytag in Newton. They also completed the Broadlawns Medical Center (150-bed, modern, acute care hospital) during the war.
1946 – 1949
Following the war, the men of Neumann’s second generation joined the company. They completed significant education and cultural projects such as Drake Fitch Hall of Pharmacy and the Des Moines Art Center (Neumann has completed additional updates to the Art Center).
1950 – 1958
Once the 50’s arrive, a new leadership era begins for the company. Brothers Gordon, Hal, Walter, Oscar and Charles continue to build on top of the foundation of excellence and complete projects that shape Iowa. In honor of our veterans, Veterans Memorial Auditorium was completed in 1955 and has served as Des Moines’ primary venue for major sporting events and concerts for over 50 years. Des Moines’ first enclosed mall, Park Fair Shopping Center, was completed in 1956. They also completed the Iowa Paint Manufacturing Company, State Automobile Insurance Association and several elementary and junior high schools.
Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers completed the Iowa-Des Moines National Bank motor bank, the first one in Des Moines. Upon the banks opening, several customers drove the wrong way through the drive-thru during the first week. One customer even confused the drive-in teller with a parking attendant and handed the teller a $1 payment instead of their bank deposit.
Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers celebrate 50 years of business in 1962. The completion of the Ingersoll and West Grand Towers in Des Moines that same year helped the Neumann brothers celebrate the half century milestone.
1963 – 1969
After over 50 years of integrity and craftsmanship, the company continued to build landmarks throughout Iowa. The remainder of the 60’s saw Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers expand their mark on downtown with the IMT Insurance Building and the American Republic Insurance Building which earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Neumann also completed the 2,664 seat Virgin M. Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus and expanded St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines.
1970 – 1972
The early 70’s saw the completion of the Continental Western Insurance building and United Parcel Service Distribution Center along with a company name change. Arthur H. Neumann Brothers shortened its name to Neumann Brothers, Inc. in 1972 which is still in use today.
1973 – 1975
Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers started on their third Des Moines skyscraper in 1973. 4,700 U.S. tons of structural steel was used in the building’s frame. At the time of its completion, in 1975, the Ruan Center was the tallest building in Iowa and was named one of the 50 Most Significant Iowa Buildings of the 20th Century by the American Institute of Architects (Iowa Chapter).
1976 – 1979
Following the completion of the Ruan Center, Neumann Brothers built an addition onto A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company making it the world’s largest soybean processing mill. Finishing out the decade, Neumann completed the Des Moines Botanical Center in 1979 (they have continued work with the Botanical Center and are making updates in 2020).
Neumann Brothers completed another significant downtown project with the 400-room Des Moines Marriott Downtown hotel in 1981. It stands at 33-stories tall and remains as Des Moines’ third-tallest building. At the time of its completion, influential local attorney Steve Zumbach described the hotel as a key component in “the rebirth of downtown.”
In 1983, Neumann Brothers began work on the first of many phases to restore the famed Iowa State Capitol. As an Iowa icon with international acclaim, the state capitol restoration requires the highest level of craftsmanship and attention to historic detail. Neumann’s work at the capitol is still ongoing today. Most recently, the dome restoration won the 2019 Preservation at its Best Award for Preservation Iowa. This epitomizes Neumann’s continued commitment to building and restoring Iowa’s heritage.
1984 – 1989
The start of the 80’s saw the third generation of the Neumann family take leadership of the company to continue Neumann’s service and commitment to excellence throughout Iowa. Projects they took on included Dial Finance/Norwest Financial, Polk County Jail, Governor Square, Clemmons Auto Building, and the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Temple. This is also when the new Neumann Brothers office was built and where the company is still housed today.
1990 - 1998
As people across the world were celebrating the end of the millennium, Neumann Brothers celebrates by adding another notable building to the Des Moines skyline. In 1996 Neumann completed the EMC Insurance Companies building and has continued to do work with EMC ever since. Expanding their commercial construction portfolio they completed the Meredith Flight Center and several additions to the Des Moines skywalk system. Furthermore, projects such as an addition to Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Urbandale High School and Sticks Gallery gave Iowans new places to gather.
In 1999, Neumann Brothers set the Sphere Within Sphere sculpture, also known as Sfera con Sfera, in the courtyard of the American Republic Insurance Building (which they built in the 1960’s). The 18,000-pound bronze sculpture was designed by Arnaldo Pomodoro and is only one of ten in the world.
2000 - 2008
Even after nearly 100 years in business, Neumann still uses its foundational values to complete projects that generate community pride. The start of the new millennium saw the expansion of the Arts, Culture and Entertainment sector in Iowa with the completion of the Iowa Speedway, the first NASCAR track in Iowa. Other notable construction projects that were completed include the Science Center of Iowa, Iowa National Guard Freedom Center, Josephs Jewelers at West Glen, EFCO Manufacturing Plant and Quality Manufacturing along with several additions to the Grinnell College campus.
2009 saw the completion of several projects such as the Iowa Orthopedic Center and Southeast Polk High School (the largest high school in Iowa at the time), however it was a notable year for Historic Restoration projects. Neumann Brothers completed the historic restoration for Lincoln Terrace, Grant Terrace, Cedar Rapids Federal Courthouse and the Maytag building which they originally built back in the 1940’s.
2010 - 2011
The start of a new decade saw the completion of multiple Iowa National Guard buildings, Earlham Savings Bank in Woodward and the Des Moines Airport Rental Car Facility. It was also the start of Neumann’s work at Blank Park Zoo which would result in 8 new and/or updated exhibits over the next few years.
In 2012, Neumann Brothers celebrates 100 years of setting and upholding the standard of excellence. They celebrate with the completion of several important projects for the state they have called home for a century. Projects include the Central Iowa Shelter & Services building, the Macaque Exhibit at Blank Park Zoo and the historic restoration at Trolley Place. Most notably the historic restoration at World Food Prize, which was completed the previous year in 2011, won the Preservation at Its Best Award for Preservation Iowa and the MBI Masters Award in 2012.
2013 - 2019
Neumann continued to expand their mark in Industrial and Manufacturing with the completion of the Kemin Worldwide Headquarters in Des Moines. They were honored to build both the Carpenters and Operators local training facilities, transition the F.W. Fitch building into Exile Brewing complete the historic restoration to the Catholic Pastoral Center. 2019 marked the successful end of a 2.5 year project at Polk County Criminal Courts – originally a jail facility that Neumann built back in the 1980’s.
With over 100 years of experience under its belt, Neumann Brothers continues to define and uphold the standard of excellence throughout Iowa with quality craftsmanship and staying true to their core values in all that they do.