To ‘s’ or not to ‘s’: does ANYONE know how to pronounce Des Moines, WA?

A few weeks ago, I interviewed a guy named DJ Taylor for a story I was working on.

“I live in Des Moines, Washington,” Taylor said while formally introducing himself.

I immediately noticed that he didn’t pronounce the ‘s’ at the end of Moines.

“Don’t you people pronounce it Des Moines?” I asked, emphasizing the ‘s.’ “That’s what I was told.”

“Only if they’re incorrect,” Taylor replied. “If they’re absolute philistines, then yes. It’s named after the one in Iowa, so if you are going to pronounce it correctly, you gotta pronounce it Des Moines.”

I know that the s’s are silent in Des Moines, Iowa. But when I

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