Urbandale was incorporated as a city on April 16, 1917. In its early days, Urbandale served as a streetcar suburb of Des Moines with four coal mines. Urbandale served as the end of the "Urbandale Line" after plans to build a railroad from Des Moines to Woodward were abandoned because of right-of-way issues. The coal mines had closed by the end of the 1940s while streetcar service ended in 1951.In 1920, shortly after the city incorporated, Urbandale had 298 people. Its population in 1950 was 1,777, but the city grew rapidly after that along with the rest of Des Moines' suburbs. By 1970 Urbandale had 14,434 people, and in 2000 it had 29,072. Although most of the city's developed area is in Polk County, Urbandale has expanded westward into Dallas County in recent years.In 2012, Urbandale gained national attention after President Barack Obama held a reelection campaign rally downtown.