The Historic Pella Trust, established in 1994, is a non-profit preservation group who helps to preserve Pella’s architectural resources so that future generations will continue to be enriched by the historic legacy of Pella’s Dutch heritage and culture. We serve in a counseling and advisory capacity regarding historically correct architecture and disseminate information regarding restoration and reconstruction of facilities.

Our Mission Statement is to protect and promote buildings, landscapes, and sites important to the heritage of Pella, Iowa.

Our office is located in the oldest building in Pella, Iowa, The Thomas Tuttle Cabin was built in 1843. It is the homestead that included the center of town and was purchased by the Dutch leader, H.P. Scholte.  Tours can be arranged by email but limited do to Covid 19. Beside Tuttle Cabin you will find Tuttle Learning Walk that leads to Sunken Garden Park. 

The Trust interacts to rescue historically significant property in danger of demolition. Restoration of these properties and protection covenants are arranged by our organization.  We take an active approach towards historic preservation advocacy working with local, state and national government agencies to document and preserve.

Protect & Promote our Heritage

Historic Pella Trust celebrated their 25th Anniversary in October 2019

Contact Information

Historic Pella Trust, Inc.

Phone :641-780-9818

Email: office@historicpellatrust.org

Tuttle Log House address: 608 Lincoln Street

Mailing address: PO Box 1, Pella, Iowa 50219

Planning a visit? Please Email Historic Pella Trust  

Preserve Pella Newsletter Archives

Ribbon Cutting Celebration for the Collegiate Historic District being place on the National Register of Historic Places 2018

New: Donate Online!

In the News and Events

HELP SAVE PELLA COMMUNITY CENTER, YOUR VOICE COUNTS! 

Read blog about our concerns for Pella’s Historic Community Center by clicking on this link. 

Thank you for helping to build Tuttle Learning Walkway!

We are excited to introduce the Tuttle Learning Walkway in partnership with the City of Pella!

This educational walkway is located between Tuttle Cabin and Sunken Garden Park. It creates an entertaining way for our children, adults and visitors to learn about Pella’s history and heritage through signage and plantings.
The educational signs along the path will create a lasting tribute to the devoutness; courage and industriousness of our Dutch ancestors. 

  Historic Pella Trust  provided 100% of the cost to build the Tuttle Learning Walk. 

Tuttle Learning Walk Dedication and Gifting to the City of Pella, September 25, 221

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Recently, the Historic Pella Trust has had multiple inquiries into the status of the 1914 Waechter home, formerly located at 300 Broadway Street on the Central College campus. As background, the home was constructed by second-generation businessman Adolphus Waechter, whose lumberyard, Waechter Lumber Company, was located directly east across the alley from the home.Central College acquired the home in 1989 and used it as supplemental student housing, and later as storage. In 2018 the college decided they no longer had use for the home. The college generously offered $10,000 to whomever would move the building. Mikol Sesker, who owns a 20-acre lot seven miles south of Knoxville, was the eventual purchaser. Arrangements to have the home moved were completed and in October 2018 the home made the journey to its new location. In order to move it, the entire roof and the sides of the wrap-around porch had to be removed. Each rafter and roof board was numbered so that they could be replaced in their original place.The next year, the home was placed on its new foundation and the roof and side porch were reattached. Last year, a hand-bent copper roof was placed. Work on the interior has continued apace: plaster repairs are ongoing, the wiring has been replaced, and the heating system - using 90% of the original components, should be up and running yet this fall. A new septic system has been added and plumbing work on the copper and cast iron water plumbing system is continuing. Completion of hand-painting the exterior via brush was accomplished this fall. The windows have been stripped and reglazed, repainted and the double-hung counterweights rehung using new rope.The home is progressing very nicely, thanks to Mikol. Although no longer in Pella, the home has a wonderful new owner and location on which to spend many additional decades. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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Pella Books is located in the Historic Soul Sleepers church, located in the 800 block of Franklin across from the Pella Post Office. Plenty of parking available! Plan to stay awhile, because there are many very interesting books. This building is owned by Historic Pella Trust. ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
Historic Pella Trust appreciates your membership renewals and partnership contributions. Please renew soon for 2022! Our mailing address is HPT Box 1, Pella, Iowa 50219Website renewal; we have a convenient and secure donation link online at historicpellatrust.org/membership-and-donations/ Annual Meeting reminder is 6:30, November 18th, Central College Graham Hall. The photo is of the Architectural Significance award that we give to “landmark” buildings in Pella. The winners of this award receive this engraved “Historic Pella Landmark” plaque. If joining or renewing your Historic Pella Trust membership through Facebook, please message us your contact information, email and the amount so we can add you to our mailing list. ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
Our 2021 Annual Meeting is this Thursday, November 18th. The program starts at 6:30 pm at Central College Graham Hall, 812 University Street, Pella, Iowa. Everyone interested in history and preservation is encouraged to be our guest for the evening. No tickets are needed or charge for attendance. Come see who we will recognize this year! In 2001, the Historic Pella Trust began giving out two categories of awards, Historic Preservation and Architectural Significance. The Architectural Significance award is given to “landmark” buildings in Pella. These winners receive a bronze “Historic Pella Landmark” plaque. You may have seen one of the 77 Architectural Significance awards on special homes or places around Pella. The other category of award is Historic Preservation. This certificate recognizes those who have displayed outstanding, exemplary renovation or maintenance of their properties. To date, 66 Historic Preservation awards have been presented. ... See MoreSee Less
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3 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
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4 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
You may have observed this rather incongruous pair of brick gate posts that stand guard at 1219 Main Street, just south of the intersection with Monroe street. This gate is the only remnant of what was once called “the showcase of Pella”, also known as the John Gaass home.John D. Gaass was a local businessman who owned a general store on Franklin Street, and later was an original investor and secretary of the Pella Overall Factory, of which he also served as a traveling salesman for many years. John and his wife, Artie, started construction of this 13-room home in May 1897, and moved in that November. The home was designed by famed eastern architect George F. Barber.The first floor featured seven rooms: a large reception room, parlor/sitting room, living room, two dining rooms, a bed room, a large pantry and kitchen. Upstairs was a library, bedrooms for the couples' six children, and servants rooms. The home also featured two “bath” rooms, although the home was built before indoor plumbing was available in Pella. The basement featured a large kitchen and laundry, with a small elevator that reached from “basement to garret”.The property was located on five acres and featured eight species of trees, five species of shrubs, and had a large, ornate carriage house out back.The home was located just one block from Pella’s first electric plant and as such had access to electricity. In 1901 Gaass added a private water system, which provided water for drinking, bathing, and a couple of fountains on the large lawn. Water was provided via a well and large windmill in the back yard. In 1911 the home was connected to the city’s new sanitary sewer system.Artie Gaass passed away in 1908 at the age of 56. John continued traveling for the Pella Overall Factory until his health declined in 1924. In his last few years, he was cared for by his daughter Marie and her husband Paul Scholte. Scholte was a grandson of Pella founder Henry Scholte. One of John and Artie’s twins daughters, Lucille, married Pete Kuyper, who became owner of the Rolscreen Company, known today as Pella Corp.John passed away in his home on May 17, 1927. Marie and Paul Scholte lived in the home for a couple of years while settling John’s estate. On June 1, 1929 the home and its furnishings were sold at an estate sale. William Den Hartog purchased the property for $4,200. He then sold the south 50 feet of the lot to the homeowner next door, and the remaining lot was sold to local veterinarian Dr. Will Verploeg, who constructed the home that currently stands on the site.The John Gaass home, only 32 years old, was torn down in the fall of 1929, and Den Hartog used part of the lumber to construct a house on his farm west of Pella, and the remaining lumber he sold at auction.Today, the only tangible reminder of the once graceful and elaborate “showcase of Pella” is this set of gate posts and their original gate. What a showcase it was! -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
Today’s topic is the Dutch Mill Motel. It was constructed in 1955 by Marian and Janet Van Gorp, and entertained its first guests on August 2. The motel is located on Highway 163 at 205 Oskaloosa Street, conveniently located for travelers. At that time the municipal swimming pool was directly north across the street, as was the community softball field.For decades, prior to the opening of the Dutch Mill Motel, the downtown Pella Hotel was the only location in town for travelers to rent a room. From the very first, the Motel Dutch Mill featured a large neon sign. The distinctive sign was definitely a south Pella landmark.The motel opened with seven units. Photographs show two additional units were soon added, and in 1959 the Van Gorps added an antique and Dutch souvenir shop in a house trailer just west of the motel. The Van Gorps also opened Pella’s first mobile home court directly south of the motel.In 1964 the Van Gorps retired and sold the motel to Dick and Anna De Weerd. Over the years the motel was enlarged several times. An office and long-term apartment was added on the west end, and eventually a second story was added, which increased the motel’s capacity to 24 rooms.In 1990, the city instituted a sign ordinance that limited the maximum size of signs and also outlawed the use of neon on signs. As such, the motel's sign was required to be removed and replacecd.The motel has gone through several owners over the years, and the motel was again sold in October. A Google search returns the note that the motel is now “Permanently closed”. If this is accurate, it marks the end of 66 years of service by Pella’s first motel. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
Clarifying Misconceptions about the Pella Community CenterAnd the Proposed Heart of Pella Renovations The Friends of the Pella Community Center incorporated as a non-profit in 2018, to partner with the City to preserve, repair, and enhance Pella’s historic High School, now the Community Center. The Friends’ Heart of Pella project would create an expanded, upgraded Community Center making it ADA accessible and a more beautifully appointed facility that keeps our local theatre and art center, reopens the heritage gymnasium, and adds much needed programming space. Located in the heart of town, all of this is within walking distance of senior living, entertainment, restaurants, shopping and Central College. We wish to clarify some misconceptions you may have heard about the Community Center and the project. 1. “The Community Center no longer meets the needs of the community.” IN FACT: A community center is defined as a place where members of a community gather for group activities, social support, public information, educational activities, recreational activities, cultural activities, and other purposes. Since its inception more than 40 years ago, Pella’s Community Center has adapted and expanded successfully to serve these goals. 2. “No one uses the Community Center.” IN FACT: In fiscal year 2019, the last year that complete pre-COVID numbers were available, the facility was used over 33,000 times for essential services and cultural programs. 3. “The building needs too many repairs; it would be better to invest in a new center.” IN FACT: New construction typically has a life span of 50-75 years. Structures built 100 years ago were built to last. With repair and proper maintenance, the Pella Community Center will last another 100 years. 4. “The project will cost the City of Pella $15 million dollars.” IN FACT: Our goal is for the City to complete long overdue maintenance and renovate the full building as proposed in the City’s 2019 SEH facilities assessment at an estimated cost of $10 million dollars. The Friends of the Community Center would raise $5 million or more for a new addition which would increase the facility to 53,000 square feet, expanding the available space and services in the Community Center, and providing full accessibility to all floors, including the heritage gym. 5. “The Community Center is filled with asbestos.” IN FACT: According to a 2014 Shive-Hattery study commissioned by the City, the asbestos is largely in the floor tiles, kitchen and art storage flooring, and pipe and tank insulation. The study estimated abatement would cost $75,000. Later testing also found asbestos in the glue used to attach the gym ceiling tiles. 6. “The Community Center gym won’t meet the City’s needs.” IN FACT: Clearly the heritage gym isn’t adequate to meet all the City’s demands for public gym space and the Friends group supports the concept of an additional Pella Recreational Center. However, the heritage gym can supplement any new Recreational Center and provide a more intimate space for families, home school programs, and special activities. The heritage gym was heavily used until ceiling tiles began to come loose in 2018, causing a hazard. The Friends group wants to raise $150,000 to reopen it. 7. “The Art Center is a ‘horror’ and is too small.” IN FACT: The Art Center staff has created a bright, cheery, and much beloved space. With renovation the Art Center can expand and provide a larger and safer space, with improved storage and better access for all Pella residents. 8. “There is little support to improve and enhance the Community Center.” IN FACT: The consulting firm Renaissance Group prepared a feasibility study projecting that the Friends group could raise 4-5 million dollars from individuals and corporations for their Heart of Pella project, bringing the Community Center up to 21st century amenities with accessibility for everyone. 9. “The building is old, a wreck, and the foundation is crumbling.” IN FACT: In over 100 years, the foundation hasn’t budged and according to structural studies from Shive-Hattery, Short Elliot Henderson, and Schemmer & Associates, it is as “sturdy as the day it was built”. Because of its unique architecture and history, the facility has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This old High School nurtured some of Pella's greatest inventors, activists, educators, politicians, artists, athletes, and scientists. It truly is a Treasure from our Past and a Resource for our Future at the Heart of Pella! Please encourage your elected City officials to move this project forward! Sponsored by the Friends of the Pella Community Center ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
Today marks the last worship service to be held at Pella’s Cornerstone Church, located at 609 E. 1st Street. For much of its existence the congregation was known as the Second Christian Reformed Church. This iconic church edifice is the last remaining building in Pella with the "traditional" church architectural style. For decades, many of Pella’s major churches utilized a similar design, featuring large twin-towered parapets flanking a central worship area.Next month the city of Pella will take over possession of the building. Historically speaking, a worst-case scenario would be the demolition of this historic building. While there has been discussion by city officials on the disposition of the church and the remainder of the block, no final decisions have yet been announced.The Second Christian Reformed Church was formed in August 1897. The new congregation purchased the existing church building of the former First Presbyterian church on Union Street. This building was located on the same block as the current church, facing south on the east side of the alley. Second Christian Reformed was organized with 22 families with a total of 109 individuals.In 1925 the original church building had become too crowded and construction of the current building began. Until the new church was finished, the congregation worshiped in the Pella High School auditorium (today’s Pella Community Center), conveniently located just one block west. The new building was dedicated in April 1926. Total cost was $23,000.In 1960, the distinctive front entryway enclosure was added. In 1996, the entire building was tuck-pointed and the parapets rebuilt. Interestingly, the cost of these updates was exactly twice the cost of the original building - $46,000.After this week, the church congregation will be relocating to a brand-new facility, located at 1020 East Oskaloosa Street. As it does, another era of Pella’s fascinating history will come to a close. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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