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

If you click on the on the page link above, we have also posted the annual meeting as 4 videos. This links you to Current Projects: Annual Meeting and Heritage Celebration.

On this page, we separated the long  video program into 4 shorter topic videos; the business meeting, the Tuttle Learning Walk; The Strawtown Cottage; The Rock House. 

Historic Pella Trust’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting is featured completely on the 52 Minute video below.

Thank you for watching our program and business review! 

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 Information Page

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The Historic Pella Trust's mission statement: To protect and promote buildings, landscapes, and sites important to the heritage of Pella, Iowa.This week’s feature is the Tulip Tower, or "Tulp Toren” (which is the Dutch spelling) as it was originally called. Many people know that the current tower is a replica of an earlier tower. However, a little additional history behind the tower might prove interesting.The original Tulp Toren was constructed in 1940. It stood 70 feet tall and was constructed largely of wood. It stood closer to the west side of the square, facing southwest, looking towards the post office (see aerial photo below).Pella's first Tulip Time festival was held in 1935 and the one-day program was held downtown. Starting in 1936 a stage in West Market Park was used for many of the festivities, including Tulip Time operettas and the crowning of the Tulip Time Queen. The stage and surrounding area was dubbed the Tulip Bowl.In 1940 the front page headline of the Pella Chronicle newspaper read: “Plan Different Entertainment for Tulip Festival” - “More Entertainment for Visitors With Less Work” - “Propose Platform and Towers in Central Park to Keep People in the Downtown Area”. The article started out by saying: “Revolutionary changes were proposed to the men and women of the Tulip Time committee by the Historical Society at a dinner tendered by P. H. Kuyper [Pete will reappear in this history] at Tulip Cafe…. The plan is to bring the entertainment to Central Park.”Noted New York City architect and Pella native John Lautenbach designed the stage. He, along with his brother Charley, who was a local contractor, were in charge of erecting the tower. On April 4, 1940 the Chronicle noted that “John Lautenbach is using the vacant Benteco store building [on the east side of the square] for drawing the sketches of decorations to appear between the pylons in Garden Square at Tulip Time. As fast as he completes a section George Heeren takes it down to his shop and starts work on forming it from wood. The whole decoration represents the coat of arms of the Queen of The Netherlands.”The tower itself was constructed laying flat on the ground in Central Park. One week before Tulip Time, the tower was complete and ready to be lifted upright. Unfortunately,in the process it slipped and fell, and “was quite badly shattered.” Some were ready to concede defeat but after two days of hurried repairs the tower was successfully lifted into place.The tower was originally designed to be used for only one Tulip Time festival, but it was so successful that citizens raised sufficient funds to preserve the tower for another year. Ultimately, the tower was stretched to last for three Tulip Times, but was then deemed unsafe and was demolished after the 1942 festival.25 years later, Pete Kuyper, along with his wife Lucille, offered to pay the costs to have the city erect a permanent Tulip Tower. Work on the current Tulip Tower was started in 1967 and it was dedicated on May 11, 1968. Pete was the owner and president of Rolscreen Corp. (now Pella Corp.) and had a keen interest in Pella’s heritage. Pete passed his love of Pella’s history down to his two children, Stu and Joan. All three were involved most of their lives with Rolscreen/Pella Corp. and those two generations helped preserve many of Pella’s historic landmarks, including Pella’s original fire station, the Pella High School/Community Center building, the former Strawtown Restaurant building as well as several vintage/historic homes. Stu even provided the original idea for a canal in Pella and was instrumental in starting the Dutch Front Program.Sixty-three years later the Tulip Tower is an integral part of Pella's downtown and is one of the most iconic structures in town. Without Pete and Lucille Kuyper, and their love of Pella’s heritage, our community would be much poorer.- Researched and written by Bruce Boertje ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
At 505 West First Street in Pella is a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian style home: setting within the Pella Collegiate Historic District. Being part of the official historic district is an added value to the property because it provides protection by the City of Pella from having neighbors do something that detours from the historic feel and beauty of the neighborhood. This does not regulate the color of paint or the type of windows you use, it mostly protects the homes from being torn down and or a modern building being smashed in beside you that would make the other homes look out of place. Historic Districts tend to raise property values along with other benefits provided by the National and State Historical Societies. This home was the masterpiece of builder, Cornelius W. Visser. The two-story, timber frame home features rich surface textures and a steeply pitched roof with intersecting gables. An ornate restored wrap-around porch and ruby oval glass window welcome visitors to the front door. In the entry is an open hardwood stairway that is an art statement in itself! The stairs feature the glorious craftmanship and rich woodwork that continues throughout the home. Once inside, you find that the ruby glass oval window is on the landing of the steps. It is a very cozy home; it seems livable on 3 floors because the basement has some work started with a neat large bathroom and plywood on all of the floors. I felt inspired as we walked through it, so many creative decorating possibilities year around, especially for the holidays. It felt spacious yet private inside because the main floor sets higher than the neighboring houses. It is a very livable home with a modern kitchen and main floor laundry, yet all of the feel of a quality historic home. The home needs a new family to love it, it is within walking distance of downtown, Central College and Pella Corp. and it is listed by Rachel Treur through Home Realty. I dropped in last Saturday to see the home, Rachel did not ask me to promote it...I just felt that it was a historic gem that you all would enjoy. -Jennifer VK ... See MoreSee Less
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3 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
The McClatchey property is located at 1008 East Second street. It is one of the 10 or 12 oldest existing buildings in Pella. It is named after Charles M. McClatchey, who came to Iowa from Pennsylvania in 1854, and then located to Pella in 1856. Within a couple of years of his arrival, McClatchey had purchased the entire block on which the home now sits. In 1859, he opened a steam-powered wool carding mill behind the house. The barn associated with that mill is still standing. Additional buildings used in the mill process were erected to the south of the barn as can be seen in the 1869 sketch included in the photos below.In 1866, McClatchey’s wife Cassia died at the age of 28, leaving Charles to raise three young daughters on his own. In addition to operating the mill, McClatchey planted grapevines and rose bushes and had a grove of plum trees. Years later the grove was recalled as, “a pleasant spot for picnics, with hummingbirds and bees buzzing near the plum blossoms."The McClatchey Woolen Mill operated in Pella until it was moved to Knoxville in 1870, where it continued under the firm name of Jones, McClatchey and Van Houten. In 1878 McClatchey moved to a property on Columbus street and sold the entire mill block to Wiggert Rietveld. Wiggert, along with his son Herman, were involved in many businesses in Pella, including the Pella Drain Tile factory, the People’s Savings Bank, and the Citizens National Bank. Wiggert, his wife Anna and “adopted" daughter Cora Van Dam lived in the home the remainder of their lives. One year after Wiggert died in 1914, Cora married William Maasdam and the couple lived there until Cora’s death in 1953.By that time the home had fallen into severe disrepair “due to the owners’ poor health and subsequent lack of interest.” It is reported that every room but one had been boarded up, and that the couple lived in that single room of the home.When the property came up for sale in 1954, Bob and Doretha Klein purchased the home in order to preserve it. They renovated the home and restored it back to its glory days. Today, a third generation of the Klein family lives in the beautiful home, located atop the hill. The original barn still stands in the backyard.Special thanks are due to the multiple generations of the Klein family for their foresight in helping to preserve Pella’s unique and valuable heritage. This home is living proof that many properties, deemed too far gone to be salvaged, can in fact be restored and preserved.As for Charles McClatchey: his two oldest daughters married and eventually moved away from Pella. In 1883, Charles and his youngest daughter moved to South Dakota where he purchased 500 acres of farmland. When Charles died in 1907 he was brought back to Pella and buried next to his wife in Graceland Cemetery north of Pella.Please help support and encourage the preservation of Pella's heritage and our unique history. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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4 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
The Wolters Home, located at 810 Washington Street, is the subject of today’s Historic Pella Trust post. This building is believed to be the ninth oldest surviving building in Pella. It was erected in 1856 by Jan (John) Heukelman Wolters and his second wife, Helena C. H. (Nieuwenhuizen) Wolters. This building originally served as both residence to the Wolters family as well as his place of business: a drug store. It is unique in that it has a cornerstone that was placed when the building was erected. The cornerstone, translated from its original Dutch, states:“H. C. H. WoltersNee NieuwenhuizenLaid the First StoneJune 5, 1856”This cornerstone is still visible today and implies that it might have been Helena’s money that allowed the construction of the building.Jan Wolters was an original colonist who came from Holland with Scholte and the original Pella settlers in 1847. Wolters, along with Jacob Smeenk, opened the first store in Pella. It was located west and south of Brinkhoff park in a double-wide log house. In 1850 Wolters married his first wife, and six months later, Wolters, Smeenk and Bousquet, as they were then known, opened in a new location. This new building was Pella’s first two-story brick building and was located on the west end of the same block from where the Wolters home is now.Wolters was described by his business partner, Dudok Bousquet, as "pleasant, good-natured, and honest….But where Wolters shines is behind the counter in the store. All the customers like him, and he, with his jovial "Man!" or "Old Boy!" or to a woman: "Mother the Lady!" he recommends his wares.”However, at the end of 1851 Wolters left the partnership to start a drug store. In 1854 his wife died, and eight months later he married his second wife, Helena C. Nieuwenhuizen. Less than a year later the cornerstone was laid for this building.The Wolters continued to live in this home until they sold it in 1867 and moved to Kansas. After two years the Wolters briefly moved back to Pella, but in 1869 the family returned to Kansas where Wolters lived until his death in 1882. The Wolters home remained a residence until 1936 when the Pella Historical Society purchased the home to use as a museum.In 1959 Bob and Doretha Klein, who were deeply invested with preserving Pella History, opened the Holland House restaurant in the same building. They retained one room to display historical artifacts from Pella’s past.In 1965, when the Pella Historical Society purchased the Wyatt Earp/Van Spanckeren property on east Franklin Street, the Holland House closed and the museum relics were relocated to their current location.The Wolters building was then purchased by the Pella Theatre Corp. This complex operated as the Holland Theatre, which debuted in March 1966, for the next 35 years. The original Wolters home contained the lobby, ticket counter and concession stand, while the projection booth and restrooms were located upstairs. A large addition to the back of the building housed a 300-seat auditorium.By 2001 the Holland Theatre had closed and the building was sold to local attorney Tim Tripp. Mr. Tripp continues to own the Wolters building and utilize it as his law office. The former movie theatre auditorium is now utilized as a furniture warehouse.The Wolters’ home recently turned 165-years-old. The Historic Pella Trust joins the community in celebrating the preservation of this historic building. Long may it remain! -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
Pella’s Home For The Aged, now called Fair Haven, is the topic of today’s post. December 19, 1907 saw the dedication of the first Home For The Aged building. Constructed at a total cost of $29,366 by contractor George Ver Hey, the two-story brick building contained 30 living rooms. It faced the west and was located in the center of what had been East Market Square.Originally, East Market Square was a twin to what is today known as West Market Park. East Market had been largely undeveloped as a park. For many years the tall grass on the block was sold to the highest bidder, who put it up as hay. In the later 1800s the block was used to hold circuses and tent meetings, as well as a staging area for 4th of July parades. In 1896, 100 maple trees were planted on the block at a cost of seven cents each. In 1904, cinder-covered walking paths were added. The next year those paths were enlarged and 39 additional trees were planted. The Pella Chronicle wrote: "We believe that the East Market Square could easily be made the prettiest public park in the city.”Over time, the block was considered as a potential railroad depot site for the proposed Pella & New Sharon Railway Co., but neither the depot or the railroad came to fruition. It was also mentioned as an ideal location for a new school building, but the current Lincoln School site was chosen instead. In 1907, the need for a local retirement home was felt strongly, and after considering an alternative location, the city council voted to grant the use of East Market Square.The Home was popular from the very beginning. In fact, the waiting list was so long that in August 1922 a contract was let to construct a new wing to the east side that nearly doubled capacity.The northeast quarter of the block contained a large vegetable garden that was maintained by the residents. This provided fresh produce and also gave an outlet to the gardeners of the home. Following World War II, Pella received a large number of Tulips - a gift from The Netherlands - in gratitude for assistance provided in their recovery after the war. The southeast quarter of the Home's block was turned into a large tulip garden, which became a popular tourist attraction every Tulip Time.In 1965, the name Home For The Aged was officially changed to Fair Haven and the north half of the current Pella Manor was constructed on the west side of the block. More buildings followed, but those will have to be a subject for another post.Today the original Home For The Aged/Fair Haven building still stands in the center of what was once known as East Market Square. Our forefathers had the foresight to construct buildings that would last - in this case 114 years and counting. That 1907 building that cost $29,366 to construct? Today, the amortized cost works out to $258 per year! That proved to be a very sound investment. ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
The Dirk and Cornelia Vander Wilt Cottage, located at 925 Broadway, is the topic of this week’s Historic Pella Trust post. This brick and wood-frame home is one of the few surviving first-generation dwellings built in Pella. It was believed to have been constructed between 1854 and 1866, making it one of the 10 to 15 oldest structures remaining in Pella. The overall dimensions of the home are 26’ x 34’ and it sits on a locally-quarried limestone foundation. The home’s layout consisted of a central hallway, of which the hall sidewalls were also constructed of load-bearing brick. Originally, access to the second floor, which contained two bedrooms, was via a ladder through an opening above the hallway. At one time this layout was fairly common in Pella: see the three below photos for comparison. This home represents the first generation of residential units built in Pella. It features Dutch influence brought by some of Pella's earliest immigrants. Although an original abstract of the property no longer exists, it is believed that Dirk and Cornelia Vander Wilt constructed the home, possibly as early as 1854. The dilapidated home was rescued in 1999 by Wayne Stienstra, who proceeded to spend two years lovingly restoring it. For more information on the history of the property, see this 1999 Pella Chronicle article written by the late historian and former teacher Murt Kooi tinyurl.com/2rsrwrat. This property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. You can access the original National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the property, which provides much more information, here: catalog.archives.gov/id/75339553.Wayne Stienstra has been instrumental in preserving multiple original properties in Pella. He has been a valuable resource in helping to save Pella’s heritage in order to educate future generations. This property, along with approximately 40 others, are now under consideration by the City of Pella's Historic Preservation Commission for inclusion in a new Historic District. If approved, this Historic District designation would bring much-needed protection and recognition to this area, which would include homes on Broadway and Main Streets between Washington and Lincoln Streets. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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2 months ago

Historic Pella Trust
Tuttle Learning Walk at 608 Lincoln Street is a special destination to discover our heritage. The community helped Historic Pella Trust to build this path that connects 1843 Tuttle Cabin to Sunken Garden Park. 7 signs have recently been added, we have a few more details yet to finish... ... See MoreSee Less
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2 months ago

Historic Pella Trust
Pella City Council Member Bruce Schiebout writes in this month's City of Pella Newsletter about the importance of preserving the Pella Community Center/former Pella High School building. The Trust has written about this building in the past and detailed its historical significance to the community. Just as important are the many services this facility currently provides: The building houses a community auditorium that is also home to the Union Street Players theatre organization; Crossroads of Pella Offices; The Pella Community Art Center; the Pella Community Services Offices; Iowa Drivers License (DOT) facility; public meeting rooms; and a public gymnasium. If you use any of these services you know that this one-hundred-year-old building needs some TLC and updates. Please take a minute to read Mr. Schiebout’s Leadership Letter and if you agree with him, please follow his advice to contact Pella's council members and mayor to encourage renovation of this historic building.The city council will also be discussing the Pella Community Center at its June 29 meeting, which will be held at the Pella Public Safety Complex. You are invited to attend the meeting and show your support for the Community Center.If you wish to email members of the City Council, their names and email addresses are: Mayor Don DeWaard: ddewaard@cityofpella.comMark De Jong: mdejong@cityofpella.comLiz Sporrer: lsporrer@cityofpella.comLynn Branderhorst: lbranderhorst@cityofpella.comCalvin Bandstra: cbandstra@cityofpella.comBruce Schiebout: bschiebout@cityofpella.comDave Hopkins: dhopkins@cityofpella.comAs always, the Historic Pella Trust appreciates your interest in preserving Pella's heritage! ... See MoreSee Less
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2 months ago

Historic Pella Trust
Grundman Grove. For nearly two decades this 40-acre site was the spot for Pella citizens to gather on special occasions. Although it is technically outside of Pella’s city limits, it certainly qualifies as part of the Historic Pella Trust’s mission statement as "a site important to the heritage of Pella”.Located a couple of miles north of downtown Pella (see photos below for the exact location) this grove was part of the Henry and Emma Grundman farm. Grundman Grove filled a big gap in the time between the closing and sale of the Pella fairgrounds in 1919-1920, and the opening and development of the Pella Municipal Swimming Pool Park area in 1937-1938.This grove was the site of numerous local business's and organization's annual meetings, church picnics, and family reunions. The first mention of Grundman Grove was in 1919 when the First Reformed Church and Sunday School “enjoyed a splendid picnic at the Henry Grundman grove north of town Tuesday. The day was ideal and the roads good. A large crowd was in attendance.”The next year the college held a picnic there for its glee clubs and voice students (see article below). Other churches soon followed suit, as did the Van Niewaal department store whose clerks "held a weine roast" there. J. C. Penney, the successors to Van Niewaal, later followed suit. By 1923, the Farmers Co-op was holding their annual picnic at Grundman Grove. The event, held on Thursday, August 16, featured “Plenty of Music for the Occasion”, as well as a "cow calling contest, tug of war for men east of Pella vs. west; Tug of War for ladies: Girls vs. Married Ladies; Battle Royal, eight young men, bring own boxing gloves"; and foot races for men over 65, “Fat men over 225 lbs.”, as well as “Married Ladies”. (Full ad is below.)The Klein family reunion drew over 325 attendees in 1924. In 1928 the Farmers Union picnic featured sports and a concession stand. That same year the Chamber of Commerce held their June meeting in the Grove and auctioned off a “first class automobile which has been secured from J. E. Cornelius, the Chrysler dealer. This automobile which is in splendid running order, will be sold to the highest bidder”. It may be interesting to note that the winning bid on the car was $15.75 by Diller Vander Ploeg. Diller bought the automobile for “speculation and not for family use”. The auto was described as “a six-cylinder Buick with starter, four wheels with tires, windshield and other accessories.” It may have left a little to be desired as reliable transportation!The high-water mark for Grundman Grove was most likely reached in 1934, when between four and five thousand "men and their families" attended the annual Farmers Union picnic. The day-long program consisted of much music, many speakers - both business and political - and “sports, contests and ball game.”The last mention of Grundman Grove as a location for activities was in 1938. It would seem that after that time there were sufficient locations in Pella suitable for holding these large gatherings. But, for nearly 20 years, the Grundman Grove was the outdoor place to gather in the summer months and undoubtedly created many lifetime memories for the participants. ... See MoreSee Less
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