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. 

Please Join HPT for our 2021 Annual Meeting

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Graham Conference Center
812 University St, Pella, IA

Free will Donation appreciated to help support Historic Pella Trust preservation projects and educational programs.  

Special Presentation! “Let’s Move a House and Other Adventures in Historic Preservation!” with Kent and Val Van Kooten

VanKooten Home moving from Main Street Pella to the family farm West of Pella.

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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You're Invited: Pella Community Center Celebration, Saturday, October 30th, 10:00-11:00 AM. This historic building remains a valuable cultural and physical resource for our community. It is an honor to be recognized and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of the Pella Community Center, a local nonprofit organization, invites you to help celebrate this recognition on October 30th! Also, please continue to encourage our mayor and city council to renovate and preserve this wonderful landmark. Let's support this property as both a symbol of Pella's heritage and for the valuable community resources it provides. -JVK ... See MoreSee Less
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One of Pella's historic downtown buildings is the two-story brick edifice located on the west side of Central Park at 835 Broadway. For over 100 years it was home to Pella Products - originally known as the Pella Overall Company.However, the building’s history dates back even further. Like most of Pella’s downtown, the west side of the square originally had many wood-frame business buildings. Also, like much of Pella's downtown, a devastating fire (in September 1891) destroyed the quarter-block on which 835 Broadway is located.In 1893 a partnership was formed between blacksmiths Jelle Witzemburg, and Hendrik and Antonie Brom. They proceeded to have the current 835 Broadway building erected. Unfortunately, before the year was out, their partnership had dissolved and Witzemburg took over the business and building. Troubles followed Witzemburg, and in 1903 the building was sold to settle a mortgage on the property.In 1907, the Pella Overall Company was organized and it purchased the vacant Witzemburg building. One of the stockholders was John Klein. Klein eventually became full owner of the business and later the name was changed to Pella Products. In 1944, additional production space was needed and a factory was opened in New Sharon. Eventually ,John’s son, Robert, took over the business, and in 1980 Bob’s son Bobby, took over as CEO.In January 1957 a fire caused $45,000 of damage to the building and inventory, and for a few months the business offices operated from a basement on the south side of the square. When the building reopened, part of the ground floor was leased to optometrist Frank Overman. In January of 1959 another fire broke out in the building, ragain esulting in major damage. In 1963, Pella Products moved their office upstairs and in addition to Overman, leased office space to dentist Richard Roush. In the mid-1960s the building’s facade was updated and remodeled. Eventually, Overman and Roush relocated, and Pella Products again took over the full use of the building.After 111 years, in 2018, Pella Products brought their ownership of the building to an end when they relocated to the edge of Pella and sold the property to local businessman Bob Zylstra. Zylstra has recently had the building remodeled, returning the front of the building to its original 1893 appearance.It’s rare for one business to operate for over a century in one location. Only a handful of other businesses can make that claim in Pella.The Trust will periodically take a look at additional downtown historic buildings. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
"To protect and promote buildings, landscapes, and sites important to the heritage of Pella, Iowa” is the Historic Pella Trust’s mission statement. This week we take a look at the world War II, Japanese Howitzer cannon, located in the southwest corner of Pella’s downtown Central Park. The cannon is significant in and of itself, but like so many topics, when explored it dovetails into additional, fascinating history.In April 1948, Pella's American Legion Post announced that two captured Japanese cannons were being "supplied to take the place of the old Civil War cannons which were removed from Garden Square for the first scrap drive of World War II time.” During WWII, scrap drives were held to collect every spare piece of metal, which was then recycled for use in the war effort. Sadly, this scrap drive resulted in the destruction of the two Civil War cannons that had graced the Albert Hobbs statue in the park.Originally, the Civil War cannons had been obtained for Central College by Pella doctor Benjamin F. Keables. Keables is a wonderful example of one of many invaluable, but largely forgotten, early Pella citizens. In the spring of 1852, Keables graduated with a medical degree from the State University of Iowa, then located at Keokuk. He immediately walked to Pella, with a loan from his father of $35 in his pocket, and started his medical profession as well as a drug store. (This drug store eventually became what was known as Vander Linden Rexall.) The next year Keables married Pella founder Henry Scholte’s oldest daughter, Sarah. That same year, Keables, a Baptist, was instrumental in helping found Central College in Pella.Keables served as president of the Pella school board and was also a life-long member of the Central College Board of Trustees, eventually rising to serve as president of the Executive Committee. He also served two terms in the Iowa Legislature from 1870-74. When the Civil War broke out, Keables was commissioned as a surgeon, where he served in several major battles. In 1903, Keables worked to obtain two Civil War cannons for Central College, to represent and honor the one-hundred-twenty Central students - the entire male student body of the school - that volunteered for the Civil War. Twenty-four of those brave students did not live to see the war’s end.When the cannons arrived, they were installed in front of the newly-constructed Jordan Hall - one on either side of the front entrance. When Dr. Keables died in 1911, Central’s Board of Trustees placed a resolution in the Pella Chronicle, that read: "as a board, we are positive that there has not come to the college a greater loss in the history of the school, than that which has come to it in the death of Dr. B. F. Keables.” A profound tribute to a great man.Although the cannons only remained in front of Jordan Hall for a few years, they were the subject of a humorous 1910 Halloween prank. Several students removed one of the cannons - no easy feat considering considering they were nearly 10 feet long and weighed over 900 pounds each. However, the college Dean took the prank in stride. He and one of the professors agreed to be blindfolded - to avoid recriminations of the guilty parties - and then assisted in returning the cannon to its proper place. (You can read the full story in the photos below.)In 1912, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War, a statue was erected in Central Park to honor all those who had served, and the college approved relocating the cannons to the front of the statue. They remained there for 30 years, until 1942, when World War II necessitated sacrificing the cannons to the war effort.This brings us back to 1948 when the Japanese Howitzer was obtained as a replacement for the Civil War cannons. Initially, the WWII cannon was placed in front of the Hobbs statue, in between the concrete mountings of the former Civil War cannons. But, in 1956, the cannon was moved to its current location near the southwest corner of the park, where it remains today.It would be tragic if this history were forgotten, for it represents the sacrifices of so many people. The wars were difficult times for a small town like Pella, but those hardships helped forge the character, and heritage, of our community. The HPT mission is to help preserve and protect that heritage. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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4 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
It was a perfect fall day on Saturday, September 25, as the Historic Pella Trust completed a four-year project when it dedicated and gifted the Tuttle Learning Walk, located at 608 Lincoln Street, to the City of Pella. Going forward, the City of Pella will be the owners and caretakers of the learning walk. The Tuttle Learning Walk is a scenic, winding brick path that connects the historic Tuttle log home with Sunken Garden Park. Along the way, many native Iowa plants surround the walk and seven informational signs provide insight into the early history of the town and surrounding area.Historic Pella Trust has labored many hours since 2017 in designing the walkway; working with the city and neighboring homeowners; selecting, obtaining and planting appropriate flowers and plants; researching and writing the history of the Pella area for the signs; and fundraising the entire cost of the project through grants and donations.Thanks are due to many organizations, businesses and individuals, but the project could not have been completed without the invaluable assistance of Duane Rempe, Jennifer Van Kooten, Dan Van Weelden and County Landscapes, Kim Mulch and Klingner & Associates, the Pella Garden Club, MidWestOne Bank, PPI, and many other corporate and individual contributors.Currently the walkway is beautiful in its fall colors, but it will only get better over time as the surrounding plants grow and mature. The Historic Pella Trust invites everyone to take some time to stroll the walk, enjoy the plants, and learn a little about Pella's history.Thank You to everyone who made this project possible!!-BB ... See MoreSee Less
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4 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
In preparation for the ribbon cutting and dedication on Saturday, September 25th, many people helped to put the finishing touches on the Tuttle Learning Walk. This included crews from Country Landscapes and Pella Engraving. The ceremony on Saturday morning starts at 10:30. Hope to see you there! ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
The Historic Pella Trust has received multiple inquiries regarding the process of preserving historic properties. There are a few ways this can be accomplished, but the most effective method is a Conservation Easement.A Conservation Easement has the advantage of remaining with a property, even after the current owner has relinquished ownership. It is a simple legal rider attached to the deed of the property, that is overseen by a third-party, non-profit entity, and controls what future changes - including demolition - can or cannot occur.The current owner can decide what architectural features are important to preserve, and can dictate if, and how, these features can be altered in the future. Conservation Easements are commonly applied to the exterior of a building, but they can apply to the interior as well, and can be written as specific, or general, as the owner wishes.Overly-restrictive Conservation Easements can adversely affect the sale price of a property, but a realistic easement can increase the value of both the existing property as well as surrounding properties. The peace-of-mind in knowing that a historic building is guaranteed to remain can be beneficial to both the property owner, as well as the community as a whole.The Historic Pella Trust has placed Conservation Easements on several properties that we have owned and sold as an organization. The Trust has also partnered with individuals in the community to place easements on their respective properties.Conservation Easements are inexpensive, normally costing only a few hundred dollars. For properties that meet the Trust’s mission statement of being “important to the heritage of Pella”, we will even pay the associated costs incurred with placing the easement. The Trust is also qualified to oversee the maintenance and enforcement of the Easement.If you, or someone you know, owns or wants to preserve a property that might qualify as a historic or vintage property in or around Pella, feel free to contact the Trust for additional information. You may message us directly through Facebook, or email us at: office@historicpellatrust.org.Thank you for your continued interest in, and preservation of, Pella's heritage and history! -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
Erected in 1908 by Frank and Isaac LeCocq, this familiar landmark still exists today. Located at 612 Franklin Street, it is currently the home of Franklin Street Clothing.The LeCocq brothers, as they were known, were second-generation harness makers in Pella. The original location, operated by their father, T. C. LeCocq, was located on the SW corner of Main and Franklin streets in the back of the Viersen building - which also contained Pella's post office at that time.By 1917 the LeCocqs had moved on to the automobile business, becoming partners in Star Auto, the forerunner of today's Ulrich Ford Lincoln. The Pella Motor Company, which sold Overland, Cadillac and Hudson automobiles, had taken over 612 Franklin. Pella Motor Company even installed a gasoline tank and pump underneath the front sidewalk. (I wonder if the tank is still buried there?)Sadly, the Pella Motor Company did not survive the Great Depression. By the late 1930s Van's Motor Service (later known as Van's Machine Shop), was operating in the building. Other businesses also operated in the building, including Harve's Welding.In 1970 it was announced that the building was being remodeled for a Gibson's Discount Store. Gibson's later became Pamida. Following Pamida's demise the building served as a video arcade, followed by use as a mini-mall, and ultimately as Franklin Street Clothing.The Historic Pella Trust believes that this building qualifies as a Pella landmark, and as such is part of Pella's heritage. Feel free to include your memories of the building in the comments below. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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