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 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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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 weeks 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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3 weeks 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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4 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
Absolutely last call to dig tulips at Fair Haven Memorial Garden, corner of East 3rd and Union streets. Any tulips left after Memorial Day will be disposed of so that summer flowers can be planted. Photos show amount of tulips remaining as of Saturday morning, May 29. By helping yourself to the tulips you are also saving the gardeners some labor in removing them! It's a win/win. ... See MoreSee Less
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4 weeks ago

Historic Pella Trust
I have been informed that there are still a couple of bed's worth of tulip bulbs that can be dug for free at the Fair Haven Memorial Garden, located at the northwest corner of East 3rd and Union streets. They ask that you take the entire plant with you. First come, first served. ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
The Pella railroad depot is the subject of today’s post. Officially known as the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (CRI&P) Depot, this building opened in 1906 and is still located on its original site at the southeast corner of Main and Oskaloosa streets. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.This was the second, and final, railroad depot to be constructed in Pella. The original depot was erected in 1864 when the Des Moines Valley Rail Road first arrived in Pella, making this community the first town in the county to provide railroad access with the eastern part of the U.S. For the next ten years Pella remained the only shipping and passenger hub for Marion and parts of Mahaska and Jasper counties.The original depot was located four blocks further southeast, approximately where Heritage Lace is situated today. In 1902, the Chronicle reported: “For many years there have been schemes of different kinds talked of and tried in the matter of getting something a little more modern than the old shack that serves as the depot”. In 1905 plans were made to construct a new, modern brick depot and to move the “old shack” of a depot to one block east of the new building location to continue service as a freight warehouse.On April 6, 1906, the new depot opened for business. It was a one-story brick building, approximately 20’ deep and 76’ long, with a 200’ brick platform adjoining the tracks. The building itself contained two waiting rooms: one for men and one for women, both containing two 12’ long benches. Separating the two waiting rooms was the ticket office with its bay window, and a baggage room behind it. A small freight room with a sliding door was located on the east side of the building.There were no paved streets in Pella when the depot was constructed; access was either by walking or by horse. Within a year concrete sidewalks had been installed to replace the boardwalks that previously connected the railroad with the downtown. However, it was not until 1911 that a cement crossing walk was constructed across Oskaloosa Street. A few months after the depot opened the Chronicle complained that there was no telephone in the depot, and since the depot contained Pella’s only telegraph it was an inconvenience to not have phone service to that location.Conditions gradually improved, and by 1913 downtown streets in Pella were being paved. In 1926, Pete Kuyper relocated his recently-purchased Rolscreen Company from Des Moines to a location just south of the railroad depot in Pella. For many years the railroad was a mainstay for this business as it shipped lumber in and finished products out. Multiple trains served Pella, with as many as three or more trains passing in each direction through Pella every day.The depot was decommissioned in 1973, although the railroad continued to serve Pella for another two decades. The Rock Island railroad was suffering financial trouble and ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 1975. The Rolscreen Co. (today known as Pella Corp.) purchased the depot from the Rock Island railroad to keep the building from being torn down. Rolscreen restored the building and turned it into a museum. Today the museum is open free to the public Monday thru Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. It features items from both Pella’s railroad history as well as Rolscreen/Pella Corp.’s history.Congratulations along with our deep appreciation are due to Pella Corp. for preserving and maintaining this important part of Pella’s heritage. It is well worth taking the time to visit this historic treasure. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
Free Tulip Bulbs! Starting first thing Monday morning, May 17: You dig, you keep! Master Gardener Duane Rempe, Chairman of the Fair Haven Memorial Garden Committee, invites you to help yourselves to all the tulip bulbs you want from any of the tulip beds at the garden, located at the NW corner of East Third and Union streets. All tulips must go in order to make way for the planting of summer flowers. Choose from any - or all - of the 14 tulip beds. He asks that you please remove the entire plant with each bulb. Most of the beds still have enough blooms so that you can tell what color each bed had (photos taken May 16). Enjoy! ... See MoreSee Less
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1 month ago

Historic Pella Trust
For today's post I want to take a look back at some of Pella's church parsonages that are no longer with us. A lot of Pella's character and history was lost when these homes were demolished. Brief descriptions are provided with each photo. Fortunately we still have these photos. -BB ... See MoreSee Less
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