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.

Protect & Promote our Heritage

Our office is located in the oldest building in Pella, Iowa, The Thomas Tuttle Cabin Build in 1843.  We do provide tours of this historic landmark.

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.

Members receive our newsletter “Preserve Pella”.  Our annual meeting is in November, by tradition we honor several Pella homeowners with a  Historic Landmark plaque and award during this meeting.

Historic Pella Trust celebrates their 25th Anniversary October 2019

Contact Information

Historic Pella Trust, Inc.

Phone :641-628-2935

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  

New: Donate Online!

In the News and Events

Tuttle Learning Walk

Please Contribute towards the Learning Walk Project scheduled to begin by March 2020

Your financial Support is needed to build the Tuttle Learning Walkway!

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

Historic Pella Trust has partnered with the City of Pella to build an educational walkway between Tuttle Cabin and Sunken Garden Park. This project will create an entertaining way for our children, adults and visitors to learn about Pella’s history and heritage through signage and plantings. It will provide a lasting tribute to the devoutness; courage and industriousness of our Dutch ancestors. We anticipate that it will become a high-interest tourist attraction! 
Visitors will learn about the 1843 homestead of Thomas and Nancy Tuttle and the role Rev. Moses J. Post had in helping the Dutch to acquire local the homesteads in 1847. They will gain insight on what motivated the Dutch to leave the Netherlands under the leadership of H. P. Scholte and why that still has an impact on our present-day culture.   As the walkway nears Sunken Garden Park, the signage will share about the cooling pond for Pella’s first electric plant and  the location for the first tulip festival. The signs will include QR codes to scan for more history and photos. The City of Pella parks department will maintain the walk that will feature a variety of heritage perennials wildflowers, native grasses and bushes along with several limestone outcroppings representing the literal foundations of our town.

  Historic Pella Trust has agreed to provide 100% of the cost of Tuttle Learning Walk through local fundraising. We are half way to our goal of raising $195,000. We need your help to achieve this vision.

Historic Pella Trust has committed to raise 100% of the funds needed for the project so that no tax dollars will be involved. 

https://historicpellatrust.org/learning-walkway/

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Please join our mailing list to receive updates and news reports from Historic Pella Trust. Our newsletter, Preserve Pella is an annual publication that is distributed to our members.


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Historic Pella Trust on Facebook

"To promote buildings that are important to Pella's heritage" is part of the Historic Pella Trust's mission statement. I think this building qualifies; anyway, I had never seen this older photo before and I wanted to share it.

Local residents will recognize this building as the current location of both The Brew (left) and George's Pizza (right) on the north side of Franklin Street, just east of Central Park. The building was erected in 1879 - making it 140 years old. Prior to that, in 1872, eight wooden buildings going east from what is now Marion County Bank were destroyed during one of Pella's most destructive fires in its history.

Some of those buildings were rebuilt shortly after the fire, but it appears that this lot sat empty for several years until a certain Mr. I. De Vos purchased those lots and had this building constructed. At first it was operated as two separate businesses. In 1897 Y. T. Van Niewaal located his clothing and general store business in the building now occupied by Goerges Pizza, and in 1903 he expanded into the other building (now occupied by The Brew).

In 1928 the double-building was remodeled to house J. C. Penney when it came to Pella in 1929. Penneys continued to operate in that location until, it too, closed in 1958. In 1959 the T&D department store opened in the building before closing in 1997. Since that time, several stores have called the building home - including The Brew and Georges Pizza. Now you know a little more of Pella's amazing history! -BB
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Winter is not far off. In order to prepare for the worst, we look back to the winter of 1936. By that time automobiles had been around for 30 years, but when the snow really flew many farmers still resorted to their their trusty bobsleds and teams of horses. In this photo a baker's-dozen bobsleds can be seen in the alley behind the current Jaarsma and Vander Ploeg's Bakeries and Ulrich's Meat Market. -BB ... See MoreSee Less

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WE GET QUESTIONS. Re: The Dog Statues in front of the former City Hall/Sanctuary Building on Main Street. Many people ask about the dogs and their history. There are a few long-standing urban myths about them, but here is their actual story.

The dogs are original to the building which was erected in 1905 by Herman Rietveld to house his newly-founded Citizens National Bank on the main floor, and the fledgling Pella Chronicle and its printing presses in the basement. The bank opened in January 1906; one month prior Rietveld wrote a 12-stanza autobiographical poem that was published on the front page of The Chronicle. It said (in part):

“There was a man in our town,
H. Rietveld was his name;
His enemies thought they had him down,
But he bobbed up just the same.

He built a bank on Main street;
’Twas full three stories high.
He made the brick himself, you see -
And that’s the reason why.”

It went on to say:

“Two dogs of war adorn the front
Of this wondrous Institution,
But the boys inside will stand the brunt
Of all the persecution.”

Rietveld also owned the Pella Drain Tile factory that produced the brick that was used to erect both this building and more than a dozen of Pella's most iconic business buildings. He had started a previous bank, the People's Savings Bank, that had failed two years prior - although he worked to pay back all the creditors before this bank opened.

To keep a potentially very long story short, we will simply say that Rietveld considered the dogs to be “dogs of war” that were installed to guard the bank from Rietveld’s “enemies [who] thought they had him down”.

Rietveld paid $120 for the dogs and they were named Vertrouwheid, the sleeper, and Waaksaamheid, the watcher.

Much could (and should) be written about Rietveld. From the early 1890s to nearly 1910 he was responsible for the construction of dozens of homes and business buildings in Pella and Harvey. He was a person that made and lost multiple fortunes. Born near Pella, in his long life he lived in Fairfield (IA), California and Washington as long as he lived in Pella. He ultimately moved back to Knoxville where he passed away at his daughter's home in 1959. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

In early 1910 the Citizens National Bank moved to where Marion County Bank is today. Within a few years the building was purchased by the city for use as its city offices. In the meantime the building was home to a restaurant, a millinery and chiropractic offices. If you walk through the alley north of the building you can find many bricks that contain the stamp: "Pella Drain Tile, Pella, Iowa". -BB
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In the past week multiple people have asked about the history of the former Kramer Shoe Store/Faux Paws building (621 Franklin Street) that is being remodeled with a new front. The current two-story building was erected in late 1949 (thus the "Anno [Year] 1949" that is embedded in the new front).

Below are two photos from a 1950 Pella Chronicle that depict both the current and former building at that site. The original one-story wood-frame building dated back to somewhere around the 1860s and housed the Flour Store of C. N. Cole for several decades, until it was sold to the partnership of Bakker and Rus in 1942. -BB
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2 months ago

Historic Pella Trust

Pete Van Zante Garage in the late 1940's and 1950's; Riley's Sinclair Station on the corner of Main and Oskaloosa St. Pella ... See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Historic Pella Trust

Take a ‘step’ back in time and see what Pella history has been (literally) unearthed!

Construction at the site of Pella’s original Webster School, located at the northeast corner of Broadway and Peace streets, recently brought these cement steps back to light. These steps once belonged to the first Webster School that was constructed in 1875 - and razed in 1952 when the new Webster School (now also razed) replaced it.

Some wonderful history: These steps date to 1905 when the school was rather extensively remodeled, including combining five basement rooms into one, in order to house Pella’s first kindergarten. Get this: a portion of the basement had originally been designed to house the school’s janitor and his family, “but the rooms were soon found to be too damp and altogether too unsanitary for living purposes”. Pity the poor janitor and his family that once tried to live there!

To rectify this situation in 1905 earth was removed from the outside of the building and additional and larger windows were installed in the basement so that it was “put into a strictly sanitary condition” to house Pella's first kindergarten. The Pella Chronicle stated: “As soon as men and [horse] teams can be secured for the work the dirt will be taken away from all around the school building to the depth of the basement windows…. When complete the present property will be greatly changed in appearance and will be much more adapted to the needs of the school than it has ever been before.”

The attached photos show Webster School as it appeared both before and after the excavation for the kindergarten room. The Historic Pella Trust never knows when history will give us a chance to fulfill our mission statement: “To preserve and promote buildings, sites and landscapes important to the heritage of Pella, Iowa”. It's too late to preserve this gem, but we can still promote it. Enjoy Pella's history! -BB
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2 months ago

Historic Pella Trust

More than a century before Twin Peaks became a popular TV show in the early 1990s, it was a popular, early style of architecture in Pella. If you know where to look there are still some examples in existence. Look for twin peak homes on Washington, Franklin and Liberty Streets. This home, which likely dates to the 1870s, is being lovingly renovated at 502 Washington Street, thanks to owners Duane and Laura Meyer. It is one of the 50 oldest buildings remaining in Pella. Last year this gem got a new roof and this year it's getting a new coat of paint, along with other work. It still sports its original wood siding, and if you look close you can still spy the rare "fish scale" siding accents beneath the twin peaks. Yeah, the Historic Pella Trust notices preservation efforts, and we applaud you! Next time you're out, see what other twin peak homes you can find in Pella. (Note: There are also a few "single peak" homes, too.) -BB ... See MoreSee Less

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