Several of our friends from COC came to visit Tuttle Cabin on a sunny Tuesday morning, June 25th. It was a beautiful day for a walk through Sunken Garden Park and a visit to the cabin to learn what life was like on the prairie in the mid 1800’s. One group went on a walk while the other spent time at the cabin. Joann Schroder let the guests help her with the laundry using an antique wash board. She visited with them about how the soap was made using lye and fat. They felt how heavy the water was to carry to the wash tub with a bucket and that it needed to be warmed over a fire or used cold. Our soapy water was nice and warm and most everyone tried rubbing the soap on the cloth and scrubbing it against the metal ridges on the board. In the prairie days the clothing was hung on the tree branches or laid out on the grass. We used a vintage drying rack to dry our laundry. They also learned that wrinkles were removed by heating a heavy solid steel iron over a fire and everyone was thankful that clothing rarely needs ironing anymore.
The guests went inside of the single pen cabin for a story about Thomas and Nancy Tuttle building the homestead in 1843. We talked about Henry Peter Scholte buying the homestead in 1847 with gold. They learned why the Reverend Moses Post brought the Dutch coalition to the Tuttle’s and other pioneer homesteads. The Dutch were searching for a place to build a community called Pella, their city of refuge, and soon 800 more Dutch arrived to build the community. I think they found the history very interesting. Everyone went home with a coloring book, newsletter and brochure. After our visit, the groups went to Lincoln School for a picnic. We really enjoyed having them take the time to learn more about the birthplace of Pella and our history.