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More clogs on display. These were quite fancy.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Pella Historical Village

507 Franklin Street Pella, Iowa 50219
Open Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm & Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm
641-628-4311 2 hours
July 2015 Summer, Fall, Spring
$10-29 Pella Iowa
Website Historical Buildings
First review
Pella Historical Village is a historical site with 24 original and restored buildings most of which are representative of structures from the mid nineteenth century when Pella was settled by Dutch immigrants. The village is operated by the Pella Historical Society & Museums, which also oversees a popular tulip festival here each spring. In addition to simple homes, shops, and workshops, the modest but tranquil village site includes an interpretive center and gift shop. Upstairs in the interpretive center is a large model of a Dutch village and just outside is a working 134 foot windmill similar to those found in Holland in the 1850s.

In 1847 approximately 800 Dutch immigrants moved to Pella in pursuit of greater religious freedom. This group was led by Pieter Hendrik Scholte, and his simple house is in the historical village. The museum was established in 1935 following the town’s first Tulip Time festival. The historic village attraction was developed by the museum soon thereafter. Some of the original buildings were restored. Other structures were moved here. One of the more famous homes, perhaps the most famous, is the boyhood house of famous Western gunfighter Wyatt Earp. The modern interpretive center opened in 2002.

This is a type of attraction you can see fast or slow and have about the same type of experience. For example, you can take your time and closely inspect various historical tools, implements and designs or skim the displays and not miss out on much. One building had historical puppet and dolls on display. There also were photos of Tulip Time queens over the years. The Wyatt Earp house had more informational panels, but unless you are really curious about him and his early years, this house too can be seen in a few minutes without feeling rushed. There were few if any staff people around the village during the visit and no craftsman such as blacksmiths or potters on site. Although small, the village had some curb appeal with colorful flowers and verdant lawns.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the visit was a tour of the working windmill, which is said to be the tallest working windmill in the US. The tour is offered Monday through Saturday and starts with a brief overview film, and then goes to a huge model of a historic Dutch village, which kids should enjoy for its "wow" factor. It must have taken many hours from some dedicated workers to put it all together. The windmill tour includes an outdoor platform and several interior levels within the structure. The guide explained how the mill operated, it's design characteristics and the life of a mill operator. Since the mill is an authentic reproduction, seeing it up close provides a good sense of how mills worked. If you like to learn about machinery or historic trades, a visit to the windmill is time well spent. As for the rest of the village, it was OK but was not interesting enough to earn a recommendation on this website. This is not to say that it was unappealing, just not sufficiently appealing to merit a special trip. Pella itself though has true mid-western charm and the townspeople were warm and welcoming. If you are already in or near Pella and are looking for something to do, the village is a reasonable place to spend a few hours, especially if you are interested in windmills.
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