Pella

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Summary

Pella is a picturesque town in Marion County known for its prosperity, good schools, and Dutch heritage. Located 44 miles southeast of Des Moines on the eastern end of Lake Red Rock, this small city has a population of just over 10,000. Pella is home to Central College as well as several international companies, bringing diversity, prosperity, and jobs to the community. Proud of their Dutch heritage, the people of Pella host Tulip Time each May and plant tulips along every street in preparation for this beautiful festival. In summer residents and visitors enjoy Thursdays in Pella, the Farmer’s Market, and recreation at the Pella Aquatic Center or nearby Lake Red Rock. Pella is a charming town that attracts over 200,000 tourists each year and provides an outstanding quality of life for residents.

Transportation

As a small town with a college, Pella is a very walkable community, and many errands can be completed on foot. The Volksveg trail (The People’s Path, in Dutch) is a 13-mile trail connecting Pella to some of Lake Red Rock’s recreation areas and winding through a variety of landscapes. For those who do drive, the average one-way commute for Pella residents is a short 8.31 minutes, as compared to the 26.4 national average.

Activity & Entertainment

Pella has deep roots in the Dutch community that settled there in the mid 1800s. ‘Dutch’ elements can be found all over town, from the fully functioning windmill to the architectural features of many buildings to the many folks with Dutch heritage who still live in Pella. Tradition and family values are held dear, although Central College brings a global influence and many new people to the community. Arts and culture are a focus—the Union Street Players produce several theater shows each year, the Pella Opera House hosts a variety of talent, and there are community and college concerts throughout the year. The whole town goes out to support the two high school sports teams, and if you like the outdoors, recreational opportunities abound in the beautiful landscape surrounding Pella. Pella Community Schools is one of the best school systems in the state, with top notch programs you don’t expect to find in a small town.

History

Pella was founded in 1847 by a group of settlers from the Netherlands who were members of a dissenting church persecuted in Holland. They called their new home Pella for the biblical city of refuge and brought their particular way of life and adapted it to their new home on the prairie. The town they founded grew and prospered, and in 1854 Central College opened its doors, and was supported by the town through the turbulent years of growth, war, and economic depression, growing into a thriving college with international study programs. In 1925, Pella locals Pete and Lucille Kuyper started the company that would become Pella Corporation, manufacturing high-quality windows and doors that are installed all over the world. A bit later, in 1948 a farmer near Pella, Gary Vermeer, invented a wagon hoist to unload grain and founded Vermeer Manufacturing Company. Today, Vermeer has expanded to a global company manufacturing industrial and agricultural equipment headquartered in Pella. Other industries joined these two manufacturers driving the economy of the town which has continued to grow and thrive into the 21st century.


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