PELLA, Iowa — A project to connect two Pella historical sites is moving forward.
The Historic Pella Trust has agreed to cover the cost of building an interpretive historic pathway between Tuttle Cabin and nearby Pella Sunken Gardens. The project costs $195,000. The trust is raising the money from a number of area community groups. Once the project is complete, the City of Pella will maintain the pathway.
"Tuttle Cabin is significant because it is the oldest existing structure on location in our county,” said Jennifer Van Kooten, director of the Historic Pella Trust. “It was homesteaded by Thomas and Nancy Tuttle, so this is actually the birthplace of Pella Iowa."
The Tuttles agreed to welcome settlers who came over from Holland.
“Our purpose is to convey the history why the Dutch left Holland and wanted to settle here,” said Van Kooten. “It’s an educational pathway, and as we near Sunken Gardens, it will be closer to the 1900s, so we hope a lot of visitors come to see the pathway.”
"I think the fun part for me is both of these sites get visited by visitors on a regular basis, so to have the opportunity to be able to start at the Tuttle Cabin and take a stroll through history down to the center Sunken Gardens Park would be a nice added feature,” said Jeanette Vaughan, community service director for the City of Pella. “Back in November 2018, the city entered to the partnership agreement with Historic Pella Trust to build the walkway. Once the product is 100 percent complete, the city will take over maintenance of the project.”
The historic story will be told using technology.
“With the QR code, everybody can scan and find out even more as they’re walking through and read. It will be very interactive and hopefully appeal to all ages,” said Kim Mulch of Klinger Associates, who serves as the project manager. “We were fortunate to be involved in the historic windmill here at Sunken Gardens, so that’s kind of real rewarding to be able to work on that project, and now this trail was going to connect historic building here.”
The project has about 70 percent of the funding raised. Donations are needed to get the project going next summer.
Those wishing to know more can check The Historic Pella Trust.