The town of Pella was established in 1847 by a group of Dutch settlers led by Peter Scholte. As with neighboring Oskaloosa to the southeast, Pella was laid out on the open prairie between the Des Moines and Skunk rivers. With its many simple brick buildings and its wonderful beds of flowers, Pella does indeed strongly convey the atmosphere of a Dutch town. Today, within the architectural profession, Pella is known for its windows, doors, and other building products produced by the local Rolscreen Company.
In recent years Pella has become even more Dutch than it ever was. The classic image of the Dutch windmill has cropped up everywhere, sometimes as a 3-foot miniature in a garden and on other occasions as a full-scale creation. In the middle of the town's Central Park is a windmill that houses the tourist information kiosk.
Over the years a number of historic Pella buildings have been either completely rebuilt or restored. Proposed for restoration in 1989 was the Opera House, built in 1900 and designed by Stanley DeGoyer. The three-story facade of the building is unusual in its pattern of vertical arched windows, and especially in the introduction of a row of large round windows between the second and third floors.
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