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Pella, Iowa
Molengracht Canal, Downtown Pella
Molengracht Canal, Downtown Pella
"A Touch of Holland"
Location of Pella, Iowa
Location of Pella, Iowa
Pella, Iowa is located in the United States
Pella, Iowa
Pella, Iowa
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Iowa
County Marion
 • Total 9.35 sq mi (24.20 km2)
 • Land 9.34 sq mi (24.20 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
890 ft (270 m)
 • Total 10,464
 • Density 1,119.98/sq mi (432.44/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 641
FIPS code 19-62040
GNIS feature ID 0460063

Pella is a city in Marion County, Iowa, United States, with a population of 10,464 at the time of the 2020 U.S. Census. Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, it is forty miles southeast of Des Moines. Pella is the home of Central College, as well as several manufacturing companies, including Pella Corporation and Vermeer Manufacturing Company.


In 1847, 800 Dutch immigrants led by Dominee (Minister) Hendrik (Henry) P. Scholte settled the area known as Pella. The name "Pella" is a reference to Perea, where the Christians of Jerusalem had found refuge during the Roman–Jewish war of 70; the name was selected because the Dominee and the rest were also seeking religious freedom. It was the childhood home of Wyatt Earp, whose father Nicholas Porter Earp had settled on a farm near Pella. His brothers Warren and Morgan were born in Pella.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.73 square miles (22.61 km2), all of it land.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1860 1,644 —    
1870 1,909 +16.1%
1880 2,430 +27.3%
1890 2,408 −0.9%
1900 2,623 +8.9%
1910 3,021 +15.2%
1920 3,338 +10.5%
1930 3,326 −0.4%
1940 3,638 +9.4%
1950 4,427 +21.7%
1960 5,198 +17.4%
1970 6,668 +28.3%
1980 8,349 +25.2%
1990 9,270 +11.0%
2000 9,832 +6.1%
2010 10,352 +5.3%
2020 10,464 +1.1%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, 10,352 people, 3,735 households, and 2,500 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,185.8 inhabitants per square mile (457.8/km2). The 4,086 housing units averaged 468.0 per square mile (180.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.0% White, 0.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanics of any race were 1.7% of the population.

Of the 3,735 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 1.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.1% were not families. About 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age in the city was 33.3 years. About 22.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 18.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.1% were from 25 to 44; 21.8% were from 45 to 64; and 16.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

Arts and culture

Pella's Vermeer Mill.
Franklin Street in Pella and some of the businesses located there: Notable in the background are the Tulip Toren (tall white statue) and Information Windmill located in Pella's Central Park.
Shops on Main Street in Pella illustrating Dutch architecture
Pella iowa hook
Shops on Main Street

Pella is home to a number of local events and architectural sites.

The Vermeer Mill is a fully functional 1850s-style windmill, reaching 134 ft (41 m) high. The Vermeer Mill grinds wheat into flour using only wind power and is the tallest working windmill in the United States.

The Pella Opera House, built in 1900, was renovated in 1990 and is a popular entertainment destination, featuring stained-glass windows and ornate tin ceilings. A canal winds through nearby Molengracht Plaza, home to a number of shops, restaurants, hostelry, a movie theatre, and a full-size working drawbridge. On June 28, 2011, Sarah Palin visited the opera house for the premiere of The Undefeated, a documentary about her role in Alaska politics and rise to national attention.

The annual Tulip Time Festival is a celebration of Pella's Dutch heritage. It features tulip gardens, performances, crafters, music, food, Dutch costumes, and daily parades. The festival is held for three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) during the first weekend in May. A queen and court are selected from the two high schools in the town to represent Pella and advertise the Festival. During the 2010 Festival, a world record was set for the most people dancing in wooden shoes. Over 2,600 people danced for more than six minutes to set the new standard.

Pella Dutch is a Dutch dialect spoken in Pella based on South Guelderish dialect.

Parks and recreation

A few miles to the west is Lake Red Rock, Iowa's largest reservoir, a popular destination for biking, hiking, boating, and fishing.


The Pella Community School District operates local public schools.

Pella Christian Grade School(Pre-K through 8) and Pella Christian High School (9-12) serve students in Pella and the surrounding areas.

In April 2011, Forbes rated Pella as third on its list of "The Best Schools For Your Real Estate Buck." Central College is located in Pella.

Notable people

  • Bert Bandstra, served one term as a Democratic U.S. Representative
  • Rachel Brand, United States Associate Attorney General under President Trump
  • Kory DeHaan, former Major League Baseball player
  • Sons of Nicholas Porter Earp:
    • Morgan Earp, lawman, born in Pella
    • Virgil Earp, lawman, deputy U.S. Marshal
    • Wyatt Earp, lawman and gunfighter of OK Corral fame, spent most of his childhood in Pella
    • Warren Earp, youngest of Earp brothers, born in Pella
  • Paul Emerick, professional rugby player, 2006 MVP
  • John Hospers, academician and the first Libertarian presidential candidate in 1972
  • Kyle Korver, forward and guard for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • Louis LeCocq, Pella native, World War I-era auto racer, killed in 1919 Indianapolis 500
  • Wendell L. Roelofs, scientist
  • Ron Schipper, football coach, member of the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Andy Thompson, Ohio state representative, born in Pella
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