Historical Society celebrates Scholte renovation

Photo by Emily Hawk/Pella ChronicleExecutive Director Val Van Kooten (middle) cut the ribbon to celebrate completion of Scholte Gardens on Friday. Pictured on the left is donor Kay De Cook and Board President Carol Williamson on the right.

The Pella Historical Society and Museums celebrated the newly renovated Scholte Gardens with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday.

The renovation project included landscapes, a new sprinkler and irrigation system, patio, benches, plantings, walking paths and a gazebo that was donated to the organization by Pella Regional Health Center. Executive Director of the Pella Historical Society and Museums Val Van Kooten stated the organization still plans to construct a fence around the garden to fully complete the project.

“Our job was to sort of organize lots of ideas,” said Dan Van Weelden, designer and salesman at Country Landscapes, Inc. “We didn’t do a tone of design work, but we basically organized those ideas into something fun. There are a lot of different hands in this project from start to finish, and we’ve had a lot of fun working on it.”

According to Van Kooten, the estimated cost of the project was between $400,000 to $500,000. The gardens are part of the Forging Our Future Campaign that was started by the organization to protect, revive and restore historical landmarks in Pella. Van Kooten stated the organization has surpassed its original goal of $2.5 million for the campaign, with funds raised reaching closer to $2.6 million.

Other projects include the Scholte House, the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp and the pond in the Pella Historical Village. The Scholte House will be ready by Tulip Time 2020, and the home of Wyatt Earp is in its early stages of renovation.

“We are so pleased with what we have here,” said Board President of the Historical Society and Museums Carol Williamson. “This community was presented with the opportunity, and then a vision was cast by and for our community of Pella. Funding and support was given to the opportunity, and today, what an asset we have for our community.”