History of the Strawtown Inn

In the autumn of 1847, some 800 Dutch immigrants settled in the small town of Pella. As housing was in short supply at the time of their arrival, many of them were forced to build small sod huts with thatched straw roofs. The vast majority of these dwellings were concentrated in the northwestern corner of the small community. This area quickly inherited the name Strooijstadt, or Strawtown. The house which is now known as Strawtown Inn was built in 1855 by G. Hagens, and is located on the very spot where some of the original sod huts once stood.


Initially the structure served as the residence of the Hagen family. Through the years, however, it served many functions from a bakery to a college dormitory. In 1972, the houses which now comprise the Strawtown complex, had fallen into disrepair and were slated for demolition. It was at this time two Pella couples with vision and insight, Bob and Doretha Klein and Stu and Eunice Kuyper, chose to intervene.


Realizing that there was a real need for a restaurant in Pella which offered fine dining in a traditional atmosphere, the foursome set out to achieve this goal. It was through their hard work and perseverance that the Strawtown Inn dream became a reality. Strawtown Inn officially opened its doors to the public on July 23, 1974. The original character and ambiance of the home remained intact in the restoration of de Kelder, the Noordse Room and the Rembrandt Room. Relying upon a number of traditional Dutch recipes handed down through generations, as well as some local favorites, the restaurant enjoyed immediate success.


In fact, it soon became evident that there was a need for expansion. Thus in 1979, the house west of the restaurant was purchased to provide an office area. Shortly thereafter, the Delft Room was constructed between the two houses. The final transformation of Strawtown Inn took place between 1983 and 1989 with the addition of a 17 room Bed and Breakfast Inn located at the western end of the complex. The Bed and Breakfast addition provided guests with the opportunity to enjoy both the restaurant and the community of Pella at their leisure, and return to a room with all the comforts of home combined with old-fashioned Dutch hospitality.


Now as the Relationship Enrichment Center at Strawtown Inn, Stan and Alma continue the goal of Strawtown Inn: To create a pleasant atmosphere in which people can enjoy good food and lodging, excellent service, and the friendly spirit which has come to characterize Pella and its people.