The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

February 12, 2014

Pella Women's Club celebrates 100 years


-In the 60’s we saw the Jackie Kennedy impact on fashions with Empire waists, bows , and pill box hats.

-The 70’s, saw the, “Hippie” influence with culottes, hot pants, short skirts, and lots of crazy colors. Hats and gloves were no longer worn by many women.

Van Kooten, who is a grant proposal writer at Central College and a fashion historian lecturer, pointed out many interesting facts and included the audience’s recollections during her presentation. Van Kooten has an extensive collection of clothing from the 1850s to the 1990s, with 90 percent of them being worn by Iowa women.

History of the Pella Women’s Club

The Pella Women’s Club was originally organized on May 19,1914 as the Pella Women’s Federated Club. At the time there were a total of 10 charter members.

The original goals of the group were to make some improvements in the community environment, parks and other areas. The following is a quote from the Pella Women’s Club Article in the Pella Chronicle in 1995.

“According to some of the first minutes, our first attempt was the improvement of Garden Square (Central Park). We were told we could donate the money and the men would spend it as they saw fit in beautifying the park. However, we were given permission to do what we wanted with South Park, because we ‘couldn’t hurt that unsightly weed patch anyway’. Memorial trees were planted in memory of World War I veterans. The Opera House, at that time, was being used as a rendezvous for gamblers and bootleggers and the Federated Club had it thoroughly renovated inside and out. A restroom was opened and a small fee was charged for the use of it.”

Other projects completed by Pella Women’s Club were:

-In 1915, a Baby Clinic was held and 50 babies were entered. This was the first one of it’s kind in the State. The winning baby was Ray Vander Linden and the second place was Eva Mae Van Houweling.

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