Nederland Shares Local History
Corner of Third & Washington Street; Orange City, Iowa

In early July, 1869, a wagon drawn by a pair of mules and three men: Leendert Vander Meer, Dirk Vanden Bos and Hendrick Jan Vander Waa, moved slowly westward across Iowa to Sioux City. Henry Hospers, the fourth member of the committee came by rail to Omaha and LeMars. These men were sent out by the Dutch Association with authority to acquire a large block of land in Northwest Iowa for a Dutch colony. With L. Wynn, a surveyor, advisor from the land office and investigation, the committee made a choice of land for a colony in Sioux County.

In the following spring, three wagon trains left Pella for northwest Iowa to claim their homesteads and establish the colony. Some 60 to 70 families arrived before the end of the summer. L. Wynn was again engaged by Henry Hospers to lay out town lots in the village. It was agreed to name the town Orange City after the Dutch Prince, William of Orange. Abe Lenderink, the carpenter, built a home for his family and a shop. The only other building erected the first year was a schoolhouse in the public square, which also served as the house of worship the first years of settlement.

During 1871 and 1872, Orange City began more and more to take on the appearance of the frontier village, a few more houses, a hotel and a blacksmith were added. The Hospers store sold groceries and the other necessities of life, and by the end of 1872 it was estimated that about 200 Dutch families lived in Holland Township and that there were 1,000 persons of Dutch descent living in the colony.

The year 1872 was a banner year. The St. Paul and Sioux City railroad was completed across the eastern portion of the country and it came within 3 miles of Orange City where a depot was erected and the place was given the name, Easy Orange. During the same year the people of Sioux County voted to move the country seat from Calliope to Orange City. In 1874 a courthouse was completed in the public square. About 30 years later, again by election, the location of the country seat was reaffirmed, a magnificent structure was dedicated in 1904, and celebrated again in 2004. The same summer, the Dutch language weekly newspaper, De Volksvriend, began with Henry Hospers as owner and publisher and the English Weekly, the Sioux Country Herald moved from Calliope to Orange City in 1872.

In 1882, Northwestern Classical Academy was organized. In 1927 two years were added to make it a junior college and now Northwestern is thriving as a four-year liberal arts college. Maurice-Orange City-Floyd Valley community schools are joined together into one district with the high school in Orange City. The Christian school has just celebrated her centennial having been organized in 1904, the Unity Christian High School was founded in 1964.

The town of Orange City was incorporated in 1884 and like other towns enjoyed many years of prosperity but also experiences times of depression beginning with the depression of 1873, the panic of 1893, the depression following World War I in the early 1920’s and of course, the Great Depression of 1929-1939 which came to an end with the outbreak of World War II The Tulip Festival began in May 1936, as a one-day spring festival and has been held every year with the exception of the World War II years. It has become a favorite as an outing in the spring when school is about over and the tulips are in full bloom. Come to Orange City for a fun filled, colorful celebration of Spring!

As we say in Dutch: Breng on seen Bezoek!

Pay us a visit.

nederlander's grill, orange city, iowa