THE CENTURY HOME
The Century Home is a beautiful two-story home built by the first mayor of Orange City in 1900 and was also home to The Honorable Martin D. Van Oosterhout, chief justice of the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Virtually unchanged in over 100 years, the vintage décor and furnishings, many original to the house, date from 1900-1920 and feature a handcrafted pump organ. The peaceful grounds surrounding the home include trees planted when the house was constructed.
The home includes a room commemorating past Tulip Queens and Courts which features the coronation formal and Dutch costume from the first Tulip Festival Queen, Elizabeth Top Swets.
The Dutch Heritage Boosters maintain the home and volunteers decorate it and work as tour guides. The home is open daily during Tulip Festival and on special occasions.
HISTORY OF THE CENTURY HOME
Antonie and Cornelia Betten Jr.
The house was built in 1900 by Antonie Betten Jr. for his second wife, Cornelia. Antonie came to Orange City from Pella, at the request of founder Henry Hospers, to manage the mercantile store for the early settlers. He was the first Sioux County Auditor, the editor of the local Dutch newspaper, De Volksvriend, and also the first mayor of the community. Cornelia was an instructor of classics at Northwestern Classical Academy (later Northwestern College).
Martin D. and Ethel Van Oosterhout
In 1929, the house was sold to a young Orange City lawyer, Martin D. Van Oosterhout and his new bride Ethel. Martin later became a judge and was appointed by President Eisenhower to the U.S. Eighth District Court of Appeals, where he later became chief justice. Ethel came to Orange City as the Iowa State Extension Home Economist and was active in the Federated Women’s Club, where she served as national president. It was the local women’s club, including Ethel, which was instrumental in starting Tulip Festival.