Centrum Downtown Tour
1. Coat of Arms
Above the Northwestern Bank entrance, you will see the coat of arms of the House of Orange. On it contains the motto “Je maintiendrai” which means “I shall persevere.” Orange City is named after the Royal House of Orange. The red brick building next to the bank depicts a step gable design which is a common form of architecture used in the Netherlands. Brick is a popular building material used by the Dutch.
2. Neck Gable
Walking past the alleyway, the next building depicts an embellished neck gable. Perched on top of the gable on a projecting beam is a hoist with a winch and a pulley mechanism which is used in Holland to lift merchandise and furniture to the upper floors of buildings.
3. Bell & Triangle Gables
4. First Orange City Gable
Going south, you will see a building with a dark green bell gable. This was the first gable to be completed in Orange City’s downtown project. A little sign next to the building translates as follow: “This little alleyway is for people not for animals.”
Crossing 2nd Street SW, view the Richardsonian Romanesque Sioux County Courthouse building. This was completed in 1904 and the stone used was Sioux Quartzite, the oldest and most resilient rock in Iowa.
As you walk past the courthouse, you will see the Museum which contains a Dutch Heritage Center and an original school house that once stood on the prairie. The building has a classical 18th century Dutch façade that can be found on the Herengracht Canal in Amsterdam.
7. Ulbuorden Swan
When you cross Central Avenue at 3rd Street SW, head back toward Windmill Park. The first few buildings you pass house Sioux County offices. As you continue, notice the Ulbuorden Swan motif on top of the Farm Bureau building just before you get to the City Hall. The motif is found primarily in Friesland and is placed on the roof or the front peak of a house or barn.
8. Decorative Shutters
Decorative shutters are a popular Dutch feature. The hour glass design in red and white are the most popular throughout Holland. The Sioux County Treasurer’s office has an example of a unique shutter which was painted in the Hindeloopen—a small village in Friesland—style of painting.
9. Hawkeye Center
The Hawkeye Center serves as an important anchor for Orange City’s vibrant downtown. The building is a bold and progressive initiative that “rose from the ashes” of the Hawkeye Building following the fire in the summer of 2008. It features five loft condos on the upper level, and the main floor is home to Evie’s Hallmark, along with a coffee and ice cream shoppe.
11. Little White Store
The “Little White Store” next to the meat market is the oldest store in Orange City. It once housed a lady’s hat shop and a barber shop. Today it is owned by the Dutch Heritage Boosters who use the building for serving poffertjes—tasty Dutch treats. Between the Little White Store and the bookstore is an entry to a small garden setting, De Achter Tuin, behind the store.
12. Centrum Foto
As you walk past the bookstore and cross 2nd Street, continue North to Centrum Foto. You have to go inside this shop to see several examples of Dutch gables creating a small Dutch street market scene.
Orange City’s Centrum
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Amsterdam and other cities embellished their architecture with decorative stone inspired by French and Italian building design. During this period, smaller towns adorned their buildings with painted gables in colors of dark green, light gray, and cream. This is the time period and architectural style that Orange City uses as its theme.
You will begin the downtown tour at the Windmill Information Booth and cross 2nd Street NW. This tour will continue along Central Avenue for three blocks, crossing the street, and returning to Windmill Park.