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History The first settlers of Pella were Dutch immigrants, who founded the town on May 20, 1847. The name "Pella" is derived from the Latin word for city: urbs. It was named after Pella in Greece (the modern village of Nea Pello). According to local legend, a traveling salesman approached one of the early settlers and asked what they had decided to call their new town; when he said "We haven't yet settled on a name," he replied that they should call it 'Pell City.' This became corrupted over time until someone wrote down what they thought it sounded like: Pe-lla. In 1854 Central College was established by Presbyterians as an academy and college in order to train ministers for various congregations throughout Iowa and surrounding states. In 1863 Central became affiliated with Grinnell College which allowed students more flexibility in choosing courses at both institutions. In 1928 this relationship ended but Central continued as an independent institution until merging with Grinnell again in 1954.