Thursday, September 3, 2015


Welcome To The Amana Colonies

One of our favorite  memories of  Iowa was our day trip to the seven Amana Colonies villages.  The seven villages are Amana, Middle Amana, High Amana, West Amana, South Amana, Homestead and East Amana.  Each village had its own unique characteristics and attractions, and we were welcomed to drive through very freely, of course.  One day certainly doesn't do this beautiful area justice, so maybe next trip we will plan to stay longer.
A 17 mile loop connects the colonies

Residential Area of East Amana

The history of the Amana colonies doesn't begin in the United States but in Germany in 1714.  After persecution, excessive rents and taxes, and a killing draught, these small congregations of followers were known as the Community of True Inspiration and came to America in 1842 and purchased 5000 acres to become a communal form of living and opened shops, mills and farmland.  This communal way of life would continue uninterrupted in the Amana Colonies for 89 years.
High Amana Colony - Oldest General Store with original fixtures

Sandstone was popular building material

  In Iowa the followers found the land they had hoped to find, and in 1855 a village was established named Amana, and then five more villages were established.  By 1861 the community had grown to about 26,000 acres.
Lots of Shopping areas

One of the original communal homesteads

Large Barns and Silos are operational
Another Shopping Opportunity 
Residential area in High Amana
Almost deserted Train Station in Amana

  A word of advice.....don't bring a picnic lunch like we did.  We had a great picnic on Lily Lake, and the locals informed us the edible waterlilies are now in bloom.  The Colonies have numerous eateries that serve delicious homemade German and local dishes.
Local German Restaurants are plentiful
Many enterprises formed the economic base for communal life in the seven Amana villages.  More than 50 communal kitchens fed the 1,500 plus residents 3 meals a day (plus 2 coffee breaks).  Each village had its own meat shop, smokehouse, bakery, winery and apiary, while gardens and orchards provided for all.  Spiritual refreshment was considered vital so residents attended worship or prayer services 11 times during the course of a week.
Amana Warehouse
Lake Lily (note edible lilies are blooming in August)

 Because of economic pressures and dissatisfaction with the rigid communal system, the Amana communal system was abandoned in 1932, but the community was maintained.  Now the Amana residents work for wages, own their own homes and businesses.
General Store in Homestead Amana Colony

Mercantile Store in High Amana

 Amana Appliances, now owned by Whirlpool, is a major employer in the area.  Today the Amana Society farms the land, maintains the largest private forest reserve in the state, and operates the Amana Woolen Mill, the Amana General Stores, the Amana Furniture and Clock Shop and the Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse.

Residential Area in High Amana

Farmers and Farm Implements

Old Tractors are still utilized when possible

The Amana Church is still a vital part of community life.  Amana - to remain faithful - is relevant today.  As brief as our visit was, we thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of The Amana Colonies.

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