The Amana Colonies consist of seven villages, including Middle Amana, Amana (also known as Main Amana), South Amana, Homestead, West Amana, High Amana and East Amana.
After over 150 years, the Amana Colonies are still thriving and rely heavily on tourism. A majority of the current residents are descendants of the original settlers, and they still follow many of their traditional customs. In fact, current residents are trilingual speaking English, High German and their specific dialect of Amana German.
Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors has plenty of homes for sale in the Amana Colonies, IA area for you to choose from. Continue browsing this page to see all houses for sale and real estate options in the Amana Colonies.
The Amana Colonies are located outside of Iowa City. View homes for sale in the Iowa City area for more real estate options.
When you visit the Amana Colonies, there are a lot of activities. You can join historical tours of the area, experience authentic Amana foods and cooking or shop in the stores where traditional Amana crafts are on display.
Learn more about the in-depth history of the Amana Colonies, including homes for sale in Middle Amana, Amana, South Amana, Homestead, West Amana, High Amana and East Amana.
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The story of the Amana Colonies starts in Germany in 1714 when Eberhard L. Gruber and Johann F. Rock broke from the Lutheran Church to form what later became known as the True Inspiration Congregation.
This congregation spread quickly throughout Germany and its followers became known as Inspirationalists. The Inspirationalists angered the government because they refused to have their children attend public school and would not serve in the military.
After Gruber and Rock passed away, the movement slowed until 1817 when a few individuals revitalized the group. As the congregation grew again, it faced increased pressure from the German government.
So, the Inspirationalists made the decision to leave their homeland for the United States in 1842. They arrived in New York State where they purchased land. However, by 1854 the community had outgrown the land and was nervous about being so close to the newly formed city of Albany, because of the potential persecution they could face as the city grew.
Looking first in Kansas to no avail, the elders found the perfect place in Iowa. The colonies remain in this location to this day. At first, the community was called Bleibetreu, but locals had trouble pronouncing it, so it was changed to Amana.
The Amanas had their own constitution, but later became incorporated to conform to the rules of the State of Iowa. This structure allowed them to develop a communal lifestyle where each town had people appointed to lead their financial matters and each person had a role within the community.
Fairly isolated from the outside world, they were able to develop systems to be self-sustaining, with the possible exception of importing grain. They ate in communal spaces, attended church together and all had a defined role in the colony. At first, marriage and children weren’t encouraged but later both became more commonplace.
The atmosphere shifted in 1931 because of the Great Depression. During this “Great Change,” the colony could no longer support itself, so it divided into a religious organization and a separate corporation.
In 1934, the most popular business from the Amana Colonies was formed by George C. Foerstner. It was called the Electrical Equipment Company, and it produced refrigerators for commercial clients. Later known as Amana Refrigeration, the company manufactured the first commercial freezer and the first commercial microwave. Amana Refrigeration was sold and eventually became part of Whirlpool.
Today, the colonies are still thriving and their main business is tourism. From bed and breakfasts to small shops with homemade goods, residents welcome visitors with open arms and provide them with an unforgettable experience.
The Arts in Amana: The Amana Colonies is a place full of artistic spirit. You can explore traditional Amana art from woodworking to needlework, or you can enjoy other art forms like painting and sculpture. Whatever your preference, there are dozens of galleries to explore.
Gravel Bike Trails and Walking Trails: The Amana Colonies has miles of trails for visitors and residents to enjoy, including a bike trail that winds its way through each town. The walking trail is stunning and takes you past a beautiful lake, farmland and pastures.
Amana Colonies Visitors Center: This should be your first stop in the colonies. Here, you can learn about the various restaurant and lodging options. You can also sign up for one of the many scheduled guided tours of Amana. The center also gives you information on all of the wonderful places you can visit during your trip.
Oktoberfest: A celebration over 50 years old in the Amana Colonies, this event is the place to be in the first weekend of October. It opens with a keg tapping and continues for three days with all of the delicious German food and beer you can imagine.
Every weekend features some type of exciting event from movie screening to live shows to wine and yoga. There is never a dull moment in the Amana Colonies. Learn more about upcoming events.
Amana Heritage Society: Walk through the Amana Colonies’ history when you visit this museum made of three buildings from the 19th century. You can examine cultural artifacts or explore the old way of life, including the old schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop and the communal dining hall. Explore the library to learn more about the Inspirationalists and how the community was founded.