Friday, November 7, 2014

Amana Colonies


Earlier this year, a girlfriend invited me to go on a trip to the Amana Colonies with her.
I was surprised because she's a shopper and not really into history, flowers and for sure not photography.
She and her husband have traveled to horse shows. No she's not in to horses~she just goes with her husband. Anyway, they have so many points at hotels that our room would be free.
So for 1/2 the cost of gas and my food I got to go on a short trip.
This is about a 5 hour drive from KC.
 The flowers and gardens were amazing. They are big on vines.
 I thought this was so cool.
 Flowers and gardens were everywhere.
I snapped pics and she was a good sport.
We only spent one day at the Colonies...then we went to Cedar Rapids and shopped...ugh!!!
She was a good sport about me taking pictures, so I had to be a good sport and go shopping.
I must admit...shopping at Walmart, JC Penny's, Hobby Lobby was not fun. I can do this at home. Still I remained a good sport...double ugh!!!
 There was so much to see and we went to Walmart??? What???
I added some history below if you're interested. There was lots to see and lots more I could have photographed and lots of history. But...shopping was calling her name and so we only spent one day racing though the different colonies. 
I did, however, get a wonderful piece of homemade German Chocolate Cake...Wonderful!
ommmm

The history of the Amana Colonies, a National Historic Landmark and one of America’s longest-lived communal societies, begins in 1714 in the villages of Germany and continues today on the Iowa prairie.
In turbulent 18th century Germany in the midst of a religious movement called Pietism, two men, Eberhard L. Gruber and Johann F. Rock, advocated faith renewal through reflection, prayer and Bible study. Their belief, one shared by many other Pietists, was that God, through the Holy Spirit, may inspire individuals to speak. This gift of inspiration, or prophecy, was the basis for a religious group that began meeting in 1714 and became known as the Community of True Inspiration. Though the Inspirationists sought to avoid conflict, they were persecuted for their beliefs. Eventually the Inspirationists found refuge in central Germany settling in several estates, including the 13th century Ronneburg castle.

Persecution and an economic depression in Germany forced the community to begin searching for a new home. Led by Christian Metz, they hoped to find religious freedom in America and left Germany in 1843-44. Community members pooled their resources and purchased 5,000 acres near Buffalo, New York. By working cooperatively and sharing their property, the community, now numbering some 1,200 people, was able to carve a relatively comfortable living. They called their community the Ebenezer Society and adopted a constitution that formalized their communal way of life.
When more farmland was needed for the growing community, the Inspirationists looked to Iowa where attractively priced land was available. One valley on the Iowa River seemed particularly promising. Here was fertile soil, stone, wood and water enough to build the community of their dreams.
In 1855 they arrived in Iowa. After an inspired testimony commanded the people to call their village, “Bleibtreu” or “remain faithful” the leaders chose the name Amana from the Song of Solomon 4:8. Amana means to “remain true.” Six villages were established, a mile or two apart, across a river valley tract of some 26,000 acres - Amana, East Amana, West Amana, South Amana, High Amana and Middle Amana. The village of Homestead was added in 1861, giving the Colony access to the railroad.
In the seven villages, residents received a home, medical care, meals, all household necessities, and schooling for their children. Property and resources were shared. Men and women were assigned jobs by their village council of brethren. No one received a wage. No one needed one.
Farming and the production of wool and calico supported the community, but village enterprises, everything from clock making to brewing, were vital; and well-crafted products became a hallmark of the Amanas. Craftsmen took special pride in their work as a testament of both their faith and their community spirit.
Up before dawn, called to work by the gentle tolling of the bell in the village tower, the unhurried routine of life in old Amana was paced very differently than today. Amana churches, located in the center of each village, built of brick or stone, have no stained glass windows, no steeple or spire, and reflect the ethos of simplicity and humility. Inspirationists attended worship services 11 times a week; their quiet worship punctuating the days.
Over 50 communal kitchens provided three daily meals; as well as a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to all Colonists. These kitchens were operated by the women of the Colony and well supplied by the village smokehouse, bakery, ice house and dairy, and by huge gardens, orchards and vineyards maintained by the villagers.
Children attended school, six days a week, year-round until the age of 14. Boys were assigned jobs on the farm or in the craft shops, while girls were assigned to a communal kitchen or garden. A few boys were sent to college for training as teachers, doctors and dentists.
In 1932, amidst America’s Great Depression, Amana set aside its communal way of life. A ruinous farm market and changes in the rural economy contributed, but what finally propelled the change was a strong desire on the part of residents to maintain their community. By 1932, the communal way of life was seen as a barrier to achieving individual goals, so rather than leave or watch their children leave, they changed. They established the Amana Society, Inc. a profit-sharing corporation to manage the farmland, the mills and the larger enterprises. Private enterprise was encouraged. The Amana Church was maintained.

14 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've never understood people who travel somewhere and then shop at the same stores they have at home. What's the friggin' point? Chain stores are all the same!

Out on the prairie said...

Fun place to see, I just like to eat there. Been there a lot.

One Fly said...

I like all the pictures and don't mind the Amish even a little bit. Some Amish moved to Westcliff recently from Ohio I believe. Spent but little time in the Colony's. Food good??

Went with a friend who was food shopping today. It is still hard to fathom just how much there is to buy. Nothing like that here.

turquoisemoon said...

Debra, Ooh I so agree with you. I carefully and gently mentioned this to her and her reply was that different areas have different buyers. I was nice...but, thought it was silly and a waist of time.

Steve, I loved the fudge and cake. We did eat lunch at one German place that was delish. I thought there was so much to see. I could have spent at least another day. I really wanted to, but was somewhat of a guest.

Fly, Anything chocolate...yes!!! A new grocery store opened near my house. It's so huge and has every imaginable food choice. I go to a smaller store, a tad bit further away. To me, going to a grocery store is still considered a chore, not a vacation destination by my books.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

What a lovely story about the Amana community (not Amish as One Fly referred to, but they also are great with food). I wish I were able to visit that village, and taste the German sourced foods. Just say chocolate and I melt! I hope you have some more photos too!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Beautiful shots! You were both patient with one another, and that's pretty cool. I take it you're not a fan of shopping? I'm not either. I do it when I have to.

And to go all the way there and shop at chain stores? Where's the fun in that?

turquoisemoon said...

B. Rogers, Welcome! Other than the shopping, I had a great time. I did get more pics, but this is enough for a post. What I really like to do is shoot, find wifi and look at my pics, then go back and re shoot my mess-ups. There's one place I didn't get a good shot of and I'm still wallowing in self pity...hahah, not really.

turquoisemoon said...

Martha, No..I'm not a shopper. I was nice but, found going to those chains a bit much. I remained calm and nice...ugh!!! The Colonies should have been at least a two dayer....humpf!!! Oooh well...

Rubye Jack said...

Ah well, there is certainly no accounting for taste. :) I also hate shopping but don't mind boutique type shops in new places, but Walmart?
Lovely pictures TM.

E. Angelina said...

You have an eye for the making the ordinary appear so extraordinary! :)

turquoisemoon said...

Rubye Jack, Yes!!! Walmart, J C Pennys, Hobby Lobby??? and spent time looking around??? I don't get it, but to each their own...

E. Angelina, OOoh thank you! What a nice complement. Thanks!

ellen abbott said...

Looks like a wonderful place and thanks for the history lesson.

Arkansas Patti said...

It was really nice how each of you caved to the other's wishes so that you both had a great trip--and it was free to boot.
I knew nothing about the Amana community and found their story so very interesting. I was wondering if they still maintained the community but as you explained, modern ways and economics did them in. Thanks for such an interesting post.

turquoisemoon said...

Ellen, This place was full of history and I found it very interesting. I like knowing the history of the places I visit. It makes them come alive.

Patti, I'm sure my photography bored her as much, if not more. If I ever got to go there again and didn't have a free hotel room, I think I'd really like to stay in a bed and breakfast. I bet that would be fun there.