About Amana Colonies
The Amana Colonies are a group of settlements of German Pietists in Iowa, comprising seven villages. Calling themselves the Ebenezer Society or the Community of True Inspiration, die Gemeinde der wahren Inspiration, they first settled in New York state near Buffalo in what is now the Town of West Seneca. However, in order to live out their beliefs in more isolated surroundings they moved west to the rich soil of east-central Iowa (near present-day Iowa City) in 1855. They lived a communal life until the mid 1930s.
A striking feature of the Amana Colonies is that for eighty years they maintained an almost completely self-sufficient local economy, importing very little from the wider, industrializing U.S. economy. The Amanians were able to achieve this independence and life style by adhering to the specialized handcrafts and farming occupations which they had brought with them from Germany.
Today, Amana is a major tourist attraction known mainly for its restaurants and craft shops. Included in the shops are woodworking shops, wine shops, and even a brewery called Millstream. The colonies as a whole have been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1965.