OLLI members took a Regional Learning Trip to the Amana Colonies in Iowa on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. The Amana Colonies were founded in 1855 by the Germans who had originally settled in New York State years before.
When they first settled on the 26,000 acres, they developed seven Amana villages which are National Historic Landmarks. These villages are called Amana, High Amana, West Amana, Middle Amana, East Amana, South Amana, and Homestead. The population has stayed at around 2,000 people since 1855, with 800 living in Amana and between 150-200 people living in the other six villages.
Amana was originally founded as a communal living colony with the help from the church. This meant that no one received a wage as none was need to live on. The community came together and served five meals a day and helped one another to care for the families.
OLLI members were joined by their very own step-on guide, Harold, who gave us the history of Amana as we did a driving tour of the colonies. Our tour included a visit to a communal era kitchen haus, a general store, a church or meeting house, and a basket and broom store where members saw Iowa's largest rocking chair! They even saw the Amana Colonies Golf Club, which is six miles of walking on the golf cart path.
For lunch OLLI members enjoyed authentic German food from an original communal kitchen at the Ronneburg Restaurant. After lunch, everyone had time on their own to explore and visit shops that featured locally made art, crafts, and food.
OLLI would like to thank the Amana Colonies for being great hosts and sharing wonderful information about the colonies.
To learn more about the Amana Colonies, please visit their website.