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[graphic header] The Amana Colonies: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary of a unique historic communal society in eastern Iowa

[graphic] West Amana General Store
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[photo]
Built in 1862, the West Amana General Store still stands as a reminder of its role as a hub for business
Photograph by Shannon Bell

Built in 1862, the West Amana General Store retains much of its original appearance despite its varied uses over the years. As a general store, it supplied community members and people from surrounding towns with goods. People traveled some distance to shop in the Amana Colonies. The general stores in Upper South Amana, Homestead, West Amana, and Amana served as hubs of business for large areas surrounding those towns. The Amana villages differed greatly from other Iowa towns and villages not only because of their density and homogeneous communal homes, but also because the uniformity of the architecture among diverse types of buildings. The uniqueness of the Amana villages was a result of the simplicity and similarity of their buildings and the spaces surrounding them. The Inspirationists of Amana used only one standard design for residential, industrial, and institutional buildings. Because of the non-competitive, self-reliant philosophies of Amana society, there were no commercial establishments other than the general store where each member received a yearly allowance for merchandise.

[photo]
Historic photograph of tourists at the West Amana Store, c.1930
Photograph courtesy of the Amana Heritage Society

Beginning in the 1970s, the Amana Society leased the building and it has operated primarily as an antique store. In the 1980s, the West Amana post office was also located at the store for a short time.

The West Amana General Store is located at 511 F St, in West Amana, and is presently a large antique shop, open to the public 10:00am to 5:00pm daily.

 

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