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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] High Amana Cemetery
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High Amana Cemetery
Photograph by Shannon Bell

The Amana Colony cemeteries were all laid out within a few years of the settlement of their respective villages with each of the cemeteries traditionally surrounded by a hedge of pine trees. Conifers were frequently planted in and around cemeteries because they keep their leaves all winter and were regarded as religiously symbolic of the eternal life promised through Christ. Originally wooden markers were used in the Amana Colony cemeteries. These markers were approximately the same size as the concrete ones now in use, and had the name of the deceased, date of death and age at death printed on them. Around the turn of the century, the process of replacing these early markers with the more durable concrete began. Graves in the Amana Colony cemeteries all face east, as this is the direction from which the Inspirationists believe Christ will approach at the time of the Second Coming. Until the 1930s, suicide victims were buried in a separate section and faced west. Children and non-Amana Church members are still buried in separate sections of the cemeteries. Church members are buried in chronological order of death, reflecting a degree of practicality, the belief that all are equal, and the belief that all are brothers and sisters in Christ and, therefore, the entire cemetery is a "family plot."

Another cemetery in the Amana Colonies - this in East Amana
Photograph courtesy of the Amana Heritage Society

William Perkins, in his 1891 book about the Inspirationists, wrote, "The burial customs are simple, without the ostentation of many other denominations. No costly monuments are used, but only a simple slab of wood, bearing an inscription of the name and age of the deceased. They do not believe in prayer for the dead nor in any outward form of mourning, but the memory of the departed members is cherished with more than filial affection in the hearts of friends, --something worth more than hired mourners and outward show."

The High Amana Cemetery is located at G St. and 16th Ave., in High Amana. It is privately owned and is not open to the public.


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