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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

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Powder House
Photograph courtesy of Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau

Built in 1870 and once a part of the pharmacy complex that included the two buildings to the south, the Powder House takes its name from a product produced there by William Miller, village pharmacist. In 1908, Miller developed a recipe for hog powder, a livestock cure-all feed additive. Although his vocation was producing cures for people, in an agricultural community it is not surprising that his talents would be put to use for livestock. The powder was widely used by the Amana Society farm department and area farmers. In 1990 the windmill atop the building was rebuilt.

The Amana Colonies were not lacking in qualified doctors. By 1890 three physicians served the Colonies: Dr. Winzenried, of Amana, a graduate of Rush Medical College; Dr. Herrmann of Middle Amana, who graduated from the Medical Department of the State University of Iowa, class of 1881; and Dr. Mörschell of Homestead, another graduate from the State University of Iowa, class of

Historic photograph of the Hog Powder building c.1920
Photograph courtesy of the Amana Heritage Society

1888. During the same era, Conrad Schadt, a well-known chemist, lived in the Amana Colonies. He produced great quantities of pepsin, which helps in the digestive breakdown of protein to peptides. Pepsin is found in the stomach of hogs and used as a digestive aid. Mr. Schadt was reportedly the first man west of Chicago who began the manufacture of this item, and was, according to William Perkins, "considered the best in the market."


The Powder House is located at 4315 - 220th Trail, in Amana, and is currently a woodcraft shop. Periodic woodcrafting demonstrations can be seen here year round Monday-Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 11:00am to 4:00pm. Call 319-622-3100 or visit the website for further information.


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