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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] Colony Inn Restaurant
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Front view of Colony Inn Restaurant
Photograph by Shannon Bell

The Amana Colonies have always been a popular tourist spot, and even before the Reorganization of 1932, people visited the Amana villages out of curiosity about the communal society. The train, and later the automobile, greatly increased the number of visitors to the Amana Colonies. In order to accommodate the needs of travelers and visiting businessmen who came to the Amana Colonies to do business with the woolen and cereal mills, the Amana Society established the Amana Hotel in 1860, where a hotel manager and his family lived. Since 1932, the building has remained in the service of visitors as a hotel and currently as a restaurant. Originally just the frame portion of the building was sufficient to serve visitors and Taglöhners (hired hands). By 1884, however, demand had increased and the brick addition was constructed.

Historic photograph of the Colony Inn Restaurant, c.1940
Photograph courtesy of the Amana Heritage Society

Life in the Amana Colonies was very insular, but the Colonies still needed contact with the greater world. The Inspirationists, despite their desire to create a spiritual alternative to the secular world surrounding the Amana Colonies, needed the outside world for business and social purposes. As an example of this, the society built a retail meat market to sell products to visitors in South Amana. Houses were provided for outside hired laborers (the taglöhners). Hotels in Amana, South Amana, and Homestead accommodated overnight guests. The Amana Hotel stands as a testimonial to the era when the seven villages were more separated from the outside world.

The Colony Inn Restaurant is located at 741 47th Ave., in Amana. It serves German family-style meals here year round, 7:00am to 2:30pm, 4:00pm to 8:00pm Monday-Saturday and 7:00am to 7:30pm Sunday. Call 319-622-3030 or visit the website for further information.


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