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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] Lily Lake
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Lily Lake
Photograph from "The Amana Colonies," printed by the Amana Society in 1974
The well-known Lily Lake between Amana and Middle Amana was formed about 1880 when a break in the Mill Race levee flooded a low slough area. The lake derives its name from the thousands of yellow American lotus lilies which bloom across the 170-acre lake in the summertime, for which it has become famous. The Lily Lake played several important roles in communal Amana. It served as a source of ice for both Amana and Middle Amana, which was then stored in village ice houses. The Lake also provided recreational opportunities for the colonists including fishing and ice-skating. During the communal period, lilies from the lake were sold to tourists, thus providing the colonists with a source for additional income.

The Lake's famous lilies
Photograph courtesy of and by Karen M. Oehl

One of Amana's most beautiful sights, it has become an inspiration for artists and photographers. A year-round haven for wildlife, the Lily Lake is a resting spot to migrating birds. Herons, bald eagles, muskrats and other animals occupy this ecological niche in a part-marsh, part-lake habitat. The Lily Lake is surrounded by a 3.1 mile recreational trail, the Kolonieweg (colony path), that connects the villages of Amana and Middle Amana.


Lily Lake is located between Amana and Middle Amana, south of the 220th Trail that connects these two villages. The recreational trail that surrounds the lake can be accessed from the 220th Trail or at the Amana Depot, Amana.


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