The Amana Colonies

The Inspirationists emerged in the early 1700’s as part of the Pietist and Spiritualist movement within the Lutheran Church in Germany. Eberard Gruber and Johann Friedrich Rock were early spiritual leaders in this Community of the True Inspirationalists. The Inspirationalists placed a great deal of emphasis on the development and the nurture of Inner Life via direct mystical contact with God. A strong commitment to church discipline and close community relationships also characterized the Inspirationists.

In 1842, 800 German Inspirationists settled near Buffalo, New York, and began to practice full communal life institutionalizing precepts concerning dress and lifestyle. For economic and spiritual reasons, however, the group bought 18.000 acres in Iowa in 1854 and called their new home “Amana” a word taken from the Old Testament Song of Solomon, which means “to remain faithful.”

In 1932, the year of the “Great Change,” community of goods was discontinued. Strict regulations on dress and lifestyle have also been gradually eliminated. Church life itself however, continues with its spiritualistic pattern and simple form of worship. in unadorned meetinghouses.

Despite the large number of visitors who come to the Amana villages each year, many unique cultural traditions remain and are, in fact, affirmed and passed on from generation to generation.

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Old Order Amish and the Amana Colonies

Two Unique Cultures in Southeast Iowa By Rod A. Janzen ©1988

© 2017 Kal Hist Soc