Manufacturing Products, Building Lives
Among gently sloping farmland in east-central Iowa lies a distinctive community called the Amana Colonies. Comprised of seven villages on 26,000 acres, the villages were built and settled by German Pietists who were persecuted in their homeland and sought refuge in the United States in 1856. They lived a secluded and communal life until the 1930s, when the Great Depression forced the Amanians to open up to the outside world, an event known as “The Great Change.”
Today, their buildings and businesses still stand as a testament to those religious refugees, open to tourists who want an authentic German meal at one of the restaurants, or to sample craft goods, antiques or meats and cheeses from the various shops.
Amana Refrigeration was one business that emerged after “The Great Change,” eventually being purchased by Raytheon, then Maytag, and finally acquired by Whirlpool Corporation in 2006.