Today, visitors to the Amana General Store are often surprised when they first walk in. Expecting to find only items made in Amana they soon discover that it is stocked with a great many things from around the world. It has always been that way.
The Amana Colonies are set up in an old world way and the crafts are each housed in their own shop. The general store served the purpose of bringing the outside world, and those things that could not be made in Amana, to the community and also to the farmers living adjacent to Amana land.
The Amana Society opened a store on this site in 1856, just one year after arriving in Iowa. That original building was replaced by the Sandstone portion of the building in 1858 with the brick portion added in 1890. Back in those days the members of the community did not work for money. They were given their room and board along with clothing, furniture and those essentials needed to survive. Each person was given credit at the store so they could purchase a few extra things for themselves and the family.
Today the General Store is home to some of the most unique items including specialty foods, and coffees, along with gifts both made in Amana and those from far off lands. If you walk through the slight arch way to the right of the front door you’ll enter the International Christmas Market where you’ll find ornaments and decorations from around the world.
An interesting feature of the General Store is the 3 vaults each located on a separate floor. At one time these held money and valuable documents but today they are used for additional merchandise and display.Read Full Transcript
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