The building that today houses Ackermann Winery in Amana (4406 220th Trail, Amana, Iowa, building # 48 – 002 – 58 in the Amana Heritage Society Building Inventory) was built in 1867. The original portion of the building was the west one-and-a-half story section. The Amana Society added the east two story addition made in 1895. An often reproduced photograph of a street scene in Amana, taken in 1894 shows the original structure without the addition.
The Amana village bakery operated from this building from 1867 until 1943 when it closed. The bake oven was located in the middle section of the long wing extending to the south, which also included a massive woodshed. The oven was approximately ten feet by ten feet and would bake 140 loaves of bread at a time.
The bakery supplied the needs of the fifteen communal kitchens located in the village of Amana as well as the village hotel. Each village had its own bakery, and the primary products of each of these bakeries were large round loaves of crusty bread. The bakers made each loaf with four pounds of dough, left to proof in round baskets woven of rye grass and coated with flour. The bakers filled the oven, typically 10 by 10 feet and approximately 18 inches high, with thinly split wood which was burned to ashes. The baker then swabbed out the oven and loaded the loaves by turning the baskets of dough onto a wooden paddle with a long handle. Approximately 140 loaves could fill the oven at one time. A
Following the reorganization of the Amana Society, in 1932, the Society sold the bakery building to George Schmieder, although the bakery operation appears to have continued under Society ownership.
In 1943, the Amana Society consolidated and modernized its baking operations. As a result, the remaining bakeries in Amana, Middle, South Amana and Homestead ceased operation and the Society opened a modern commercial bakery in the remodeled Upper South Amana General Store. One of the reasons given for the consolidation, besides efficiency and modernization, was the fact that the Society found it difficult to hire men to cut the wood necessary to supply the ovens as war related industries provided better paying jobs for potential woodcutters.
After the bakery closed in 1943, Schmieder's son in law, Paul Oehl (1904 – 1981), remodeled the former bakery area as an apartment for his family consisting of his wife, Frieda and children Madeline, Florence and Don. This remodeling included the removal of the bake oven, brick by brick and stone by stone. According to tradition, some of material from the oven went into the construction of a small porch on the west side of the building.Read More