(AV09119) Iowa TV Schooltime: Landmarks in Iowa History #2- Amana


TV Schooltime the Iowa State Teachers
College presents another program in the Iowa TV Schooltime series Landmarks in
Iowa History, today’s topic is Amana your teachers Herb Hake of Iowa Hello boys and girls this is a cold one
again today, isn’t it? Almost too cold to take pictures but whenever I visit a
landmark in Iowa I always like to take some pictures today I took a picture
with a filter on my lens you know why I use that? Because if you put a filter
over the lens it darkens the sky now you see this building back here is made out
of stone and it’s the light gray and in order to make that building stand out
against the sky to use a green or a yellow filter and that darkens the sky
makes the more attractive picture you know what this building is? This is the
church at Amana now when you say Amana it may be a little confusing unless you
realize that there are seven villages and only one of them has just the one
name the central village where the offices of the Amana of Society are
located is called just Amana and all the other villages have an adjective in
front of the word Amana like Easter Amana or Middle Amana or Western Amana
but this one is just Amana every one of these villages has a church and the
villages with the exception of Amana have red brick churches but this one in
Amana in the central village is made of stone and this is my favorite because
it has the old original stone in it stone quarried here near Amana a long
time ago and here it still stands as firm as the rock from which it was built
now Amana that is the Amana colony is a German community and has been for over a
hundred years many times we think of Germans in the way that they are shown
in cartoons with big bushy mustaches that are used
straining beer and we think of them as eating sauerkraut and knockwurst and
things like that but Germans particularly the Germans who live here
in Amana are good American citizens and we mustn’t make the mistake of thinking
that Germans are a special kind of people and that you can always recognize
a German when you see him because he had a big mustache and because he’s carrying
a beer stein now I bought this beer stein in Amana because I think it’s a
very attractive cup very attractive stein and it happens that this
particular stein has uh an old German song on it hmm see the lettering on
there [ Speaking in German] [Speaking in German] now our
schnitzel box is a whittling bench as you see there at the top and there are
many other things here and they’re all labeled in German this is a Cortland
Blanc here’s a hint on hair a swing going back and forth here’s a crutch
link where a sawhorse and all of these things are parts of an old German song
but the reason I’m showing you this is that just because the Germans like to
drink beer and not just Germans like to drink beer either as you may have
noticed on television but just because the Germans like to drink beer and have
these beautiful signs out of which to drink it is no sign that all Germans are
beer guzzlers and you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that if you go to Amana you’ll see everybody waving a sign and drinking beer there are other ideas
about the Germans which are equally false let me show you one of them put up
my drawing board here we must not make the mistake of thinking
that just because people are of German origin that they all look alike let me
draw a question mark here and we’ll see if we can get some kind of an idea about
Germans from that what does a typical German look like you suppose we can
answer that question by looking at this question mark and developing it a little
bit well let me show you that cartoons do not always give you a true answer
because I can make a cartoon of a German out of this out of one kind of a German
and I’m sure that your father or your elder brother and or your uncle or
someone may have told you at some time about a very mean and brutal German
whose name was Adolf Hitler and who caused a lot of suffering throughout the
world and this was a German now the people in Amana are not like
Hitler as a matter of fact the people who settled Amana left Germany because
they didn’t like the kind of things that men like Hitler represented a long time
before Hitler was born these people who settled Amana left Germany because they
didn’t like the Prussian army system they didn’t like this idea that
everybody had to serve in the German army and that the German state was based
upon this idea of warfare and of dominating other people in Europe
because of this idea of fighting they didn’t like fighting
now of course Hitler believed in conquering the world through war he
believed that the Germans were a super race well the Germans who came to Amana
didn’t have any ideas like that they were religious people religion was the
most important thing in their lives and because the old Germany that they left
was war-like they decided to come to America and get away from all that so
don’t confuse the people in Amana with Germans like Hitler it’s a good
thing we don’t have many Germans like this because if we did we would be in
Wars all the time well I wanted to say this at the beginning so when we talk
about the Germans who live here in Amana you won’t be thinking about the
kind of Germans that we see in cartoons so many times cartoons are fun to watch
but they are not always very faithful now let’s talk a little bit about how
this Amana colony came to be established here in
well that chalk of Hitler over there how this Amana colony came to be
established in Iowa in 17th and 18th centuries there was a group of German
mystics or pietistic who didn’t like the idea of serving in the army or taking the oath of
loyalty to the Prussian Army system and so a little bit later on in the 19th
century a man named Christian Metz a carpenter who lived in run aboard
Germany had a vision and in this vision he was told to cross the ocean and take
his people to the New World to America and in 1842 he came to this country with
a small group and they found an old Indian Reservation near Buffalo New York
and they decided to buy it eight thousand acres an old Seneca Indian
Reservation and in a few years this became quite a settlement now the idea
that Christian Metz had was that the community should be founded upon
religious ideas that all who believed were gathered together and held
everything in common now this was what was called religious communism this is
not to be confused with the kind of communism we have in Russia today this
religious communism was founded upon the church the church was the all-powerful
body and it controlled not only the the religion of the people but also
everything they did and they owned everything together
there was no rich man no poor man everyone had the same and they all
worked toward the same end well they were happy here in this little community
which was called Ebenezer but as more and more people came from
Germany the 8,000 acres proved to be too small and they didn’t like this idea of
being so close to Buffalo because a big city had many temptations for the young
people and so Christian Metz sent some men out further west to look over the
land they went first to a place in Kansas and they didn’t like that so well
and they came back to Ebenezer and reported the Christian Metz and Christian
Metz said well look again look in Iowa and so they went to Iowa and they found
a beautiful place here on the Iowa River and they bought 18,000 acres here in
1854, 12 years after they had settled in Ebenezer the land here in Ebenezer was
sold and in a few years all the people had left Ebenezer and moved to this
place in Iowa on the Iowa River I can show you the location of the Amana
Colonies a little better on this map of Iowa here is Amana on the Iowa River about 20 miles northwest
of Iowa City here is Iowa City which was at that time the capital of Iowa well in
a few years this became a quite a thriving community and this was chosen
because there was good land for farming there were materials for building there
was a stone quarry nearby native stone which could be quarried for buildings
there was clay which could be made into brick and there was a great deal of
timber which could be used for lumber so all of these things proved very
effective and it was not near a large city and so Christian Metz said this is an
ideal place we will draw a circle around ourselves here and keep the world out
and we will live our life of religious faith and devotion in this area and he
decided to call it Amana a name which comes from the Song of Solomon and it
means [German phrase] in the German words or remain faithful
in other words remain faithful to the ideals of our faith
now the Amana colony is not just one village sometimes we hear people refer
to the Amana Colonies as though there were several colonies
well the colony is the whole thing that is a the combination of villages the
villages which are combined into one society here we are today this is Amana this is the central village this is the place where the society offices
are located and then there are six other villages and they take their names from
the location that they have with reference to the central village here
for example is East Amana because it lies farthest to the east now the people
who live in the Amana colony don’t say East Amana they just say East for example
someone in Amana may say I think I’ll drive over to East for a few minutes and
that means he’s going to drive over to East Amana or he may say I’m going to
drive over to Middle or I’m going to drive to West and that means the people
who know that they are going to Middle Amana or to Western Amana and so on so
here is East here is Amana here is Middle where
the Freezer Factory is located here is High Amana
so-called because it’s on the highest elevation of land in this whole colony
here is West because it lies farthest to the west and here is south now South is
broken into two parts there is lower south because it lies in a little Valley
here on highway 6 this dark black line here is highway 6 goes to Iowa City in
this direction and Marengo is over this way and then a mile further toward the
south there is upper south Upper South Amana this is where the bakery is
located so when you hear a reference to lower south that means
the the main village where the church for South Amana is located and where the
village is located there’s a sandwich shop here right on the highway and when
you hear reference to Upper South that means the bakery this is the only one of
the villages that doesn’t have the name named Amana in it
this is homestead in 1861 the Mississippi and Missouri railroad came
from Iowa City to this point and the people in Amana who had drawn this
circle around themselves in order to keep the world out discovered that they
couldn’t completely keep the world out and so they decided that the railroad
would give them a chance to send their products from their mills and factories
to the outside world and you know what they did they bought the whole town they
just bought this whole town of homestead railroad station and all and this became
the seventh village this is homestead the name homestead was given to it by
the railroad company and of course we don’t have the Mississippi and Missouri
Railroad now this is the Rock Island lines now and this is a branch of the
Norwalk erode that goes on up to Cedar Rapids so these are the seven villages
East Amana Amana Middle Amana High Amana West Amana South Amana consisting of
lower south and upper south and homestead that is the colony
now there are many books that tell you the story of Amana this is the best one
in my judgment this was written by Bertha M. Shambal and it is called a
manner that was and a manner that is the reason for that title is that until 1932
the Amana colony maintained this religious communism the elders were the
governing body not only for the church but also for the farm life the factory
life everything that went on in the seven villages and then people came in
to the Amana colony to see the customs of the people who lived there
you see they the families all lived in separate houses but they didn’t take
their meals there in each village there was a community dining hall and many as
sixty people would eat there and the women all took turns preparing the food
and washing the dishes and so on and everyone ate there in these community
dining halls because they owned everything in common those that believed
were gathered together and held everything in common the houses belong
to the society but families lived in them separately you see but everything
was a spirit of religious communism well the tourists came in to see all this the
radio brought news of activities out in the world at large the young people got
a little restless and so in 1932 it was decided after much prayer and
consideration to give up communism and to adopt capitalism and all the people
who lived in the Amana colony were given shares of stock in the Amana society and
even though there is still this combination of activity all toward a
common goal the families now earn salaries you see and get dividend from
their shares of stock and the young people can go out into the world and
and developed careers of their own instead of just staying within this
colony and following in their father’s footsteps Bills Uber for example who has
a restaurant at Homestead now went off to become a
picture for the New York Yankees and there were other people who followed
careers of their own in the old days that would never have been done
they were the stayed right in the community and have been a part just of
the life of the colony so Amana that is refers to the capitalistic society
which is now the rule in Amana and has been since 1932 now there are some
very interesting magazines here is The Iowan for July 1954 the Amana issue
and if you write to the offices of The Iowan magazine in Shenandoah Iowa you
may still be able to get a copy of this The Iowan magazine and this is filled
with stories and pictures about Amana price is 35 cents here is the Palimpsest
for June 1950 also completely devoted to the story of Amana a Palimpsest as you
know and as I have often told you is the magazine of the State Historical Society
in Iowa City and you may still be able to get a copy of this for 25 cents then
there is the story of Amana which is published by the Amana Society
itself and you can get this by writing to the Amana Society in Amana Iowa and
send 25 cents for this now let me show you a few pictures this was the home of Christian Metz the
founder of Amana and this is typical Amana architecture built of brick or
stone close clip eaves no decoration on the outside this porch was added many
years later here is the trellis on the side most of these houses had trellis on
them for grapes and at the time Christian Metz lived there this TV
antenna wasn’t on there this is something that has come in since 1932
here is a painting of John of a man I made by John Noi the famous Amana
painter they’re dead now but there are many paintings by John Moyer which are
still to be seen on the walls of the restaurant in Amana this is a typical
Amana architecture notice the stone this is native stone and here is the Amana
freezer plant you see and here are many commercials about Amana freezers on
television now this factory is the only one in the Amana colony which is no
longer owned by the Amana Society this was sold in 1950 through outside
interests but the people of Amana still work here this is the freezer
factory at Middle Amana and here is the winery here is where Colin a wine is
made and sold on the commercial market looks just like an ordinary house there
in Amana but the wine press and so on are back
here and here is a typical farmstead as you drive through the Amana villages and
there are about 25,000 acres in the Amana Colony now you’ll be impressed by
the fact that there are no farm houses all the people who work the farms live
in these villages then they go out to work the farms
and the barns and silos and machine sheds and so on are on the edge of the
villages now farming is still the most important thing in Amana of these
25,000 acres 19,500 are devoted to the cultivation of crops and for pasture five
thousand acres are devoted to timber and the timber of course is used for making
the fine Amana furniture now that doesn’t leave much left in the total of
twenty five thousand acres of it 19500 for farming five thousand for timber how
much is left five hundred acres right now this must include the 160 acre lake
all the factory sites the place for the villages and the roads we see mainly this
is farming community they have about 5,000 cattle the beetle is Hereford and
dairy cattle is Holstein have about 500 Holstein cows after you milk and they
have 8,000 hogs to provide raw materials for the meat market and of course the
the farming is such an important thing that the products from Amana it is the
meat product and the bread baked goods and so on are so important that this
becomes a very vital part of the whole operation now I’d like to have you see
briefly some movies that I took several years ago when I visited Amana and this
will show you some of the other activities in the Amana villages Mr.
Bork has that film in Ames so if you can hear me Mr. Bork if you already here
we go here is they will um no this is the oldest Factory in the Amana colony
the people who settled Amana that is the
members of the community of True Inspiration operated a woolen mill in
Germany as early as 1838 and so it was natural that they brought their they
would bring their crafts to this country this is the woolen mill which is
located in Amana on a canal which is seven miles long and which the founders
of Amana dug by hand between the years 1865 and 69 and I see it
powers this mill provides at least some of the power the canal was dug between a
bend in the Iowa River on the west through the Iowa River on the east this
again is the woolen mill I took this in the summer that’s why the windows are
open they’re all closed today and if you look in the background you can see the
Amana cabinet shop where the fine furniture made out of solid walnut and
cherry is made here is the store and the newer building coming into the picture
there is the office of the Amana Society there in the background is the home of
Christian Metz and as we grow across the street here we see the Oxyoke Inn there
are three famous in eating establishment in Amana the Run Aboard, the Oxyoke Inn
and the colony notice the stone there 1858 if that were in the corner that
would be a corner stone with them but it’s in the gable instead so it’s a
gable storm this is a typical Amana store and here
we see the old and the new side-by-side the old building erected in 1858 and
here the officers of the Amana Society right next door there’s the main office and here is that
lake that I mentioned a moment ago in July this 160 acre lake which is between
Amana and Middle Amana is covered with blooms yellow lotus lilies and this
is a site that is worth traveling many miles to see you can tell this is a
movie because there are birds flying over it now if you look in the
background there you can see the water tank of the Freezer Factory coming into
the picture here in just a minute there it is
that’s the Freezer Factory in middle this is a beautiful lake and here is a cemetery every village had
this Cemetery this is the one for Amana notice that
all the stones are the same size showing that there is no difference and they’re
all considered to be alike in the eyes of God there’s only one stone that looks a
little bit different than the others and I’ll show you that in just a minute have
a close up here coming up now that is a typical stone there’s another and the last stone here
is the one that marks the final resting place of Christian Metz and that is white
that is the only distinction now I wish I could show you some of the products
made here in Amana but I got here too late this morning and I didn’t have time
to gather them all together so you’ll have to visit Amana and see them for
yourself next week we are going to the scene of the Spirit Lake Massacre so I
hope you will be with me there until next week goodbye today no teacher has been perfect
Abajo State Teachers College Latin Iowan history is produced for Iowa TV Schooltime by WOY TV an association with Iowa State Teachers College TV school time is
presented daily Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. by the Iowa joint
committee for educational television

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