A few of the colonists were skilled in managing woolen goods and this is how they financed the original group to emigrate from Germany to America. Originally the colonists settled in a town they named Ebenezer in New York (by Buffalo, NY). A large portion of the woolen mill machinery from Germany was shipped to America and a mill was established (in Ebenezer, NY) in 1846.
Land became scarce in Ebenezer, NY for their growing community so they sought more land elsewhere. This is how they came to the Iowa River valley and ultimately the 26,000 acres that make up the Amana Colonies today.
The mill equipment was moved again and the woolen mill you see today, built in 1857, in Amana, Iowa is the finished product. The mill not only produced goods for the community’s use, but it also gained a reputation nationally for there goods.
The Amana Woolen Mill is Iowa’s only working woolen mill today. It houses everything you could imagine. Wool blankets (too scratchy for my taste), cotton blankets, hats, scarves, shawls, slippers, you name it, they probably have it or they could make it. It still has the original looms with over 280 bobbins of yarn to make whatever your heart desires. Too much information for me to absorb.
The building in back housed a repair shop as well as a custom cutlery and ironworks shop. Today it acts as a museum. A small counter in the shop/museum sells a local artisans custom cutlery. Beautiful hand made knives. Now that I’m sure, is a lost art.
Very interesting history here. If these walls could talk they’d tell you about the many fires, floods and winds it has endured. They certainly don’t make buildings like this anymore.