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The Amana Woolen Mill is an integral part of the fabric of Amana history. In 18th century Germany, Amana forefathers founded the “Church of the True Inspiration.” Seeking religious freedom, they endured hardship and persecution for over a century.
A woolen mill was privately owned by several Inspirationalist families. Demonstrating the depth of their convictions, they liquidated the mill and donated the funds to to help purchase passage for 800 members to emigrate to America. By pooling their resources, the sect established a settlement near Buffalo, New York in 1842. Here they adopted the communal way of life. As the growth of Buffalo encroached upon their insular community, the Inspirationists looked west, and in 1855 settled in eastern Iowa.
They erected the first of seven villages and named “Amana” from a bible passage meaning “to remain faithful.”
Farming and industry were established, including the woolen mill which started operation in Amana in 1857. The members of the Amana Society lived peacefully and prospered.
Then in 1923, tragedy struck. The flour mill in Amana exploded, creating a blaze that consumed thirteen buildings. The Woolen Mill was destroyed except for the weaving department. This blow precipitated the pivotal event in Amana history that followed a decade later.
The depression, coupled with rapidly changing times compelled the Amana Society to end their communal way of life and reorganize into a privately held corporation. This is known as the “Great Change of 1932″.
In 1934, the Amana Woolen Mill Salesroom opened to the general public. The mill busied itself producing blankets and yard goods, as well as heavy coating and wool fabric for clothing manufacturers.
Although down-sized in 1985 due to economic conditions, today the warping and weaving departments remain in operation producing quality blankets in wool and cotton. The Amana Woolen Mill has had a colorful history, surviving fires, floods and wind storms. Through it all, the mill’s attention to quality has remained steadfast.
Come tour Iowa’s only remaining operating woolen mill and experience our rich heritage. See the looms in action, browse through our salesroom, visit with our employees and take home a beautiful piece of American-made history. We are located at 800 48th Ave, Amana, IA 52203. Our current store hours are 10am-5pm Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday. For more information, please call 1-800-222-6430.
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