The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa on June 6, 1967 · Page 30
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The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa · Page 30

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, June 6, 1967
Page 30
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Post Office at Amana reflects somber, brick style prevalent in older buildings in the Colonies. Amanas are located in east- central Iowa in some of the best farm land in the nation. Amanas are still basically an agricultural settlement, although industries have helped the villages attain a new height of prosperity. The modern appearance of Amana Refrigeration Plant contrasts with older homes. Amana today is a delightful blend of the old and new. iowa's quaint amana villages BY WILLIAM C. NELSON A mana, Iowa —Three decades ago, an air of gloom ^"» hung over the seven villages comprising the Amana ••Colonies. The communal society had slipped to the brink of bankruptcy; and the financial muddle was badly compounded by the depression. Today, the 2,500 descendants of the German craftsmen who started this quaint little community on the Iowa prairie live comfortably in an aura of prosperity. Row upon row of shiny, late-model cars are parked outside the Amana Refrigeration plant in Middle Amana. The steady hum of a factory turning out its wares at near capacity pierces the stillness of the quiet country ARTHRITIS Please write for my free information I am an arthritic. I tried 50 many things. Then one day a friend in pharmacal circles told me about a wonderful medicine. I am so grateful I want to tell everyone about Norkon, the wonderful medicine lot temporary relief in easing the minor pains and aches of arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, neuralgia, neuritis, lumbago or bursltis. Write for my remarkable experience and how thousands of others are now praising Norkon, too. It costs nothing &nd you may win so much. No obligation whatsoever. Just send your name and address to: Paul McCar. «pl. 6906 101 Pirk A»i. NY 10017 GOOD BRANDS are BETTER VALUES HOME CANNING? Fruit " 0i> S IROWNIHC ' *°0l IIUMI" t You can't go wrong for a penny a pound. You get perfect results with Fruit-Fresh every time. It preserves the natural color and flavor of fruits when canning and freezing—keeps fresh-cut fruits appetizing for hours before serving. One can of Fruit-Fresh does up to 75 Ibs. of fruit for about If per pound. Look for it at drug and grocery stores, and wherever you buy Kerr jars, caps and lids. In another village (Amana), the clackety-clack of weaving machines at the Amana Woolen plant is almost deafening to the tender ears of an outsider Inside, women working busily over the looms scarcely notice the din. At the Amana Furniture factory, skilled workers labor painstakingly over walnut and cherry wood, turning out beautifully fashioned furniture. On the farms surrounding the villages, Amana farmers watch over herds of well-fed beef cattle and hogs. What brought about the 180 degree financial turnabout? It began in 1932 when, with heavy heart, villagers voted to abandon religious communism. A modified capitalism was adopted, and it immediately pumped new life into the mainstream of Amana life. Each adult in the community received one share of common stock in a joint stock corporation, which included all the Amana industries. Additional shares of non-voting stock were issued in proportion to a person's years of service in the society. Products of the Amana Society were sent out into the competitive markets The shares of voting stock, worth only $50 apiece in 1932, skyrocketed in value as Amana businesses prospered. Today, they're worth more than $3 500 each. The change is doubly impressive in view of the fact that few "utopian" societies, such as Amana professed to be, possessed the qualities of adaptability and flexibility. • It is a remarkable change from the 75-year era when Amana wanted little to do with the outside world. Then, everything was provided for the Amana people. The community assumed all- their cares and responsibilities— medical and dental care, schooling, funerals, clothing, food, shelter. Villagers dressed alike (in somber clothes), worked alike, ate in communal kitchens in each village, and worshipped God alike. Sensual frivolities of the outside world were frowned upon. Jewelry was forbidden; as was music, poetry, dancing or any of the arts which did not relate directly to the Bible. The drab existence, though, was not unpleasant, at least not to the older generations. There was little bitterness or selfishness. There was no want or loneliness.,Amanites enjoyed the comradeship resulting from daily prayer meetings and eating dormitory style in communal dining rooms. But, as is so often the case under communism, lack of incentive began to affect the quality of work. The younger generation (caustically referred to as the drones by some older men) began to slide away from Old Order ideas and did not want to ignore the exciting, dynamic ways of the outside world. The automobile and radio brought increased exposure to a faster-paced life Then came the depression and the need to join a nation evolving around capitalism, competition and rugged individualism. When Amana changed its way, it went about the job with a flourish New techniques were integrated into every industry. Today, Amana, High Amana, Middle Amana, East Amana, West Amana, bouth Amana and Homestead are a primary Iowa attraction on the newly created Hiawatha Pioneer trail for tourists. Each of the villages, situated "one hour apart by oxen", radiates a quiet prosperity. Their crooked streets are lined with neat lawns, small vegetable gardens and somber, well-kept two-story homes of brick and stone But the Amana of the 1960's is a blend of the old and the new A startling contrast to the older homes, for example, is in the village of Amana where expensive split-level homes dot the south section of town The homes belong to Amana men who fought in the wars and were given the land upon their return. u life and tourist promotion, Amana still h oniHn t A cheris ,hed traditions. Religion and industriousness remain tt fa^tfau^ht " scto^™ " Stl " ^ * '"" Amanit6S and Amana residents have few regrets that 33 years ago they relinquished the United States g ^^ a " d m ° St succ * ssful communal society in tte

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