About 45 minutes south of Cedar Rapids you come to the Iowa Amish settlement at Kalona, set among the lovely rolling hills of Johnson and Washington counties. There are 8 or 9 church districts here, making it one of the largest settlements west of the Mississippi.
In addition to traditional dairying, raising and milking goats has become especially popular in this settlement in recent years. One young couple even milks sheep.
Backtrack a bit towards Cedar Rapids, go west on Highway 6 and you’ll find the Amana colonies–founded by a group of people who, though having German roots, are completely unrelated to the Old Order Amish to the south.
Tourists sometimes mistake the two groups–German heritage, similar names and proximity to one another cause some confusion.
The Amanas once practiced a lifestyle of shared goods and group rules for dress, eating and social behavior, among other things. However, they abandoned communalism as well as plain clothing long ago.
The Amana church still exists, and a number of the old traditions remain.
Read more on Amana history.
One last point of note–you might have recognized the Amana name on any number of appliances produced by Amana refrigeration.
More on Iowa Amish:
Iowa Amish State Guide–a directory of Amish communities across the Hawkeye State
Amish Furniture-Iowa–a listing of Amish furniture retailers in Iowa
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