Saturday, November 1, 2014
The General Store
The Amana Society had general stores, one of 3 major industries, in each of the seven villages, usually managed by the men. They carried items unique to them as needlework supplies, kitchen items, pottery, gifts, and appliances. In the communal days members used their "purchase books" to buy groceries, quilts, fabrics, cigars, boots, shoes, vinegar, kerosene,tools, church garb, fabrics, linens, candy, toys, and molasses. Barrels of vinegar, molasses and pickled bettering were stored in the store basements. At Christmastime, one could find chocolate mice or ice cream, pop, or fancy candy. Long counters held baskets filled with coffee, tea, Sugar and spices for the weekly community kitchen supply. Stores were built of local sandstone or brick. Hitching posts used to line the front drive. The High Amana store remains the most original with its pressed tin ceilings and grain painted cupboards. Visitors came from all over to shop at the local General stores of the Amana Society since 1933. Only High and Amana stores remain open. Locals were asked to keep gardens, yards, lawns neat to attract tourists. Large signs on the community borders welcome visitors and improve the economy while respecting the local customs, heritage, and traditions.