Amana Colonies are Established
In the 1850s the Inspirationists moved to Iowa and established the Amana Colonies.
They call themselves the Community of True Inspiration. A community because they were bond together by common religious beliefs; true Inspiration because their leaders claimed to be directly inspired by God. They inspired leaders of this group were called the Werkzeug, which means "instrument of God." The Werkzeug told of how God directed them to shun the accepted state church with its priests and bishops and elaborate services and create a new order. An order that practiced simplicity, humility and strict adherence to the teachings of the Bible.
In 1842, because of increased persecution from the church and rising land costs, the Werkzeug of that time, Christian Metz, told his followers that God had directed him to lead them to America where they would be free to worship as they chose. They founded the town of Ebenezer in New York. They continued the communal way of life they had followed in Europe in order to survive in the new world. They built their own mills and in every way tried to make themselves independent of the outside world. This soon became impossible as New York became more and more developed. If they were to remain isolated, they would have to move again. In 1854 the western frontier beaconed to the Inspirationists and over the next 10 years the moved the Ebenezer colony, mills and all, to Iowa. Once here they established seven villages on 24,000 acres of land.
The Iowa Heritage Communities of Belief