The Amana Heritage Society (AHS) has announced its intention to purchase the Ruedy Home and Communal Kitchen Museum in Middle Amana, one of the most historically significant properties in the Amana Colonies, a National Historic Landmark.

This 1863 structure served as one of more than 50 communal kitchens feeding a communal-era population peaking at 1,800 members around 1890. The property retains all of its original structures, including residence, kitchen, wash house, woodshed, and chicken house.

During modernization in the Amanas, most wash houses and woodsheds fell out of use and were then demolished.

Unlike most families after the Great Change in 1932, the Ruedy family required no additional living space, leaving the communal kitchen untouched. In 1955, the kitchen and dining room opened as a museum and the AHS has leased it since 1983. Over the past decade, the Ruedy family has been donated its extensive artifact collection to the site.

Owning the entire property now allows AHS to offer a wider range of interpretation of Amana’s culinary heritage, how the kitchens functioned, and the high degree of organization in this highly successful planned community. Authentic communal dinners have been a major part of programming for the past two seasons, along with sampling opportunities that will expand.

Members have already donated more than two-thirds of the funds required to purchase the property.

For more information, go to amanaheritage.org, email amanaheritag@southslope.net or call 319-622-3567.

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