(Video) Iowa small town stories: the Amana Colonies, where past is present What I found intriguing about this scene was the simple yet complex way the heavy light splashed across Karolee Mell's hand as she sanded a piece of wood on the stroke sander. This for her is a normal day at the Amana Furniture Shop, but for someone like me this setting was unique and the way the light caught her handy work really made the image” said Gazette Multimedia Intern Jessie Wardarski. (Jessie Wardarski/The Gazette) Share this story By Gazette Visuals Iowa is full of small towns, but it’s the people, culture and history that make each town unique. The seven Amana Colonies, which were formed in 1854, are located just between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. They are a community rooted deep in German heritage whose people continue to carry on the many legacies and traditions of their predecessors. In this video Gazette Photojournalist Jessie Wardarski depicts life in the past, present and a look at what will be the future of the Amana Colonies through the voices of 87-year-old Isabella Schaefer, Millstream Co-Owner Teresa Albert, Amana Furniture Shop Manager Bruce Trumpold and President and Owner of the Ox Yoke Inn, Bill Leichsenring.