"A Pioneer Spirit Alive in Kalona" Kalona by deecat

Kalona Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 45 photos

Quilt Capital of Iowa

Jill and I wanted to learn more about The Old Order Amish & the Mennonites, to explore the Kalona Historical Village, and to peruse the Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum so off we drove to this small town that is just 15 miles southwest of Iowa City.

Kalona Historical Village on Highway 22 is a great example of how united this community really is. The idea started with the Historical Society's push to save the town's Depot and grew into a 2-block-long area. By 1973, the former Rock Island Railroad Depot was entirely restored & 2 other historic buildings & 2 museums were opened to the public.

It then became a joint effort of the Kalona Historical Society & the much older Mennonite Historical Society. The Mennonite Museum & Historical Archives were erected. The Historical Society opened the Wahl Museum with the Kalona Quilt & Textile Museum & the Reif Mineral Museum & gift shop.. Jill & I visited all of these.

Today, the Kalona area is home to one of the largest Old Order Amish-Mennonite settlements west of the Mississippi River.

What is obvious in Kalona is that the presence of the Amish-Mennonite traditions has been partly responsible for much of this town's conservatism & stability.

Don't confuse the Kalona Amish with the residents of Amana Colonies. "There is no connection between the two" say the tour guides. Both have German ancestry & are quite religious. Do not take photographs of the Kalona Amish because personal photographs have been "interpreted as a form of idolatry"...

There's more to Kalona than the Amish-Mennonites such as great places to eat, shop, & view the beautiful countryside.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historic, quaint, Old Order Amish & Mennonites
  • In a nutshell:A quaint small town with a pioneer spirit
  • Last visit to Kalona: May 2007
  • Intro Written Jun 19, 2007
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (14)

Comments (23)

  • jillzi's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Just how did I miss this great page, Dee? What an interesting place to visit and to soak up the culture and history.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Great story, thanks, my friend!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2009 at 3:20 AM

    Excellent page on another interesting place in the U.S. Pity you're not allowed to take pictures of the Amish. Making quilts sounds like a nice pastime. Why do they display only 7 quilts at a time? Many people will not be able to return there to see more.

  • Apr 19, 2009 at 2:39 PM

    Another "smashing" page about smalltown mid-America. You do so much to promote local or near local travel. So fasinating and the Amish/Menonite.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2008 at 9:54 AM

    interesting and very detailed wrote-ups. great stuff.

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2007 at 2:18 PM

    Thank you for a lovely virtual tour of this quaint mid western town. I’ve neglected to visit this part of our country, your pics & tips were enticing. The Amish/ Menonite cooking & cheese factory samples sound hard to resist !

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2007 at 4:03 PM

    We both seem to enjoy small out--of-the-way towns. I would have enjoyed each and every place you visited....very nice commentary, Dee!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2007 at 10:41 PM

    Another wonderful page. Learning more about Amish and Mennonites :)

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2007 at 1:54 PM

    Lovely page Dee = I started to make a quilt years ago = your page has inspired me to continue!! Loved your smiling waiter :) such lovely eyes!!

  • Jul 20, 2007 at 1:50 PM

    Warren and Paula have hit the mark on this one. The ambience they create with their wonderfully prepared food, fine wine, and warm personal touch to your experience make this a must while in SE Iowa. Consistently good.


“Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow, a promissory note; today is the only cash you have; spend it wisely. Kay Lyons”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 2
Forum Rank:
0 1 2 6 1

Badges & Stats in Kalona

  • 14 Reviews
  • 33 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 4,799PageViews

Have you been to Kalona?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Kalona

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)