The Amana Colonies have always been a popular tourist spot for those curious about the communal society. The train, and later the automobile, led to increases in the number of visitors to the Colonies. In order to accommodate visitors, the Amana Society established the Amana Hotel in 1860, where a hotel manager and his family lived. Originally, just the frame portion of the building was sufficient to serve visitors and Taglöhners (hired hands). By 1884, however, demand had increased and a brick addition was constructed.
The Amana Colonies were largely insular, but the Colonies still needed contact with the outside world for business and social purposes. As an example of this, the society built a retail meat market to sell products to visitors in South Amana. Houses were provided for outside hired laborers (the taglöhners). Hotels in Amana, South Amana, and Homestead accommodated overnight guests.
The Amana Hotel stands as a testimonial to the era when the seven villages were more separated from the outside world.