The Homestead Meat Shop and Smokehouse was built around 1868, and processed meat for several communal kitchens in the village of Homestead. Most butchering was done in the fall and winter, and meat was smoked in the smokehouse in order to preserve it. A small brick building to the west of the meat market is the last remaining drying house in the Amana Colonies.
Many Amana Colony recipes came from the German province of Westphalia, famed for its method for curing and smoking of fine hams to a distinctive flavor. These recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and remain largely unchanged.
Butcher shops and smoking towers were substantial buildings in the Amana villages, and were usually simple gabled buildings, most built of brick and stone. Each village also had a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, a cabinet shop, a wagon shop, a tailor shop, a bakery, a broom shop, a basket shop, a cobbler's shop, at least one ice house, a harness shop and an apiary.