Tiffin and West Branch Community Information

Each of the towns in the Crossroads area has a unique history. While Tiffin and Oxford are fairly new bedroom communities, Amana was settled by German families seeking religious freedom in the 1840s. Christian Metz and 800 members of the Community of True Inspiration built each of the seven villages by hand, complete with houses, shops, mills, factories, churches and schoolhouses to meet the needs of their growing community. Amana and the rest of the colonies resembled an old-world German village with one long street and several roads leading from it.

West Liberty was initially a railroad community growing up at intersecting lines of the Rock Island railroad. The west branch of the Wapsinonoc Creek naturally became the location of West Branch, Iowa. Eight families staked out land by the water, including Eli Hoover, a Quaker carpenter and grandfather to former President Herbert Hoover. The town flourished during a great period of farm prosperity called the ?Golden Era of American Agriculture.?

Today, all five communities are thriving residential and/or economic centers. Amana, of course, is world-renowned as part of the Amana Colonies. Many of the original buildings still stand in the colonies, which are a National Historic Landmark. The town of Amana has numerous cultural and recreational attractions, such as the Museum of Amana History, Mini-Americana Barn Museum and the Industrial Machine Shop. Merchants sell original Amana products. The inspired home cooking in Amana communal kitchens is legendary.

Nearby parks include Kolonieweg Recreational Trail, Amana Colonies Nature Trail and Lily Lake. West Branch is home to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Secrest 1883 Octagonal Barn. Sixteen buildings in downtown West Branch have been designated as a National Historic District, a tribute to the agricultural ?Golden Era.? Happy to maintain its small-town charm, West Liberty recently restored the brick streets downtown and several affordable housing subdivisions are under construction.

Students in Tiffin, West Branch, Oxford, West Liberty and Amana are served by a number of public school districts depending on age and location. Local districts include the Clear Creek-Amana Community School District and the West Liberty Community School District. With a student/teacher ratio of 14:1, more than 44 percent of students in the West Liberty district go on to a four-year college or university. Private and parochial schools are also available nearby. For post-secondary education, Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa are within driving distance.

Of course, nearby Iowa City serves as a center for culture, education and recreation. The annual Iowa Arts Festival features the state?s best visual art, music and food. The Riverside Theatre and the University of Iowa?s Hancher Auditorium are popular community theatres. Iowa City is also home to more than 41 public parks, many of which overlook the scenic Iowa River. To the north of Iowa City, nestled amid rolling hills and lush tall grasses, is Coralville Lake. This 5,000-acre body of water is perfect for boating, fishing, swimming and water-skiing and is surrounded by attractive hiking, biking and cross-country skiing trails.

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