Quick Amish Home Tour

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When I close my eyes and think of an Amish home I think of the one featured in the Harrison Ford film Witness.  The home actually resembles Lovina’s and her mother’s: rambling, two-story, white clapboard homes surrounded by outbuildings and a spacious, well-tended garden.  The first photo below is of an Amish home in Lancaster  courtesy of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Pretty typical of what you picture when you think of an Amish home? Me too.

 

But not all Amish homes are created equal.  The more conservative an Amish settlement is the more…no-frills…the homes tend to be.  This is a generalization, but I’ve generally found it to be true.  The Swartzentruber Amish homes tend to be more spartan, as do more conservative Old Order Amish.  Beeville, Texas is a very conservative, small Old Order Amish settlement and their homes are generally without siding and sported rusty metal roofs.  The next photo is from a more conservative Amish settlement: Bowling Green, Missouri.  Thank you, Beth, for this photo.  Notice the absence of siding and the relative lack of lawn (although unlike the absolute most conservative communities, this house does have a shingled roof) as indicators that this is a pretty conservative settlement.  Now, in fairness, maybe the house is going to get siding (note some of the house has it), but houses without siding in more conservative settlements are not uncommon and it’s just not a priority purchase.  And on the other end of the spectrum, some Amish homes really are quite striking in their beauty (beauty, however, is in the eye of the beholder…I think the white farmhouses are pretty, but I think there is also a sort of barren beauty to places like the one pictured above in Bowling green).  The Old Order Amish of St. Ignatius, Montana live in some rather large log homes and very well-kept, tidy “mini-mansions” with lovely lawns and bountiful gardens.  This photo is of an Amish home in the relatively more liberal and prosperous community of Grabill, Indiana. Thanks, Dave Shaner, for this picture.  Note the much more modern design and brick facade.  If not for the lack of wires running into the home that could be a suburban soccer Mom and Dad dwelling in Anywhere, America.  So like with most things about the Amish, you can’t paint with a broad brush.  There are huge variations from place to place.  The insides of homes can yield even more striking differences and I’ll take you on a photo tour of the insides of a selection of Amish homes sometime soon, so stay tuned!

 

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The Discussion

  1. Sara in IN says:


    The photo looks more like they are in the middle of a construction project, waiting for time or money to do the siding. Lack of siding is false economy, and that settlement in MO must be in some special warm part of the state, or siding will be purchased and put up when fall crops are in. The homeowner must have no worries of livestock or other wild critters messing with the insulation and getting in the house. Putting up siding and caulk will keep out mice, chipmunks, insects and dust in warm climates, as well.

    I really hate to see what could happen to a house without siding when pigs or horses got out and started to investigate the house. In bear country, I shudder to think what could happen.

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    • Yes, I’m not suggesting that a house without siding is a permanent feature…. in a very conservative settlement, just that it’s not necessarily a “priority purchase” by design or by economic circumstance…so in some of the more conservative settlements “siding free” homes is not an uncommon sight, whatever the ultimate reason….
      Kevin recently posted..Quick Amish Home TourMy Profile

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  2. What I notice about the Amish homes is so many ‘add on’s’. I imagine its because the ederly parents need a place.
    We just spent a few days in Arthur, IL and it looked like so many homes just kept getting bigger.
    But all was tidy and neat. Farmers were out in the fields plowing.
    We really enjoyed ourselves.

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  3. The home from Grabill, Indiana is beautiful. If I drove past the home on any day other than wash day I would think that it is a home owned by non-Amish.
    Heather D. recently posted..Afghan UpdateMy Profile

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  4. Dorothy Shaulis says:


    The homes are very nice. Some of the homes of the Amish around here are not nearly as nice as those homes.

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  5. Yes the home is Grabill, Indiana is beautiful…..what’s gets me is some of the Amish homes I’ve seen posted on some sites, the weeds were so high….can’t see why they don’t cut them….tall weeds around your home makes your home look very untidy……and the Amish are known for not being lazy people…..so why would they let the weeds take over ????? Anyone can get out and pull or cut down weeds……you don’t have to be a man to do that….I’ve cut down many weeds and pulled up many……..

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  6. Dawn Kirk says:


    Removing weeds is not a high priority for some of the groups esp. the Swartzentrubers-the very strictest sect.It’s like a sign of vanity for them.They don’t pave their driveways with anything but gravel too.(which,by the way Kevin,I am fascinated by that group so anytime you want to mention them-ahem,go right ahead-ha) I mean,don’t the people get overheated with the long sleeves thing? & all the pins & clothing restrictions? But,I suppose they’re not the focus here!
    I think siding would be covered eventually as to leave the company words(Tyvek?) over the insulation part would be not good to have showing there.

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  7. Very interesting .. can’t wait to see the different ways the inside is kept .. I always have a mental image of Livona’s home, from reading her columns. I have a question slightly off topic .. I noticed the clothes on the line .. and I was always under the impression that the Amish wore strictly black dresses .. and Mennoite wore the colored dresses .. and living near an Amish community in NC I notice that they wear the colored dresses that they make themselves.
    Thank you for sharing these pictures with us Kevin .. they are all beautiful homes.

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    • Hi, Bonnie – Even in the most conservative Amish settlements the women do wear solid-colored dresses but usually not black – muted blues or rusts – actually black would not be an ‘everyday color.’ It’d be a church, funeral, or wedding color. Black head-coverings for daily wear in the most conservative settlements…a rule of thumb is the more progressive/liberal an Amish church is the brighter and more variety of colors worn…although not patterns, just solids – Kevin

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  8. Several years ago, while visiting my brother and his wife in Tn. I had the privelege of visiting the amish community of Bowling Green Ky. It was a wonderful experience. I knew very little about the amish, and asked the gentelmen at the little stand where we purchased some things, if I could take their picture. Of course they said shooked their head no. Sence then I have studied the amish and realize that is a no no. Those homes were beautiful. As we were pulling up the little road, some amish ladies and their children were stopping and hopping out of the buggy. They were in full amish attire and barefoot. I was mesmerized. I have the upmost respect for those people and wish I lived closer. In Wa.state we have no amish. Although we do have some Menninites. Thanks Keven for your efforts. You make my day.

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  9. Susie MacDonald says:


    I have admired the Amish way of life for many years now. I live in a rural area, and have visited many Amish communities because I am so fascinated with their way of living the plain and simple life. I know that they are very hard workers…whether they are the men working in the fields and barns, or the women planting vegetable and flower gardens, cooking, baking, and keeping house…not to mention bearing numerous “boppli”. I admire and respect their beliefs in God and how they raise their families. I would like to visit more Amish settlements and shop in their specialty shops, craft shops, bakeries, and eat in their restaurants. I live in the Grabill, Indiana area, and have visited the Holmes County area many times. I would like to find another tourist area within a 100 mile radius of where we live. Do you have any information on where I would find another area to visit? We are making a “road trip” next weekend to visit the Amish settlement just north of Richmond, Indiana, on Highway 27 that you talked about. Any information would be very appreciated. Susie

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  10. Doug Pallin says:


    In the Lancaster, PA area I have had dinner at an Amish home. It was an English home that they purchased and are converting it back to conform with the Amish culture, no electricity and many other changes. It was purchased because the family could not afford a farm and the father worked in a furniture work shop.

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  11. The biggest thing I have noticed among the Amish is that they are just like us. In that I mean that some are more ambitious than others, some more honest, some have more money and some less. I feel comfortable saying this only because I have made many close friends the past 3 years in the Amish community where I live. In fact my very best friend is Old Order Amish. We share pretty much everything with each other. In fact, she is so in tune with me, that she always knows when something is wrong with me and will call me just to check on me.

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