I found myself in Plain City, Ohio again over the weekend. I've written about Plain City plenty, but I'm always struck with a certain wistfulness when I go there. I can remember passing through Plain City as a child and seeing signs for a "harness shop" on busy Route 42. Probably the one depicted in Stephanie Reed's fiction book "The Bargain." There was such a long, rich, vibrant Amish heritage in the area and now it's just gone: but traces remain and I sometimes wonder what "might have been" had the Amish decided to stick it out and stay. The last of them decamped in the 1970s. Realistically, with the Columbus suburbs muscling farther and farther west, the settlement couldn't have survived. During the time the Amish lived in the area plenty of people left the Amish and populated Plain City with people of Amish descent. Many of those people remain in the area today. So you see plenty of signs for businesses with common Amish names in them like Yutzy, Miller, and Bontrager. There's even a sign for Yodertools.com.
I'm not usually a huge fan of sprawling chain-type restaurants but in Plain City the Der Dutchman Restaurant acts as a caretaker and placeholder for the area's Amish heritage. The restaurant and gift shop complex is massive but, for me, its sort of comforting in the case of Plain City. If the Amish are gone at least they aren't forgotten as long as the massive, rambling Der Dutchman remains. Aster enjoyed watching the horse-drawn carriage that takes visitors around the grounds and the little "farm" that features sheep and goats. And I think she probably wanted a bite of the apple fritter that my mother-in-law bought!
It is fun to visit Plain City with Aster because of my own memories of the place from when I was a child passing through. Now she'll have the same. She looks mesmerized by the horse and buggy and captivated by the baked goods.
It was a perfect June evening temperature-wise so we lingered outside a bit. And, yes, the gift shop still has copies of the
My family lived in Plain City from 2008-2012.
We moved there for work with Honda from Michigan and are now back in Michigan. We LOVE Plain City!
Wonderful people. Our son graduated from Shekinah Christian School and our youngest son went to 2nd -6th grade there.
The school is Mennonite. We would have a festival every year and a lot of Beachy Amish would come.
Many of the other parents were raised with Amish grandparents.
We sold a lot of fried pies and whoopee pies at the festival every year!
We have very fond memories of Plain City, Der Dutchman (the Der) and all of the wonderful friends that we made while living there. Truly different from any other place that we have been.
I once said to my mother while she was visiting us, "Plain City must be what is was like growing up in the 1950's" Mom answered "No, Plain City is better".
Having lived there and sent my children to the wonderful school there, I whole heartedly agree.
what great fun to hear from this person.
Mary, great post, thanks for sharing!
oh that last photo with the smile at something/someone being silly !! love it.
Enjoyed article, and the apple fritter made my mouth water...I love these....I usually buy one no matter where I see them....Aster is just getting cutter and cutter....
I am interested in Plain city too .My mother's uncle Andy Kurtz lived there ,and my mother ,who was Amish at the time , worked for them . did I hear that book is written about the Amish in Plain City ? If so ,I would love to have one . Andy eventually move to Iowa to live with his daughter .
Love the Der Dutchman filled sticks. Worth every calorie.
Thanks for the mention! I saw the carriage rides at Der Dutchman over the weekend, too. We were out taking pictures. If you want to see a photo of the old harness shop, you can read my blog post at Not Quite Amish: http://notquiteamishliving.com/2014/02/harness-lessons/