Where were you in March 1992?
I was a young journalist struggling to find my direction. Sheesh, in that sense, not much has changed. Twenty years later I am a middle-aged journalist struggling to find my direction:) Okay, snark aside, think back to March 1992. Personally, I was two years out of high school and nurturing a writing career with magazines and I had launched The Amish Cook column the previous summer. So that was beginning to spread. George H.W. Bush was President still, but a young Arkansas governor was emerging in the primaries and a Texas billionaire was also getting noticed. The first Gulf War had been over for a year. It would be another three or four years before my Dad first subscribed to "America Online", an early internet service. Remember dial-up? We still used actual film, cable didn't yet have 5000 channels, and newspapers were still several years away from their implosion. Boy, it sure didn't seem so at the time but life did seem simpler back then, in retrospect.
Also, in 1992, the first wave of Amish from what would turn out to be a pretty significant migration from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania began trickling into Kentucky. Lancaster County was getting increasingly crowded and expensive and some Amish began to hear tales of a more bucolic, economical existence in the temperate climate of Kentucky. An article on the Knight-Ridder wire service chronicled their arrival. Even the tone of journalism seems a little different, the article is choc full of southern stereotypes and misinformation about the Amish (sheesh, I wonder sometimes where the absolutely incorrect info that the Amish don't pay taxes began, well articles like this are one sourceI was doing some work for Kentucky Living magazine at the time and then wanted me to write a story about the state's influx of Amish. I can't remember whether the story ever actually ran,but a friend of mine took some photos for me. I had forgotten all about that episode of my journalistic endeavor until my parents started organizing the residue of my childhood still left behind in my old bedroom at their place recently. Dad found a couple of slides (remember those?) which I immediately recognized as scenes from the beginning of this "Great Migration" in 1992. I took those slides to Walgreens and for a couple of bucks got them digitized so I could share them with you.
The first photo depicts a man and woman walking down a road. The clothing colors and style are classic Old Order Amish, although it's a little difficult to tell 20 years later whether these are Lancaster County Amish. Another shot shows an Amish man out working his fields in the most old-fashioned of ways. I seem to remember my friend telling me these photos were shot near Munfordville, Kentucky, which would make sense since Munfordville is so close to the highway. Munfordville's Amish migration, though, came largely from Ohio. Christian County, Kentucky, farther south than M-ville, was the initial landing point for most Lancaster arrivals. Either way, 20 years later the Bluegrass state now has a large Amish presence really in all parts of the state except for the mountainous areas east of Lexington. It's neat to have these photos turn up 20 years later, if my parents find more as they go through my old stuff, I'll be sure to share!