One of my readers asked that I talk about the differences in Amish communities. Of course I haven’t been to all the Amish communities, but I do know 2 fairly well. Indiana is where my Shipshewana series is set, and Wisconsin is where my Pebble Creek Series is set. From the weeks I spent there, I can tell you a few of the differences and similarities, though I’m sure there are more. Today we’ll discuss differences, and next Saturday I’ll address similarities.
- In Indiana the Amish homes usually have gas stoves and refrigerators. In Wisconsin, there aren’t gas appliances. In fact, they still cut the ice out of the river, pack it in saw dust and use it in their “ice boxes” all year.
- Outhouses! The communities we visited in Wisconsin still used outhouses. In Indiana, the bathrooms were very similar to ours, though when you turned on the water at the sink the flow was very low (no electricity to pump it!).
- In Indiana you will find more Amish tourism–especially in the Shipshewana, Goshen, Middlebury area. In Wisconsin, you won’t find this at all. At least I couldn’t find it!
- In Indiana the farms seem to be closer together, and they branch out from the towns. In Wisconsin, the farms are a bit hard to find. You have to be willing to drive the back roads.
- In Indiana the farms, houses and barns look very well-kept. In Wisconsin, some of the barns are falling in on themselves. This is because many of the large dairies left the state. The Amish are coming in, buying those farms, and repairing what was broken. But this takes time.
- In Indiana you’ll see Amish folk riding bikes. I didn’t see any of this in Wisconsin, but that may be because the distances between places were farther apart.
I’m sure there are more differences, but these are the ones that stand out in my memory clearly. What about you? Have you noticed differences in Amish communities?
By the way, I wanted to invite you to join me over at Amish Living. There are a lot of great authors there, and it’s a fun way to learn about different Amish communities.