belle-rive-il-mapDon Burke today shares photos from a little visit to the Belle Rive/Opdyke, Illinois Amish community, taken last autumn.

This is a small community in southern Illinois (Jefferson County), two church districts in size. As a state, Illinois ranks #10 in its total Amish population, which is dominated by the large Arthur settlement.

Don gives you a tour around the settlement below. You can also think of it as a little preview of fall, which I am frankly quite ready for, as I’ve been roasting these past few weeks 😉


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Looking Back at a Passing Visit to Belle Rive, IL

In the fall of 2014 I took about three days to visit several Amish communities in the southern Illinois and western Kentucky area. One of those passing visits was in the Belle Rive / Opdyke, IL settlement.

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Some of the Amish homes in this community had the characteristic Amish feel to them, while many of them did not stand out as particularly Amish, but looked fairly contemporary.

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There were the customary phone shanties here and there….

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…and of course the typical Amish schoolhouses and playground activities.

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A closer look at the schoolhouse shows the community’s use of scooters (I don’t recall seeing a regular bicycle anywhere while I was there)….

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…and here is another scooter I noticed at one of the homes.

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I’m told that the Belle Rive settlement traces its history to Amish in Delaware, and that the buggies still show design characteristics from that area.

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At least some of the Amish here work the fields…

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…but the farmers are allowed to use tractors

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…farm implements with rubber/pneumatic tires…

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…and even heavy machinery (notice the yellow bulldozer on the right).

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So, this community is clearly not among the strictest of the Amish. I saw other signs of that included the occasional solar panel

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…the not so subtle wind vane on one Amish shop….

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…signs for some of the Amish businesses, which were a bit more fancy than most Amish signage….

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…and at least one Amish hunter who mounted his trophy deer and elk antlers on the barn near the road for all to see.

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As I said, my trip through Belle Rive was mostly a passing-through visit, but I did make one stop at a bakery and bulk food store for a donut and a brief-but-enjoyable visit with the Amish lady that run the shop.

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And in case you’re wondering, yes, the donut was really good!