Migration to previously-unsettled areas has been a story of significance for Amish in recent years. Migration is not a new phenomenon, as Amish have long moved to new areas for reasons of economics, due to church issues, or for other causes. Places that have seen a recent influx of Amish include Missouri, Wisconsin, and New York–all states that have established Amish populations.
Recent years have seen Amish moving westward. It no doubt takes an adventurous spirit, adaptability, and a dose of courage to make a move from settlements in places like Iowa or Indiana where one has the extensive ties and support networks of family and community—places where Amish have lived for 100 or more years—and set up in a completely new area.
One must wonder how one will get on in a place that has never seen the horse-and-buggy. Local conditions may demand flexibility in the occupation one chooses, in relations with “natives” or even in use of technology.
A recent article in the L.A. Times examines Amish migration to the Centennial State. The Colorado Amish settlements have gotten a good bit of media attention recently, and as it happens this is not the first time Amish have settled Colorado. The piece profiles Enos Yoder, originally of the Bloomfield, Iowa Amish community (if I’m not mistaken, I briefly met Enos in 2004), a horse trainer and hay farmer who has set up on 400 acres of land.
Four hundred acres seems a shockingly large amount of land for an Amish farm—a parcel that would make one a millionaire many times over in more-established communities in the East—and no doubt one of the attractions of the area. Enos seems to have come for the view as well as the legroom, explaining that he “couldn’t get the isolated, unspoiled beauty out of his head” after a 2002 visit to deliver horses to a ranch.
Other Amish apparently find a similar attraction to the area, with new families arriving monthly. One wonders what this community–and others in the West–will look like a decade or two down the road. Farming conditions are different from those in the East, and for Amish in such circumstances, small business such as repair shops, woodworking, and dry goods stores, is always a viable option. Read more on Amish furniture in Denver.