Dover delaware amish

Dover, Delaware Amish buggy

The Dover Amish settlement, founded in 1915, lies to the west of the city.  The Dover community was settled by Pennsylvania, Kansas, Ohio, and Michigan Amish.  Today Dover consists of 9 church districts.

Lying near a heavily settled urban area, Dover has experienced similar land and population pressures to the Lancaster County Amish to the north.

David Luthy cites the editor of The Diary (June 2007), who states that “the huge development pressure in the last years is presenting a new challenge to the people living there,” noting that thirteen families had migrated away from Dover that May.

One upshot of these pressures is the rise of small businesses.  Kraybill and Nolt note that restrictions on electric generators and electric tools on job sites have meant that entrepreneurial Dover Amish have specialized in masonry rather than carpentry, and have developed woodworking shops which do not require electricity (read more on Delaware Amish furniture).

Amish America contributor Rick Harrison recently visited this community and stopped in at a few Dover Amish businesses, including a woodworking shop and a general store.

Dover Amish use scooters like in Lancaster, and drive black-topped buggies.  The Dover buggy is a bit unusual.  It has small side windows, rounded sides, and a walk-in back door.  Rick, who shares the photo above, mentions that people have asked him if it is a hearse.  Compared to the large windows and roll-up sides of some Amish vehicles in other settlements, it does look a little foreboding.  You can compare it, for example, to these Ohio-style buggies, from Holmes County:

Holmes ohio amish buggies
Mount Hope, Ohio Amish buggies

Sources:

GAMEO

Amish Enterprise, by Donald Kraybill and Steven Nolt

Amish Settlements Across America: 2008, by David Luthy

Plain Buggies, by Stephen Scott

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