37 responses to Hardin County, Kentucky Amish
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    Lois Klobucher
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 06:15)

    I really enjoy all of the pictures everything always looks so peaceful, Thanks for the view

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    Richard (www.Amishstorys.com)
    Comment on Red barns, and a question for Erik. (April 22nd, 2011 at 06:48)

    Red barns, and a question for Erik.

    Good morning Erik. I have always loved images of red barns, so i see that you have included a few in your post. What strikes me at least from looking at these pictures is the economic contrast between say Lancaster’s Amish and what’s in these pictures. maybe its not fair for me making that judgment call on only these pictures, because I’ve never been to Kentucky and I’ve heard its very beautiful including its Amish settlements. And i was wondering Erik if you have ever asked those who are Amish in say the southern states what their thoughts were about the Amish who live in Ohio and Pennsylvania?, do they think they went too commercial with too much contact with us (the English)?. Everyone have a very nice day. Richard from Lebanon county’s Amish community.

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    Comment on Amish tourism in the south (April 22nd, 2011 at 07:07)

    Amish tourism in the south

    Glad you enjoy them Lois!

    Richard that is a good question. Actually it’s funny but some settlements in the South are fairly economically tied in with English. When I visited the Swartzentruber Amish settlement at Ethridge, Tennessee, I was surprised to see how involved with tourists they were, even to the extent of welcoming tours onto their farms and into their many businesses. There is a tourist map featuring many Ethridge Amish businesses, along with huge horse-drawn tour wagons that make the rounds of Amish farms.

    (As an aside, the owner of the tarp shop which you can see in a couple of photos above actually lived in the Ethridge community for a while. This Hardin County group is also Swartzentruber, but it is much smaller than Ethridge. The Ethridge group would have ties with the Swartzentrubers in Holmes County as well.)

    Ethridge is a very conservative affiliation of Amish. So intuitively you would generally not expect to see this level of interaction of highly conservative Amish with outsiders. But it seems to happen at Ethridge. Of course economically they still aren’t going to be near Lancaster or some of the Amish in Holmes County for instance.

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    Comment on Lancaster Amish a different breed? (April 22nd, 2011 at 07:14)

    Lancaster Amish a different breed?

    Richard, a little more on your question–typically, when you ask Amish from other communities about Lancaster Amish, they have a specific point of view.

    You usually hear Lancaster Amish described as very driven, hard-working, and quite focused on making money (which you could say is driven by necessity as you know how expensive Lancaster is).

    I’ve heard some non-Amish describe Lancaster Amish as rude, but I also recall hearing on a number of occasions about how hospitable they are, from both Midwestern Amish and non-Amish people (I should add, I would definitely take the latter view–highly hospitable folks–though I can understand if Amish living in the heavy tourist areas were a bit prickly at times).

    Lancaster people are to some extent seen as a “different breed” particularly by Amish folks in the Midwest.

    And in a sense they are–they primarily descend from a different set of families (some PA Amish did end up in the Midwest, but a lot of the Midwestern Amish come from a different wave of 19th-century immigration), have different last names, dress, buggies, and some different customs.

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    Al in Ky.
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 07:21)

    Thanks for sharing these pictures from Kentucky. A couple of
    summers ago I bought a lot of produce from Amish farmers in
    this Hardin County Swartzentruber settlement as well as the
    Munfordville Amish settlement (many of whom are originally from
    Geuaga County Ohio). I would go to Munfordville first and
    then stop at Sonora (Hardin Co.). The contrasts between the
    settlements was quite interesting, with the Munfordville group
    living much more “modern” than the Sonora group. In both
    settlements, I found many good people and much good produce,
    but different styles of buggies, houses, barns, etc. Recently,
    some of the Amish from Munfordville have opened a scratch and
    dent store at Glendale, also in Hardin County and only a few
    miles from Sonora. I’ve been to many Amish scratch and dent
    stores in several states, but this is the biggest, busiest one
    I’ve ever been to. I wonder if some of the Sonora Amish might
    also shop there.

    By the way Erik, your first picture in this post is not an Amish
    store, is it? It seems like a large Pepsi sign and lots of patriotic-style bunting would be sort of out of place at an Amish
    store. It looks like they may have some Amish-built furniture and toys for sale on the porch of the store. Was that picture taken in

    Regarding Richard’s question about economic contrast — I’ve
    been to seven different Amish settlements in Ky. and there are
    many visible signs of economic contrast. Erik’s pictures today
    are from a Swartzentruber settlement. I’ve been to Swartz.
    settlements in four states, and all visibly look much less
    prosperous than the more modern Amish settlements. I’ve thought maybe part of the reason is due to less income due to Swartz. Amish
    focusing their livelihood on income from their farms and sawmills
    rather than from more lucrative jobs in factories.

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    Comment on Amish Pepsi store? (April 22nd, 2011 at 07:30)

    Amish Pepsi store?

    Hi Al, the Pepsi sign is definitely not an Amish store…I hope that would be clear but maybe I should add a note (since this post is titled “Hardin County…” and non “Hardin County Amish…” I thought I’d be able to get one non-Amish photo in there 🙂 ).

    This was in the town on the way in to the settlement, and I had to snap a shot–I love this kind of Americana imagery. But yes Amish would never have this patriotic type of display, however, as you probably know some Amish crafts shops in larger settlements definitely sell things that they generally wouldn’t use or display in their own homes. I’m thinking of things like decorative barn stars for instance.

    I believe it might have been Sonora, but not sure. Very small town.

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    Comment on Swartzentruber Amish income (April 22nd, 2011 at 07:36)

    Swartzentruber Amish income

    Al, good points. Swartzentruber Amish emphasize plainness and could even be said to discourage accumulating a lot of wealth.

    Their technological restrictions definitely make that harder to do; businesses are a lot more limited than your average Amish shop would be.

    They also tend to be in lower value-added ends of industries like sawmills rather than custom furniture design.

    Some Swartzentruber Amish survive on what we would consider incredibly low incomes.

    If anyone’s interested in Swartzentruber Amish, An Amish Paradox is an excellent and up-do-date book on Swartzentrubers in Ohio. New York Amish goes into some depth on Swartzentrubers as well.

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    Richard (www.Amishstorys.com)
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 07:50)

    Thanks for answering my question Erik in a clear way , its a question that I’ve wanted to ask for awhile now. Your almost out of the woods from yesterdays post,lol. So your on the road to redemption. I’ve better get going now, enjoy folks. Richard.

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 08:07)

    My pleasure Richard. Glad to hear I’m clawing my way back…And if it makes things any better I will promise to do no more than one outhouse post per year 🙂

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    Katie Troyer
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 08:59)

    The Lancaster Amish are only rude to some tourist people, those who stand right in front of them with their camera and get in the way of the Amish living their normal life.

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    Alice Aber
    Comment on Pictures (April 22nd, 2011 at 09:43)


    Love the pictures Erik and enjoyed reading the comments as well. Even though that store is not Amish I do love the look. It is warm and inviting. I also love Americana decor. 🙂

    Been very busy here the last few days. Finally got something up on my blog about Frank’s birthday. Actually I made another video, filled with pictures of the day including opening cards. Thanks again to everyone who sent cards. I believe the most cards came from you wonderful folks here on Amish America.

    Yes Mona, he got your’s and your granddaughter’s card. It is quite lovely, thank you!

    Frank had the biopsy yesterday, it seemed to go OK but we will not have results until May 2nd. Please keep him in your prayers, its not cancer. He certainly has enough to deal with, with his heart condition.

    Thank you Erik for letting me throw in a bit of my personal life on here. You are so kind!!

    I think maybe a book or a calendar is in order with all these wonderful pictures. 🙂

    Have a blessed day everyone!

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 11:45)

    Kentucky is rich in American past. Here one can locate numerous small towns with buildings still standing long after their prime. When driving through small towns one can seem to transport back in time nearly 100 years, (except when you meet a brand new car passing by in the other lane) I understand that this is the case in many areas of the country and I for one enjoy these small trips through America antiquities. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I enjoy Amish culture as well. When I was living in Germany I could stop and stare at structures for hours if they were hundreds of years old.

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 11:48)

    I forgot to add something, sorry for consecutive postings, but Erik I have some photos of the Crab Orchard Amish settlement in Kentucky,(taken recently) it is the one in Lincoln County Kentucky and is small only consisting of 4 church districts, if you would like I could send them to you via email if you want to add to your collection.

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    Al in Ky
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 11:55)

    Thanks for your response, Erik, to my question about the Americana
    decor. You did explain it clearly (that it wasn’t an Amish store)in your narrative by the pictures and I apologize for not reading it better before I wrote. I sort of wanted to clarify though, because I know Amish life is changing and I do now sometimes see patriotic decor things for sale in Amish stores, but haven’t seen any yet in any Swartz. Amish stores.

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 12:07)

    No worries Al, actually you didn’t misread at all–in my response to you I mentioned I might add that note, and that’s what I ended up doing, just to clear up any confusion, so thanks for bringing it up. But it’s good you asked b/c as you said you do see some items for sale that you wouldn’t expect in an Amish home.

    Tom, I can relate about America’s small towns–love to spend time in them as well and soak up the history.

    On the Crab Orchard photos, would be happy to see them, and if you don’t mind sending them the best address is ewesner@gmail.com . Thanks!

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 14:16)

    Alice, glad to hear the possibly good news about Frank and will be sure to check out your blog. Great to hear he got so many cards!

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    Alice Aber
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 14:21)

    Erik, we do not know if it is good news or not, just that he got through the biopsy without excessive bleeding or complications. We won’t know if it is cancer until May 2nd. But thanks!!

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    Susan Fryman
    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 14:45)

    Thanks for sharing these photos. We’re planning a relocation back to Kentucky in God’s timing. We’re wanting to settle near an Amish community. Keep the articles and photos coming. Blessings, Susan

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 15:22)

    Hi Erik,
    As always I enjoy the great photos; I see I am not the only one that enjoys red barns.
    One of your readers was kind enough to send me some photos of her barns.
    Great idea to take a photo of the old pepsi sign. I love these old signs.
    I love small towns; hope to move to one this year.
    Keep up the good work!

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    Richard (www.Amishstorys.com)
    Comment on Happy Easter to everyone on Amish America (April 22nd, 2011 at 16:40)

    Happy Easter to everyone on Amish America

    Went down to Costco this afternoon in Lancaster, and what had started out to be a partly chilly sunny day ended up to be a sometimes rainy and cloudy one. Happy Easter to you Erik and everyone on Amish America. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon Pa.

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 22nd, 2011 at 21:49)

    The “Pepsi Store” looks like a western movie shot or something one might have seen in early photography around the time of the US Civil War. Could have been except for the sign and maybe the bench seating.
    Is there a celebration that warrants the stars and stripes bunting this time of year?

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Conestoga wagon? (April 22nd, 2011 at 23:18)

    Conestoga wagon?

    Erik, could you clarify what that “Conestoga wagon”-looking vehicle (with rubber tires?!) is, and what it’s used for? I’m intrigued!

    Alice Mary

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    Comment on Not Conestoga Amish (April 23rd, 2011 at 00:07)

    Not Conestoga Amish

    Alice Mary, I was waiting for someone to ask!

    This is actually a project the tarp shop owner was working on. It was for some sort of tourist operation, I can’t recall where it was located exactly. He was just doing the tarp covering for it. So these aren’t Conestoga Amish 😉

    Shom this was actually taken last summer in September; I didn’t study it but just had the impression it was part of the decor of the place.

    And wait a minute…you mean they didn’t have Pepsi during the Civil War??? 😉

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      Comment on Pepsi Store (November 16th, 2011 at 14:59)

      Pepsi Store


      I live just outside of Sonora – that is where the “Pepsi Store” is indeed located. The town festival “Sonora Days” is held at the end of August each year – the bunting was still up from that. (Though buildings in the town often have patriotic displays throughout the year).

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 23rd, 2011 at 08:42)

    I love all the photos…but I’m with some of the others I love the old country store with the old skool Pepsi sign. I miss not having a car these days (the Amish actually have one up on me technology wise with a buggy LOL) and being able to roadtrip on a warm spring weekend just going where the road takes you.

    I’ve always wanted to find Butcher Holler (Loretta Lynn’s girlhood home) in KY. I understand it’s quite hard to find, but it is well preserved and the scenery is gorgeous.

    I do wonder, if the Amish economic situation in the South is more tied to the fact that they live in a less prosperous area of the country than the fact they are Swartzendruber? I wonder how a NY or OH Swartzendruber settlement compares to one in TN or KY?

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (April 23rd, 2011 at 19:25)

    Lindsay; I would think that it has more to do with the fact that most of the more Southern Amish communities choose to focus more on farming and less on commercial interests. Although there may be more affluent parts of the country than the rural South, the cost of living is much less in the than in those other areas as well. I suspect that is the draw for most of the southward expansion of the Amish; the ability to buy things more cheaply than in other areas, especially land. I don’t think I am talking out of school or being disloyal to say that things in the more rural areas, especially in the South, are less “prosperous” than they are in the more urban and suburban areas … like much of the Northeast.

    Even at that an Amish community I am familiar with in economically disadvantaged South Texas was negotiating several years ago to buy a 1,000 acre tract for $700,000. One of the sons of the patriarch of the community told me that they had the cash in hand, ready to buy when the owners decided to postpone the sale. It is very good farm land, though rainfall in that area is an “iffy” thing. They were buying the land strictly for future growth of the community. I know of few “English” farmers that could ante up 700K cash money for land. The Amish could and were willing to part with it to close the deal. Yet, if you drive through their community you would think they couldn’t rub two nickels together. Their existence appears to be pretty hard scrabble at best. Obviously looks can be deceiving

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    Comment on The War between the Brands (April 23rd, 2011 at 21:34)

    The War between the Brands

    Erik, perhaps they did have Pepsi and it’s competitor during the Civil War. I have a theory that that is why Booth shot Lincoln, Abe was a Coke man while John was a Pepsi guy, and the corporate feud was harsher than normal in those days. The entire war was about which was the better beverage, not about States’ Rights, Slavery or anything of the sort, really, it was about brand loyalty 😉

    Of course I might have my company bases of operation wrong, isn’t coke centred in Georgia, unless that was a spoil of war :p

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    Comment on need info about your photos (May 31st, 2011 at 09:50)

    need info about your photos

    I love the picture of the old store with the patriotic flag and the pepsi sign! (first picture) I am wondering, do you ever sell copies of your photos and if so how can I purchase this particular one? Thank you so much! sincerely, Viv

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (May 31st, 2011 at 12:56)

    Hi Viv, thanks for your interest! I’ve considered selling some, but haven’t quite gotten that off the ground yet (lot of projects right now!).

    I don’t mind sharing this one with you though. If you drop me an email I’ll send you a larger version of it.

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (June 2nd, 2011 at 19:56)

    HI Erik,
    Thanks for the great photos!
    I believe one of the readers asked if you will sell your photos, great idea!
    Did you ever consider publishing a book of your photos?
    I’m sure many of us will purchase one!

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    Comment on THanks Erik! (June 7th, 2011 at 23:22)

    THanks Erik!

    Thank you Erik for sending me a larger version of this picture. My brother in law loves old buildings with PEPSI signs on them. Let me know where I need to send my email address to you if you don’t get it this way. Thank you!

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    Comment on Photo book (June 7th, 2011 at 23:39)

    Photo book

    Hi George, brilliant idea 🙂 The book idea has started to grow on me. as I do have a ton of Amish photos and really enjoy working with them. I appreciate hearing about the interest, will keep you posted 🙂

    Viv, I just sent you the photo, hope you enjoy it. I used the email you provided, let me know if it didn’t make it for some reason.

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (June 8th, 2011 at 00:38)

    Hello Erik,
    I hope ypu can go ahead with publishing the book. Amish photos are difficult to locate, even on ebay. I know, I have been trying to locate them through the years.
    On a rare occassion do I find one.

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      Comment on Amish photos (March 18th, 2012 at 14:12)

      Amish photos

      Have you tried a website that sells stock photos, like

      or www.istockphoto.com

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (June 8th, 2011 at 00:57)

    Hi Erik and Viv,
    Old buildings with old signs, such as Pepsi, and Coca Cola are hard to locate.
    Like old barns, they are being destroyed in the name of “Progress”, i.e., greedy people who buy the land to sell it at a profit. Up to a certain point, I guess that’s ok. But, we should not destroy what never can be replaced and appeals to most people…So in the end Erik, you taking the photo of that building with the Pepsi sign, might one day turn out to be a classic, after the building is destroyed.
    I would certainly encourage you, when upon chance, you come across old buildings with old advertising signs, and old barns to proceed and take photos!
    I collect 35 mm slides from the 50-60s. Viewing them is looking through a window from the past. Buildings, houses, cars, barns, bridges. all destroyed. My thanks to all the amateur photographes who took those photos!
    Photos of Disneyland taken in the fifties and sixties commend premium prices due to all the changes at Disneyland.
    The point I am making, Erik, is, you’re doing a superb job with your photography; Keep up the good work! The comments of your readers about your photos are all positive.
    My sincere thanks,

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    Comment on Hardin County, Kentucky Amish (June 8th, 2011 at 08:54)

    Many thanks George for this feedback. I do appreciate it. You have a good point about these items of yesteryear. I thoroughly enjoy coming across them as well. I’ll keep your advice in mind.

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