Several weeks ago we had Don Burke’s visit to the home of the Grabers, an Amish family in Jamesport, Missouri. This got a variety of reactions, including descriptions of the home as “very interesting”; “too modern”; “cluttered…[but] cute and homey.” Readers also noticed the high gloss paint on the ceiling and the simple electronic games on a recliner-side table (view the original post here).
These photos illustrate that the Amish are not a one-size-fits-all group. There are differences between groups, and individuals comprising every church. For instance, in that post we see the Graber household, while having a lot of characteristic Amish features, also contains more and fancier decorative items than you would expect to find in plainer Amish homes.
Today Don shares more photos from his recent return to the Graber household – however with one twist. As Don describes below, the previous home had been torn down, replaced by a new residence. This time you might find the appearance of the new home unexpected, but for different reasons.
The lady of the house, Mary Graber, runs a tour business, taking visitors through her home. In the post today Mary and Don guide us through her new abode. You’ll probably notice a few items carried over from the previous home. I don’t know what you think, but I’d find this a pretty cozy place to live.
What is there to do in Amish Jamesport, Missouri? Well, if you have 30 minutes or more to spare, there is probably no better place to experience Amish culture up close visiting Mary Graber and her Amish Home Tour.
As I mentioned in a previous post, five years ago I was introduced to the Graber family as I took their Amish Farm Tour.
However, the Graber household has seen a lot of changes in the short time since then. All of the four Graber youth that lived in the house then are now grown and have moved out on their own. And a structural issue required that their house be torn down. So, a new, smaller home has been built to replace it. And with all these changes the old Farm Tour has been retooled into a new tour. But any downscaling in the tour’s scope will not leave you feeling shortchanged in what you experience.
Mrs. Graber (Mary) and her family are now good personal friends, and on a recent visit I went through the new place taking pictures as she described some of what those who get the updated tour can expect.
As you drive up to the new home you will see a small vegetable garden in the front yard.
You also notice the phone shack in the side yard, slightly removed from the house.
Closer to the house is a hitchrack (hitching rail) at the end of the driveway, and a propane tank off to the side. The house’s space heater, the water heater, and even the refrigerator all operate on propane.
The new home has been down-sized to two-bedroom, and is constructed with exterior metal siding and metal roof.
Something I didn’t expect to see was a garage, which was designed to accommodate the Amish buggy. But it seems that just like in the English world, it’s far too easy for other “stuff” to fill up the area and not leave room for what the garage space was really intended for.
As you enter into the garage you find yourself in the house’s utility space. A laundry area and a sink are in the back. To the right there is a full bath with a shower which is made of reinforced concrete to also serve as a storm-protection area.
From here Mary takes her guests through the door on the left into the open-design kitchen / dining / den area.
The cabinets here and in the bath were custom made from walnut lumber cut on the farm property.
The propane fixtures like this are common among the Amish, and they provide light through the house.
Walking from room to room guests will find the home decorated here and there with a number of inspirational, practical and sentimental items – some of them even brought over from the previous home.
The bedroom is cozy and well-furnished, with a cheerful splash of color in the quilt and pillows.
Next to the bedroom is a modest bath, with more of the beautiful walnut cabinets.
The house’s second bedroom has been converted into Mary’s sewing room.
As mentioned in the article about her previous home, Mary has a modern electric sewing machine, but it has been retrofitted to be powered by an older treddle peddle of yesteryear.
Tour visitors can purchase Mary’s unique potholders, or cookbooks with recipes from the local Amish ladies.
As the tour winds down everyone returns to the kitchen and sits around the table.
This is a chance to visit with Mary and to ask various questions about the Amish and their ways. It is here that the typical 30 minute tour has been known to grow into as much as an hour long as Mary interacts with her guests.
In a parting look, behind the house visitors can see the furnishings on the back porch.
On the roof they can also see the solar panels used to charge the 12-volt car batteries used for buggy lights and various electric-powered items in the house. (These will be discussed in the next article in this series.)
If you’d like to visit this home, Don shares how you can do so:
You are not likely to find a sweeter, more pleasant and gracious hostess than Mary Graber. Your visit to the Amish Home Tour will be enlightening and humorous – and without doubt it will be a highlight of your visit to Amish Jamesport.
Tours are by appointment only. If you are interested in the Amish Home Tour call Mary Graber at 660-684-6082. Leave a message and she will get back in touch with you. Please call at least two or three days ahead to insure Mary is available and has a time slot available.
Thanks go out to Don. You can find more of his Amish photo collections on Flickr.