12 Views from the Amish of Graves County, Kentucky

A glimpse at one of Kentucky’s Swartzentruber Amish communities today, courtesy of Don Burke.

The community is in Graves County, KY, and is two church districts large. Let’s have a look at some photos of this plain Amish settlement. I’ll add a few comments as we do.

Horseshoeing business open three days per week. The pole does double-duty as a birdhouse perch. I’m a bit puzzled by what looks to be like a section of PVC pipe running down the side. Septic system for the birdhouse? ūüôā

You see a modest greenhouse in this photo and what might be a small sawmill (?) or workshop area.

Some kind of workshop. On the very edge of the photo you’ll notice the gourd bird houses typical in some Swarztentruber communities. Engine for powering shop equipment on the other side.

Looong laundry line hung with clothing in the typical dark hues of this group.

A simple building which may at one time (or perhaps still does) have served as a home. It’s not uncommon for some Amish to live in “shop houses” before building a traditional home. This past summer when I re-visited the Swartzentruber Amish settlement at Ellenboro, NC, I found that one Amishman I’d met a couple years previous had done just that.

Another home with a building behind it sporting what I’d call a “wild west saloon” front.

Eggs available. Note the hooks at the bottom of the slat sign, for easily adding more items (produce, baked goods, etc) when they have them.

Long dirt lanes are another typical sign of a Swartzentruber community. No asphalt, or even gravel here – too fancy? The shots of the homes above do appear to have gravel on them, however.

The home from another angle. This is a typical style for this group.

This community was founded twenty years ago (2002), and is one of around four dozen in the Bluegrass State.

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    7 Comments

    1. Timothy White

      Pipe running down from birdhouse is a trap for sparrows or starlings.

      1. Don Burke

        Timothy, that appears to be correct, according to some I’ve asked after taking the picture.

        1. Don Burke

          I looked up my copy of this picture in my online album, and found where I had made this note some years back:

          “According to an ex-Amish gentleman, this is not a bird house at all, but is in fact a bird trap. ‘They’re called the [Troyer’s] S&S [which apparently stands for sparrow and starling] Controller and were designed by an Amish man in PA. The trap is placed near a building or tree which serves to deter Purple Martins but actually makes the ‘bird house’ more attractive to pesky Starlings and Sparrows. It looks like a martin house but most of the holes are only painted on. There is only one real entrance, which, when entered, channels the bird down the PVC pipe into the cage at the bottom, where it can be exterminated [or relocated].”

          The Controllers can be found online for more information or for purchase.

          1. Aha! Very interesting. First time I’ve heard of this. Thanks Don.

    2. Loretta Shumpert

      What do you mean “a trap?” They’re going to slide out the bottom, right? What is going to happen to them?
      Thanks for explaining to someone who doesn’t have a lot of bird knowledge.

      1. Don Burke

        A trap means a trap — I’m not sure what else trap means but trap.

        I’m sure there are different ways that different traps work; and I didn’t personally have an up-close look at this one to know how it operates. But a basic google search found this, “The trap works by enticing the sparrows with food. Once they enter the birdhouse, they will step on the trap door, which will then close and trap them inside. The sparrows can then be removed from the trap and released elsewhere.”

    3. Cheryl

      Public Schools

      Of those communities or parents who send their children to public elementary schools, what do they do or know about CRT (Critical Race Theory) and “gender dysphoria” that they teach in many of these schools now.