I thought I’d share a bit more on one of the most obvious visual markers of Amish – the buggy. As you probably know, buggy styles can vary across the hundreds of Amish settlements in North America. Below are the five main styles I encountered on a recent trip.
Four of them are not commonly seen, driven by only a minority of Amish in certain communities. The fifth, the Lancaster gray style, is seen not only in Lancaster County, but in its many daughter settlements around the country.
First of all, a Nebraska Amish buggy in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. Nebraska Amish are among the most conservative of all Amish groups.
Here’s another, more detailed view of one (photo by Don Burke):
Nebraska Amish live in just a few places – including Mifflin County’s Big Valley (the nickname for Kishacoquillas Valley–now you now why there’s a nickname) – and in a small community in northeastern Ohio.
Unlike most Amish buggies, the Nebraska buggy has no protective front. No “windshield”, just open air. Brrr. It helps to have a heavy blanket on board.
Below, a black, boxy Renno Amish buggy, also in Big Valley. Amish in Juniata County drive buggies of a similar style. The Renno Amish are a minority group found in just four settlements.
You may have seen black buggies in other communities, such as in Midwestern locations like Ohio or Indiana. Typically those buggies have tapered sides, distinguishing them from the Renno buggies.
Next, the unmissable Byler Amish buggy is basically one giant SMV sign on wheels. I think you could be legally blind and still have no problem spotting the Byler banana top.
What’s funny is the actual SMV triangle these buggies carry is often smaller than the standard size, as you can see in the photo above. Maybe this is in fact due to the gaudy attention-getting top. With that much yellow, the SMV sign almost seems besides the point.
Byler Amish are the third main Amish group in Big Valley. Here’s another photo showing Byler and Renno buggies together.
Next, the classic Lancaster County gray-top buggy. Amish in two other communities I visited on this trip – Cecil County, Maryland, and Charlotte County, Virginia – would also drive this style.
Finally, the Dover, Delaware Amish buggy. Notice the difference between this and the black Renno buggy above. The Dover buggy is bulkier, with curved-in sides.
Amish in the Dover daughter settlement at Halifax County, Virginia would also drive this style. Dover-affiliated Amish are found in over a dozen locations across America.