belle-rive-il-mapDon Burke today shares photos from a little visit to the Belle Rive/Opdyke, Illinois Amish community, taken last autumn.

This is a small community in southern Illinois (Jefferson County), two church districts in size. As a state, Illinois ranks #10 in its total Amish population, which is dominated by the large Arthur settlement.

Don gives you a tour around the settlement below. You can also think of it as a little preview of fall, which I am frankly quite ready for, as I’ve been roasting these past few weeks 😉


Looking Back at a Passing Visit to Belle Rive, IL

In the fall of 2014 I took about three days to visit several Amish communities in the southern Illinois and western Kentucky area. One of those passing visits was in the Belle Rive / Opdyke, IL settlement.


Some of the Amish homes in this community had the characteristic Amish feel to them, while many of them did not stand out as particularly Amish, but looked fairly contemporary.


There were the customary phone shanties here and there….


…and of course the typical Amish schoolhouses and playground activities.


A closer look at the schoolhouse shows the community’s use of scooters (I don’t recall seeing a regular bicycle anywhere while I was there)….


…and here is another scooter I noticed at one of the homes.


I’m told that the Belle Rive settlement traces its history to Amish in Delaware, and that the buggies still show design characteristics from that area.



At least some of the Amish here work the fields…


…but the farmers are allowed to use tractors


…farm implements with rubber/pneumatic tires…


…and even heavy machinery (notice the yellow bulldozer on the right).


So, this community is clearly not among the strictest of the Amish. I saw other signs of that included the occasional solar panel


…the not so subtle wind vane on one Amish shop….


…signs for some of the Amish businesses, which were a bit more fancy than most Amish signage….


…and at least one Amish hunter who mounted his trophy deer and elk antlers on the barn near the road for all to see.


As I said, my trip through Belle Rive was mostly a passing-through visit, but I did make one stop at a bakery and bulk food store for a donut and a brief-but-enjoyable visit with the Amish lady that run the shop.



And in case you’re wondering, yes, the donut was really good!

Amish-made cheese

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