Another Amish business map to share – this one from the sizeable settlement in Buchanan County, Iowa (Hazleton). The area promotes the local “Amish Boulevard” – a stretch of county road running through the heart of the community (it’s W13 on the map below).
On this map you’ll find nearly 50 Amish businesses. You can see the area’s grid roads are really dotted with shops and the like. It looks like a nice compact area where you could easily get around to many places in an afternoon.
The Buchanan County Amish
The Buchanan County Amish are considered one of the plainer groups. Suzanne Woods Fisher described what she found there in a 2014 guest post:
They use very limited technology: no pneumatic tools, no tractors (permitted with steel wheels in Kalona), no chainsaws. And as I discovered, there was no running water in the homes. They use a hand pump to get water from a well and bring what’s needed into the house. No flush toilets, no bath tubs.
Bicycles aren’t permitted here as they are in most of Ohio and Indiana, nor were there any Lancaster-style scooters. Even a woman’s prayer covering seemed more modest than most. It’s made of a thin organza, like the Lancaster Amish, but this covering goes nearly to a woman’s hairline—two fingers distance—and covers her ears.
The community is eight church districts in size, and over a century old, founded in 1914. This is the settlement where conflict over schooling of Amish children eventually led to the Wisconsin v. Yoder Supreme Court decision.
Interestingly, the settlement today has an unusual arrangement with their schools, as Suzanne explained:
Most intriguing are the public one-room schoolhouses that sit on the main road. They’re a compromise from the state of Iowa for the Amish, as long as each town permits it (Oelwein refuses). The state runs and funds the private schoolhouses for the Amish, on the condition that a certified teacher is employed.
In a local library, I met with some retired teachers and heard charming stories about their role as teachers to the Amish. Each one expressed a great satisfaction in their work (no discipline problems, they said. Not one!). I noticed that these women had a great respect for the Amish, but they didn’t romanticize or glamorize them. “There were many times when the boys fell asleep on their desks,” one teacher said. “They’d been up early and had been working so hard.” A grin creased her face. “And I just let them sleep.”
She also told me that quite a few teachers apply eagerly for the one-room schoolhouse job…until they hear about the outhouse. With bitter Iowa winters in mind, they promptly withdraw from the interview process. (I’m not sure I blame them!)
In a twist on safety, the Amish here hang their SMV triangles on the left side of the buggy, and up a bit higher than the norm. My thought is that this might be somewhat disorienting for a person accustomed to the standard central placement of the triangle. Just something to be aware of if you go.
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