Amish Business Map (Buchanan County, Iowa)

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).

Map images: visitiowa.org

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 Amish businesses include greenhouses, furniture, bakeries and more. View the large version here, and the listing of Amish businesses.

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.

Image: Suzanne Woods Fisher

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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    3 Comments

    1. Denise

      A favorite place of mine to go. Just a beautiful area! Helmuth’s Country Store has a wide variety of items such as wood furniture, bread boxes, outdoor furniture, kitchen items galore, children’s coloring books,writing supplies, socks and scarves. These folks are very friendly!
      I also enjoy Plainview Country Store. They carry bulk foods, handmade soaps, and usually have some baked goods in the mornings. I like their fruit hand pies.
      While Fontana Park is not Amish they do frequent it. If you have children they will love it. It has a nature center and many live animals outside that for some reason could not be returned to the wild. Even some bison. Nice playground, picnic area, camping and there is a dam on the river that makes for nice fishing.
      I really enjoyed this post about something so close to my home!

    2. Sara McInerny

      Changes to Buchanan County

      Lots of changes have taken place among the Amish of Buchanan County, Iowa. Pneumatic tools, corn pickers and chain saws are now permitted. Running water, flush toilets and baths tubs are now inside the homes. Buggy’s have windshields and blackbox phones are allowed on the property of home owners. Bicycles still are not permitted here. Local stores are now allowed cooling units and battery lighting.

      The seven local public schools that the Amish attend in the Jesup and Wapsie Valley School Districts do have certified teachers and follow the state curriculum with the exception of a few topics that violate religious beliefs i.e.computers.

      1. Interesting community. I had at one time heard them described as one of the more conservative of all Amish, but later learned they had become more progressive. Thanks for sharing these specifics.

        I do find their school arrangement interesting as well. Other unusual Amish schooling arrangements include the heavily-Amish but public East Holmes school district in Ohio, and Amish men serving as school principals in some larger-than-average Amish schools in NE Indiana.