I remember when I started noticing the barn stars. It would have been around 2009 or 2010. This was in Holmes County. When you haven’t been to a place for a few years, it is easier to notice the changes. And for me it had been several years in between trips to this community.

It struck me because in my previous extended visit of several months, I was visiting many Amish homes – hundreds of them – selling books in the community. So this looked like something that had caught on in the intervening years. It certainly made the homes look a bit more “English”. You might take it as a sign of some Amish becoming more like the English in some ways. Superficial ways, or deeper than that?

In 2020, Amish homes in more progressive communities often have exterior decor similar to that of non-Amish rural and suburban homes. WELCOME signs, milk can planters, and other adornments are hardly uncommon. I have done no studies, but by my observation this seems to be a trend that has unfolded over the last 10-15 years.

Today Jim Halverson shares some photos of this sort of exterior decor on Amish homes in the northern Indiana (Elkhart/LaGrange) community. And with Christmas and the holiday season upon us, some of it is seasonal decor.

Wreaths seem to be popular here, as do old bicycles (see below).

Wreath + door again. And a star.

Another star.

A clock hung on a garage.

Do these large letters represent last names? Hochstetlers and Hershbergers would not be uncommon in this settlement.

“S” for Schrock?

And “M” for Miller, the most common Amish surname?

The above photo also fits the category of seasonal decor. Here’s the full uncropped version. Stocking, snowman, wreath, red bow.

Another Christmas-style wreath.

Finally, I don’t know that this counts as “decor”, but it certainly fits the season.


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