Most Amish homes have a sizable basement. The basement is an important part of the typical Amish home for a number of reasons. The basement of course makes a good storage area. Amish families often keep their stores of canned goods in the basement.
The basement also offers living space. Amish in warmer climes may ‘move’ downstairs to the basement in summertime, eating meals and socializing in its relative cool. Many basements are equipped with a miniature kitchen with sink and so forth. A family may furnish a basement first before completing the upstairs, or two families on occasion may temporarily share a home, one living upstairs and one below. A friend in Ohio, his wife and five daughters have been living in their basement while they finish the main part of the home.
A basement may even make a good sleeping area. The toddler son of one of my Amish friends sleeps in a crib in the basement. At another Amish friend’s home, the basement is where I sleep when I’m by to visit, either on one of the old couches or sprawled out on blankets on the floor (the Sheraton, this isn’t!). The basement is where you might find a wood-burning stove that may be used for heating the house. This same friend’s wife takes advantage of the heat and dry to hang clothes in the basement.
Amish children use the spacious area of the basement to play in winter or in the evening. Since the space is large, the basement may be used for church service. The first Amish church service I attended took place in the basement of a newly-built home. All in all, the basement is an auxiliary but important part of the typical Amish home.
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