According to the most recent figures, the community in Adams County, Indiana, centered around the town of Berne, remains the country’s fifth-largest, with over 11,000 Amish.

This is really a sprawling community spread out across the wide expanses of flat Indiana farmland. I have visited here several times over the years, but don’t know it nearly as well as other communities in the state, like nearby Allen County or the Elkhart-LaGrange County community. I do like driving around the place though as it’s simple straight grid roads and hard to get too lost.

The Amish here are of Swiss background and have a number of customs distinct from other Amish. Amish from this heritage have a bit of a rep for being a bit more closed towards non-Amish, among other things.

Jim Halverson shares a batch of photos from a recent visit to the area. Let’s have a look.

The Amish of Adams County, Indiana

Here we are inside a store with a look at the fabric supply that goes into making this community’s clothing. All the familiar, plainer Amish shades are on display. Notice no reds, yellows or other particularly vibrant hues. Bottom shelf: Spring Melange. Top shelf: Crinkled Spring Melange.

A long look down the aisle in one of the larger Amish stores in the community. It looks like we have the sodas right across from the herbal supplements section. Healthy vs. unhealthy all in one shot. I guess we all are human after all.

“Easy Carve.” First time I’ve seen that kind of marketing on a ham.

Time for a quick gulp. Stainless steel cups are there for anyone’s use.

Do you know what this large wagon is for?

I’ve never seen so many basketball hoops in an Amish setting as I have in Indiana. They have gyms here. No surprise, considering it’s Indiana.

This is the one photo which, for me, is utterly unique in the set. Jim says that this appears to be a maypole.

That’s something I’d never heard of before. And certainly never in connection with the Amish. Perhaps another lesser-known custom among the Swiss group. If I had no other information besides the photo, I’d call it a pine-palm tree. Curious.

The vast majority of Amish here strictly drive open-top buggies.

There are a few exceptions however.

So these are bonnets. What a lot of people call bonnets, aren’t bonnets, but prayer coverings, aka kapps. Bonnets go on when you go outside, the kapp is worn all the time.

So technically here’s another thing I haven’t exactly seen before. You do see some sports and/or university team paraphernalia on Amish buggies – usually youth buggies.

I have never noticed the license plate however. We have Ohio State backers in this buggy.

The funny thing is, this is one of the few communities (being in Indiana) where buggies are required to have a regular license plate. So why is this buggy owner not displaying one, opting to show allegiance to the Buckeyes instead?

My guess is that this person actually lives just over the border in Ohio, where the community has expanded, but where plates are not required. So they used the space to pay tribute to OSU.

Neat set of shots here by Jim. What do you think?

Amish-made cheese

You might also like:


Get the Amish in your inbox


    Question on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the Amish FAQ.