Bowling Green, Missouri Amish

Beth Russo has kindly shared 10 photos of the Amish settlement at Bowling Green, Missouri (Pike County).  Beth recently made a trip during which she visited an Amish woodworking shop and a beekeeper.  You can find more of her photos on her Facebook page.

Bowling Green is the oldest Amish settlement in Missouri, founded in 1947.  There are a total of 3 church districts and an Amish population of around 400.

missouri amish manure spreaderAn Amish boy cleaning off a manure spreader.  While you won’t see too many manure spreading scenes on the covers of Amish fiction novels, it’s a necessary winter-spring task.

amish draft horses
The horsepower.  Looks like these guys are due for a bath too.

missouri amish schoolShady Creek School in Pike County.  Amish typically give schools nature-themed names or ones reflecting geographical features.  Other examples include Echo Ridge (Bloomfield, Iowa Amish), Spring Brook (Wayne County, Ohio), and Cotton School (on Cotton Road in the New Wilmington, PA Amish settlement).

A school name might also reflect ownership of the land.  Millerview School at the Kokomo, Indiana Amish settlement was named for the farmer on whose land it was built in the 1960s (see Nappanee Amish Directory 2001).

shady creek amish school missouri

Shady Creek School’s woodshed is visible on the left.  A wood-burning stove keeps the classroom warm in winter months.

amish woodworking shop missouriInside the Eicher family’s J&D woodworking shop.

missouri amish vehiclesAn assortment of Amish vehicles.  Beth was told that buggy tops are optional at Bowling Green.

The Bowling Green community was originally founded by transplants from a Swiss Amish community in Indiana.  Open carriages are typical of Swiss communities (read more on Swiss Amish and their customs).

missouri amish cemetery
An Amish cemetery.  Like schools, cemeteries are typically located on a plot of land carved off of an Amish farm.

Cemeteries are often Amish-only, but in some cases, such as in Lancaster County, Amish and Mennonites may be buried together.

amish home renovationRenovation at an Amish home in Pike County, MO.

amish laundry icehouseLaundry lines strung up in front of an icehouse.

missouri amish child

Bowling Green is just one of around 3 dozen Missouri Amish communities.

Read more on Missouri Amish settlements, including the large communities at Seymour (Webster County), Jamesport (Daviess County), and Clark (Randolph County). Or view a directory of Amish woodworking in the Show Me State: Amish Furniture-Missouri.

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    1. Marilyn in New York

      WOW, those pictures are beautiful !!! I like the inside of wood working shop. Oh, I like them all. Thank you Erik and Beth for the pictures.

    2. Dana

      I was waiting for some bee hives since she visited beekeeper too. Pictures are awesome, thanks.

    3. Sydney

      These are wonderful pictures. I would like to learn more about the Swiss Amish. Where would be a good place to look?

    4. Mary Brandenburg

      I must say I am slightly confused by the last photo – a child wearing the pants of a boy, but the head covering of a girl…. hmmmmm, which is it??

    5. Mona

      Thanks for sharing these pictures with us, Beth & Erik, they are wonderful…..would love to see more as you can post…..

    6. Mona

      To Mary B. I was wondering the same thing, but I believe she has on a dress and has them pushed into her boots……as my understanding is, females do not wear slacks,jeans etc.someone out there correct me if I’m wrong …….and what do you think it is in this picture???? As the old saying goes 2 heads are better than one !!!!!just sayin……………

    7. Mona

      Just a suggestion…..could you number the photos, so when people comment , they can specify the # of the photo they are talking about ?

    8. Sydney, on Swiss Amish, there are a couple of good books in which they are discussed–An Amish Patchwork by Nolt and Meyers on Indiana Amish is one, Plain Diversity is a more in-depth look on the same topic. The largest Swiss populations are in Indiana so they get covered.

      You can also try the “Swiss Amish” link above for more info.

    9. Mary and Mona, good question on the last child–I think Beth was wondering as well.

      Mona appreciate the suggestion on photo numbers but I think I’ll leave them un-numbered for aesthetic reasons. Hope it’s not too much trouble to just describe the one(s) you’re referring to.

      Dana, Beth did have a couple of bee-related shots, maybe she wouldn’t mind if I posted those as well.

    10. Dave

      I noticed power tools in the woodworking shop – namely a planer, a drill press and a vacuum system to eliminate dust. Are these powered by electricity from an outside generator? Great pictures – thanks for sharing.

      1. Lynn


        I was wondering the same thing…as well as the powerwasher. I didn’t think they used gas or electric. I am not that knowledgeable on the subject though.

    11. Erik – Share any of the pics you want to! I didn’t know they were beehives until they told me when I was there – not what I pictured in my head. I, too, wondered if that was a boy or girl with the cat mainly because of the scarf and then the pants. I can’t remember but I think the man at the shop said his tools were run on gas. We’re going back May 14th for an Amish school auction.

      It’s funny you mentioned the Swiss Amish because the family that had the topless buggies (Hilty) had Swiss Amish roots he said – and beehives! LOL

    12. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      At first I thought the young person in question was wearing a blue hood, but I looked at it again. I guess the parents don’t mind work pants on children, because lets face it, spring is muddy. Here in Ontario I’ve been stepping in mud in the grass and fields I’ve gone to.

    13. Dave typically they are powered by pneumatic or hydraulic, or by belt power in more conservative groups (a shaft running below the shop fitted with belts rising out of the floor). Diesel engines typically are used to drive these setups.

    14. Beth, thank you–we may have an Amish honey post upcoming then.

      Shom, I keep looking at the photo and I really can’t tell!

    15. EX-AMISH

      My sister used to wear work pants in the fields…Especially when the mud was at its finest and manure-spreaders were about!! This was when she was VERY young though.

    16. Kim/Pike County Mo.

      Pike County

      I know the families behind these pictures. We do good business with them. One thing, I’m surprised at; you have pictures of people in the community. The Bowling Green community is very sensitive to that. We always inform our clients who visit, out of respect, pictures of community people are forbidden. Hilty’s is the best place to go. Their jams, honey, butter, chickens (free range), and they also do butchering especially during deer season, just a wonderful devoted family. Of course the bakery is yummy too, especially the days they make doughnuts. Our company does business with a Friesian Cross Breeder in the community. We supply him with potential buyers, where they would not normally meet. We’ve shipped horses to NY, Boston, Idaho, MN, IL and KS to very pleased clients. These Friesian crosses are used for Carriage, Dressage, Sport Horses, and trail horses. Kind Regards…

      1. Vev


        Hi, I live in St. Louis, I was told about the Amish community and that I can but real eggs and other foods there. My sister and I really hate most foods in the regular grocery stores and for the last few months I have been getting sick eating this crap they have pumped up with who knows what. We was told to go to Bowling Green and anyone could tell us where to go. Well needless to say, we went to Bowling Green and the first gas station off the Bowling Green exit we stopped. These gas attendance looked at us like we were talking deers or something. They were clueless if though Amish community was a unfamiliar language, no one could tell us anything. So we turned around and headed home. I live near highway 40. Can anyone Please tell us how to get to the Amish community and the best foods to buy and how to get there? Thanks and Be Blessed.

    17. Amish photos and businesses

      Hi Kim, great to hear from a local!

      The person who took these photos was given permission to do so (as she writes, they “had no problem with me taking all I wanted”) and also apparently gave suggestions of what to shoot. I do appreciate the sentiment, however. Generally though I find Amish are not as sensitive about photos as we suppose them to be (there are exceptions to every statement of course, and no one wants cameras constantly shoved in their face).

      Generally however I usually avoid photos where people are identifiable, ie the two children shown here.

      It sounds like you are doing a good thing helping to enable business contacts for these families. I also hope people who might find this post online will be encouraged to visit Hilty’s, Eicher’s and others. By the way, do you happen to know how many Amish folks run businesses as opposed to primarily farming in the area?

    18. MaryBeth

      Directions and best time to visit

      Hi there. I also would like to visit an Amish community close to home. However, I don’t want to have the experience of the person who couldn’t find it once she drove out there. So, I would definitely need directions. Do they mind visitors? Are there certain times of year to go versus others? Is now too soon since it really isn’t spring yet? Do they have festivals,etc? Weekends would be the best for me. I would think Sundays are out? Please advise on all. Thanks!

      1. Visiting the Amish in Missouri

        Mary Beth it’s best to visit a larger community where there will be numerous businesses and signs so that getting lost will be hard to do (see here for more about Missouri Amish communities:

        If you go to one of the towns mentioned in that post(larger communities), the Amish community is usually in the close vicinity outside town so you’ll be able to ask directions if you don’t already seen signs of the community (yellow warning sign, relatively plain business signs at/near road intersections).

        Visiting local Amish businesses is a good plan, they usually don’t mind the business :), so if you stick to that you shouldn’t go wrong. They are all closed Sundays, but most are open year-round, unless it’s something seasonal like produce.

    19. Mike


      Go to There you will find a map of the Amish Community showing The farms and listing what they have for sale. Lovely Country!

    20. Just today we visited the Bowling Green area, including J&D woodworking shop pictured above. David (the son of the father and son woodworking family) showed us around the shop. He was very friendly and shared lots of information about their work.

    21. My Home Community

      The Bowling Green Amish Community is my former home community where I lived for 30 years. This is a deeply traditional, legalistic and segregated community.

      For the outsider, this looks like a quiet, tranquil community where everything flows in harmony–little understanding the internal upheaval that is almost constantly going on within. My apologies to the many neighboring farmers who are aware for such misleading appearances.

      Even so, I love these people dearly, for they are my people.

      1. Ben thanks for sharing. Hearing from former Amish people over the years it seems to me that you can take a person out of the Amish but you can’t take the Amish out of a person.

        You mentioned internal upheaval, do you know if there are multiple affiliations here as in Adams County, Indiana? My understanding is there are 5 different groups there, and I know Bowling Green has connections to that area.

        1. Bowling Green Amish

          It is true, you will never take “Amish” out of a person no matter how far he attempts to separate himself. In this, my wife and I are quite the exception. Due to our love for them, we never left them. After many years however, we were officially banned due to our faith–having had a super natural encounter with the Lord on our humble Amish farm near Bowling Green in 1981–forever changing our lives….

          Yes, these two communities are culturally and spiritually linked, in fact I was born in Adams County IN. The Bowling Green community is comprised of only one group.

          This group however, is but a shadow of its flourishing past, as hundreds of families have moved in and out of the community since 1950 due to cultural conflicts from within.

          1. I will also make mention; You may obtain my latest book from Amazon;

            “An Amish Journey to Forgiveness”

            This book is a gripping account of our lives.

    22. Brandon

      Photo Story

      Hey Erik, and anyone else that could possibly help me out…

      I am a photography major here in Saint Louis and have an assignment to cover a photo story. Something subjective, just 10-12 photos. I have been very intrigued with the Amish community and their way of life, since it seems almost unknown to many “English” people. I have always been fascinated in taking photographs of the Amish community. I am very aware of their sensitivity in this matter and many do not like cameras and/or photographs taken of them. I am not necessarily looking to take portraits of Amish individuals, but more of the atmosphere and culture. The buggies, the houses, schools, shops, roads, etc. I have been reading many articles on this site and have found a lot of information. I am just trying to see where I should take my first step to make this happen, if it would even be a possibility. I would love any comments or repsonses to this! Thank you so much and hope to hear from you soon!


      1. Brandon if you’re taking photos of landscapes, buggies, etc then I think most people just visit an Amish community and start shooting. As long as you are not putting your lens in someone’s face you’re probably not going to get complaints. For variety of scenes you’ll probably want to go to a larger community; there are a number of places in Missouri (see the State Guide entry) and also Arthur, Illinois is close enough to you.

    23. carol adams

      General info

      I am in need of a custom television stand and sofa table. I am wondering if J&D woodworking takes custom orders?

    24. Roof

      I am looking for a metal roof or maybe a shingle roof, I am in St. Charles 63304 area.. My cell # is 636-443-3941