I’ve got some photos of the community at Daviess County, Indiana to share with you today. These were taken by a friend of mine and emailed to me several years ago. For whatever reason, at the time I didn’t get around to posting them.
I wanted to share them because we have surprisingly relatively little on Daviess County on this site – and basically no photos – which is too bad, as it is one of my favorite Amish communities.
This was the second Amish settlement I ever spent time in, living in the area for several weeks in 2004. Over the course of that time I grew quite fond of the area and its people. I met many Waglers, Knepps and Stolls here, names you don’t find in too many other Amish places. The local Amish accent surprised me after having just spent several weeks in the Arthur, Illinois settlement. I remember imagining what it might be like to live as an Amish person while I was meeting people here. I talk about this community in this video on friendliest Amish communities.
Today Daviess County is home to the fourth-largest Amish settlement in the state of Indiana and seventh-largest overall. There are about 33 church districts here (that number was around the low-20s in 2004), and a 2020 population of 5,465 Amish.
You’ll see the following shots were actually taken in autumn. I usually try to match what I post to the season of the year, but this time will make an exception 🙂
A visit to the Daviess County, Indiana Amish community
First, a weatherworn sign from one of the area’s handful of tourist-oriented businesses welcomes you to southern Indiana’s largest Amish community. I remember eating breakfast some mornings at a Mennonite-owned restaurant in the local town of Washington, called The Black Buggy. Some years later it closed under sad circumstances.
Gasthof Amish Village is still in business however, and offers a restaurants, hotel, and shops. Tourists do not flock to Daviess County like some other communities, but there are some attractions for those that do.
The Amish area had mostly gravel roads when I was there. I’m not sure if that has changed much in the meantime. It doesn’t look like it going by these photos. It was dusty in the summer with the windows rolled down.
The buggies in Daviess County have unusual rectangular windows, on the sides and back. That’s a detail I wouldn’t have noticed back in 2004.
This buggy gets attention for different reasons.
Here’s a parked open carriage. Daviess County has a mixed heritage of Swiss Amish and Pennsylvania German-background Amish. At one time, open buggies were the standard here, like in other Swiss communities. However closed-top buggies were adopted in 1990.
The Pennsylvania German dialect has also displaced the Swiss dialect here. For these reasons, Steven Nolt and Thomas Meyers describe the community as “Swiss and not-Swiss” in their book Plain Diversity.
This place catches the eye for more than one reason.
Here’s one of the reasons. Boats are pretty common in the large northern Indiana Amish community. I can’t recall how many I saw here back then. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amish here also have them in numbers; I seem to recall going out on the water was a thing here then too. There are a number of lakes and ponds in the area.
One of the larger Amish schools you’ll see. This being Indiana, the basketball hoops come with the territory. It was this Indiana community where I first heard about Amish basketball gyms.
Loooong laundry line.
This looks like the same place, from a different angle.
It’s a boy.
I hope you enjoyed this look at the Daviess County Amish community. And a late thank-you to my friend for the nice photos.