Dover, Delaware Amish

Dover delaware amish

Dover, Delaware Amish buggy

The Dover Amish settlement, founded in 1915, lies to the west of the city.  The Dover community was settled by Pennsylvania, Kansas, Ohio, and Michigan Amish.  Today Dover consists of 9 church districts.

Lying near a heavily settled urban area, Dover has experienced similar land and population pressures to the Lancaster County Amish to the north.

David Luthy cites the editor of The Diary (June 2007), who states that “the huge development pressure in the last years is presenting a new challenge to the people living there,” noting that thirteen families had migrated away from Dover that May.

One upshot of these pressures is the rise of small businesses.  Kraybill and Nolt note that restrictions on electric generators and electric tools on job sites have meant that entrepreneurial Dover Amish have specialized in masonry rather than carpentry, and have developed woodworking shops which do not require electricity (read more on Delaware Amish furniture).

Amish America contributor Rick Harrison recently visited this community and stopped in at a few Dover Amish businesses, including a woodworking shop and a general store.

Dover Amish use scooters like in Lancaster, and drive black-topped buggies.  The Dover buggy is a bit unusual.  It has small side windows, rounded sides, and a walk-in back door.  Rick, who shares the photo above, mentions that people have asked him if it is a hearse.  Compared to the large windows and roll-up sides of some Amish vehicles in other settlements, it does look a little foreboding.  You can compare it, for example, to these Ohio-style buggies, from Holmes County:

Holmes ohio amish buggies
Mount Hope, Ohio Amish buggies

Sources:

GAMEO

Amish Enterprise, by Donald Kraybill and Steven Nolt

Amish Settlements Across America: 2008, by David Luthy

Plain Buggies, by Stephen Scott

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    10 Comments

    1. OldKat

      That is an interesting looking rig alright. I wonder if there is anyone that knows the reason they use such a unique shape? Just guessing here, but I suspect it has something to do with being more weather tight. Again, that is just a guess.

      The wife of an Amish guy I know in South Texas is from Delaware. One day he and I were working my horses and talking about family. He mentioned that his wife grew up in Delaware. Then he said; “You know, all of the Amish in Delaware can only live in three counties!” Well I guess my sense of fairness was offended, so I said; “That’s not right! How can they do that?” He smiled and said “Well, there are ONLY three counties in Delaware. That is a little Amish joke we like to tell!”

    2. I would think there would be more room with a rounded buggy like that compared to the others.

      I can see where someone might think it’s a hearse of some sort…lol…

    3. Lydia Barbely

      You have a lot of information about the Amish. I have an article about them on my new web site: http://www.icrosscountrytravel.com. I am asking if you could link this site to mine. I am looking for more traffic to mine and it would help both of us to link together. Again, I find your website very interesting and amazing. Thank you.

      1. Karen

        can't find you

        I have made several attempts to access your website and I continue to get error message that it doesn’t exist! I live near Dover and love visiting the Amish shops. I would enjoy finding more, not sure where they all are. If anyone has a favorite, please post it here for my next trip. Thanks..

    4. Oldkat, good question, you know I don’t know, Steve S. talks about this style in Plain Buggies (God bless him, by the way, for the effort he has put into creating his always helpful and informative books) but I don’t recall that he goes into much detail why. I’ll ask him for any insights next time we’re in touch. You know, I’ll never get tired of the ‘Amish’ sense of humor–even when I’m getting ribbed with Polish jokes!

      And Dawn, good point, maybe that is extra legroom, kind of like the airlines these days. Lydia thanks for your note and I will check out your site.

    5. Growing up we always used this style of buggy and they are definitely roomier than the box type we had to ride in whenever we visited our cousins in Lancaster.

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    9. Vanessa Scott

      Amish Tool Shop

      My boyfriend bought me a heated jacket at an Amish Store he said it mainly sells tools. But he won’t tell me where it is. I want to buy him one for Christmas! Can anyone help me please.