Indiana Amish Church: Pennsylvania Visitors (11 Photos)


In the photos below, you can see the unusual sight of Lancaster-style clothing in the northern Indiana (Elkhart-Lagrange) Amish settlement. These Pennsylvania visitors were apparently in town for a wedding.

First, you see some local families arriving, in Indiana-style clothing (with women in Lancaster-style clothing on the far right).


Next, a mixed group:


You can see that both men and women have different head coverings, with the Lancaster women wearing the distinct heart-shaped kapp and men and boys with straw hats. 


Compare that to the clothing of this Indiana family:


You may also note other differences in clothing, for example with the Indiana woman on the left of this photo below wearing a white apron.


Here are more examples of Indiana-style dress:


More arrive.


If you’re Amish, how nice it must be to know you will be welcome to worship and fellowship with your brethren in different communities across the country. You may be hundreds of miles from home, but the form and structure of the Sunday service remains more or less the same.

The Lob Lied is the second hymn sung during opening singing. You still have two sermons, a shorter and a longer one. The fellowship meal may have a few different things to eat, but is still a chance to visit over good food.


It’s fun to have visitors of course. At the least it’s a fresh face to talk with at the table. I can imagine these guests were asked about how church service might compare where they live.

They may have commented on eating snitz pie or found some amusing dialect differences. And they probably had much more to talk about besides the more superficial things. Who knows.


Though these photos show us an unusual sight, you will see Lancaster-style dress in other places in the Hoosier State.

In the early-to-mid 1990s, Lancaster Amish founded two settlements in Indiana, in Parke County and almost directly on the opposite side of the state in Wayne County.

Those two have both grown to a significant size (as of 2015, 7 and 8 districts respectively), and the last names found in the two counties’ Amish populations–Stoltzfuses (Stoltzfi?), Fishers, and Lapps, to name a few–are further markers of their different origins.


And while I describe the people in these photos as Pennsylvania visitors, it’s technically possible they could come from one of these two communities (or even another sister settlement), which maintain the dress and other cultural markers of their Lancaster origin settlement.

Images by ShipshewanaIndiana

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    1. Alex Knisely

      This is a bit creepy, a bit stalker-ish

      Long-lens photographs from behind a woodpile… that’s not what respecting Amish folks’ privacy is about.

      1. Dr._K

        Indiana Amish Church - PA visitors

        I think the photographer is being quite discrete, and it is possible the persons who’s images were capture allowed the photos. Amish do not mind their photos being taken if they are able to preserve their anonymity. I did not see anyone’s face photographed. Because the photographer may have been English, it would not necessarily be appropriate for that individual to have been up in their faces, or to be in their spaces, so he/she gave them distance. I would imagine after the photos were taken, if indeed it was from a friendly person, they would have been invited to a meal. At a later date, they would have shown the finished product, and maybe even offered one to those who’s images they captured. If you are a friend to Amish, this would be an acceptable way for them to allow you to ‘capture’ their customs and their different style of living, so outsiders could see.

        I will hold further comments until others (SHOM, Erik) have checked in with their collective 4 cents.

        1. Dirk

          Hi Dr. K, I think Alex was being tongue in cheek, at least that is how I understood his comment. Gave me a chuckle.

      2. garrettt

        not creepy at all

        In today’s society Amish are very understanding, They just will Not pose for pictures, I can assure you privacy is always considered, Thanks for the photos.

      3. Katie Troyer

        I have been to an Amish wedding where I have been told discreetly to take as many pictures as I can without being seen. The bride wanted pictures of her wedding.

        1. Bill Rushby

          Bride's Desire for Wedding Pictures

          And I hope the bride was able to get some photos of her wedding occasion!

      4. Mark - Holmes Co.

        I’ll agree with you Alex. For some reason it bothers me less to be photographed when I’m out on business or working than when we gather for worship or a funeral. We were at a funeral recently where tourists were snapping pictures. (They probably did not realize it was a funeral.) It felt like “Can’t you give us a break?” But then to be fair, I still thought the pictures were interesting, so I guess I’m not making much sense. (Or being consistent, or whatever.)

        1. Thanks for the input Mark. I think I see where you’re coming from.

      5. Good to have this and other feedback below. I guess you could say something similar about many photos of the Amish. I didn’t even think about the woodpile making it “creepy”, just thought it was caught in the shot. I don’t know exactly where the photographer was standing but I doubt he was hiding behind it 🙂

        We share Amish photos on the site, and as with these, mostly avoid showing faces though do they do appear in some photos…for instance an auctioneer’s face performing at an auction or a teacher and schoolchildren singing a song for the camera, to give two examples that come to mind. We’ll continue to share photos, but it’s good to be thoughtful about which to include and which to leave out. Thanks for the comment Alex.

        1. Alex Knisely

          Thanks for the feedback

          Don’t know why this post caught me feeling as I did. Likely my impressions were wrong, certainly they weren’t based on a full understanding of the circumstances. Apologies offered for offence given.

    2. garrettt

      I thought I was right

      I have been noticing different buggies and dress lately, now it all came together.

    3. Visitors in Worship

      Our (my wife and I) very first trip into the Amish world included being visitors in a Sunday morning Amish worship service in Lancaster Co. After their initial “what are those two people doing driving up in a Honda instead of behind a horse” looks (which were to be expected, but still felt awkward), we were welcomed into our separate groups (my wife going with the women into the house, me going with the men to the dairy barn. But as the article above spoke of the various topics of discussion over the fellowship meal, it reminded me that one of the things that surprised me most was as men spoke with me after the service, one of main things they would ask about was the St. Louis Cardinals (when they found out I live not far from St. Louis). I’m not sure what I thought Amish men would talk about, but for these (in my mind) highly religious folks that live off the earth, and off the grid with no way of listening to a ballgame, being curious about a ball team four states away certainly wasn’t a topic I expected.

      1. Dirk

        That was decent and kind of them to raise a topic they felt you would be familiar and enthusiastic to speak about so that you would not feel isolated and ignored.

        1. Thoughtfully trying to incorporate Don may be why they raised the topic of baseball, but I’m going to guess that they are actually interested in the St. Louis Cardinals 🙂

          I have wondered what it must be like to follow a sports team primarily through newspaper articles and box scores, which is the main “Amish” option for those who get a paper (especially nowadays with the viewing experience so greatly enhanced compared to my boyhood days when I used to watch grainy VHS recordings of my favorite team, the Oakland A’s). It’s a far cry from watching live on a 46-inch HD screen, but I guess it’s better than nothing 😉

    4. Alice Mary

      It’s nice to see folks from 2 different states (or areas) next to each other for clothing comparison (Amish-wise). I personally like the heart-shaped prayer coverings of Lancaster County, PA. Refresh my memory (?)as to WHY they’re heart-shaped, and not (my description) “dixie cup” shaped?

      I hope everyone enjoyed the day. I could feel the anticipation with each photo!

      Alice Mary

    5. Jim Cates

      Dixie Cups

      I can’t resist teasing Erik here Alice Mary. I know from past discussions he likes the heart-shapes better too, so I’m interested how he handles this political “hot potato”of a covering controversy!

      1. Ah, you had to go there Jim 🙂 Jim knows I have been known to describe the Midwest kapp as “lampshade” style. He and I have a mutual friend, an Amish lady in Indiana. She found that description amusing (I think) 😉

        Alice Mary, this is one of those things where I don’t know if there is a good answer. I haven’t ever heard an explanation as to why this style developed here and we see the other in the Midwest. Actually, Amish in the second and third oldest Amish communities (Somerset County, PA and Big Valley, PA) wear styles that have multiple pleats. Somerset County for one founded several sizeable Midwestern communities including founding or co-founding Holmes County, northern Indiana, and Arthur, IL so the answer might be found there.

        1. Linda

          Head coverings Round, Butterfly or heart-shaped

          “Although these coverings serve as a symbol of reverence and submission, their variety of sizes, colors and shapes are mainly a result of tradition within the Amish culture.”
          “While the Amish in Holmes County generally have rounded coverings, Yoder said Lancaster Amish have the butterfly or heart-shaped coverings.”

          (“Head coverings a key symbol of Amish culture,” 9/2013)

          The Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Ohio has a display of coverings.

          (Why do Amish women cover their hair?)

    6. Juanita

      I enjoyed reading this and seeing the pictures. Thank you for sharing all of this.