Reader Ashley recently alerted me to photos of what can only be an Amish-owned home in the Belle Center, Ohio community. This home is up for sale, and you can see over two dozen photos of it at the realtor’s listing here (Update: photos no longer online, but we’ve posted some of them below). We’ve […]
Continue Reading Look Inside an Ohio Amish Home (7 Photos)
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How do they keep the fridge cold?
We already have cold on the planet without the sun. So heat is removed from an insulated box and gets cold inside. The first automated refrigeration was not with freon requiring a compressor. It was ammonia liquid in a sealed coil on the back. Chemically when ammonia is heated it wants to stay hot. It is heated with propane or kerosene at the bottom called a boiler chamber or boiler tube. Pure ammonia steam rises to the top and cools and condensates back to hot ammonia liquid. There is an aluminum plate inside freezer where ammonia is the hottest. This absorbs heat from inside the insulated box, absorbing heat from food as well. This reduces temperature down to zero just like a fridge you’re used to. The hot fluid trickles down by gravity down the back coil to another heat sink in the fridge compartment. It still has some heat absorbing capacity and this becomes cooler than the top. This refrigeration is still in use in RV’s and the largest manufacturer for homes is Servel.
This type of cooling does not create cold like a high powered freon system. They have a thermostat that controls heat from the burner and don’t use much fuel at all. They don’t cool down as quickly as a freon system and you can’t fill with warm food expecting to extract all the heat immediately. So they need to be cooled down first. They are also silent. If you hear a trickle like a babbling brook, they need recharging which is very expensive. This is not household ammonia which is 1% ammonia 99% water. It is almost pure dangerous stuff to handle. Anti caking agents are added to the mixture to prevent caking inside the system, but if overheated, crystals can form a blockage. Turning upside down is known as “burping” the fridge that actually dislodges the crystal blockage and you’re good to go until it may block up again. It needs recharging when this happens to cure properly.
Ahh…Cute Paul. Hmm.
That was simply fascinating Paul! never knew that. 😉
How do they keep the Refrigerater Cold
They use gas propelled appliance and or Generators
Propane and natural gas refrigerators are popular with the Amish. That’s most likely what you see here. Crystal Cold is one company that makes them, out of Arcola, IL.
This may have been at one time a home lived in by the amish but not now. There is indoor electric and indoor plumbing and an indoor phone.
Phone in Amish Homes
Colleen, I can’t speak for Belle Center here, but I’ve been in an Amish home in Mt. Hope that had a phone inside the home. It was allowed because it was a necessity for the woman’s job (she ran a B&B out of her home). The also had some electricity, from their generator they used to power the milking machine in their dairy barn. And they had indoor plumbing as well. So while some of this may not be the norm for the Amish, I don’t think it rules out the possibility of it being Amish.
Colleen, many Amish homes have indoor plumbing. Usually it’s just the most conservative who don’t have it. This is a New Order Amish community, they all definitely use indoor plumbing.
As for the phone, in this New Order Amish community, they are allowed to have a single telephone line in the home, but no answering machine or cell phones. See: https://amishamerica.com/do-you-know-these-10-amish-terms/#comment-34721
That’s not common for most Amish, and I thought someone would notice that phone cord hanging out, good job 🙂
The fact that it is wired for electric doesn’t mean electric is used in the home, as the quote you shared indicates (“Home is wired for electric but not connected to an electric provider.”) One reason that might be done in construction to allow it to be more easily sold to a non-Amish person at some point; some Amish may take future sale to non-Amish into account when building their homes. You can see where the outlets go in the walls in some of the photos.
By the type of lighting, decor, horse barn, basement, and overall appearance it matches what you see among New Order Amish. If we had photos of a very plain Amish home here they would look quite different.
I’m curious why it was listed online. In December we shared photos of a bungalow in Pinecraft, FL that was placed on the market when that normally isn’t the case in that area.
I’m guessing they are seeking a non-Amish buyer or simply offering it on that market to expand the buyer pool. It looks like it was first listed last summer according to zillow.com, which may have been when these photos were taken.
Differences in NOA?
So Erik, finding out that this is New Order Amish it brings up a question: Is there as much rule-variety in NOA as OOA? I’ve only been in one NOA community (Ava, IL) that I know of, and the Amish store and a man’s shop were definitely on the grid. Even had industrial-size air conditioners. So it seems quite different if this house wasn’t on the grid at all. Is it likely just different rules for different settlements?
Yes, there is variety across New Order, the big divide is the electric/non-electric issue (see my comment below just posted to Terry). New Order churches vary in technology they accept as well. This can affect how they fellowship (“full” and “partial”). I don’t know what to say about comparing variety, if you include Swartzentruber and other very conservative Amish in Old Order there is a pretty wide space between the most progressive OOA and the least. However the NO have the space created by electric. Interesting question.
Electric in the home
One of the first things I notice about an Amish home is the lack of power lines attached to the home. If you look at the very first picture, there are no power lines going into this home.
Thanks. I didn’t see any power wire hookup on the house picture. Maybe an old picture. Lovely house.
Also there is no out house. I believe this home was built by the amish for non amish.
If you look at the features on the realtor.com listing you will see that the home has baseboard heating and central air.
Further if you look at the lands of america.com listing you will find. “Home is wired for electric but not connected to an electric provider. Electric estimate available upon request.”
Why do amish homes have an entry sink ??
Entry sinks, electric and plumbing systems;
I put a sink in my mud room at the back door and it was the best thing I did building my own home. You don’t have to track mud and dirt through the house to rinse vegetables or clean up from working on something like a tractor or vehicle outside. When your hands are greasy you can’t take your shoes off to get to a sink through the house, you can clean up before bringing the mess inside. I put a interior door on the room as well in case we have a sick or injured animal, chicken, turkey or duck that needs attention and to be quarantined. It also acts as an air locker on cold days when entering with wood or taking out ash. Closing the door only allows a little air exchange in the home and on windy days prevents ash from flying out of the pan into the house.
Just because a home is wired for electric doesn’t mean it’s not Amish owned and used. Building codes require minimum number of outlets in every habitable room as well as GFCI receptacles within 6 feet of sinks, in garages, basement and outdoors. When building a home, contractors plug into a generator for the code enforcement officer to test the system, and many times the power is not connected until sold when the first owner starts the service. It needs to be there for a certificate of occupancy. Gas lights require black iron inside walls and were probably installed when walls were constructed.
Indoor plumbing and faucets does not mean they are connected to a electrically pumped fresh water system. Windmill outside, hydraulic ram pump in stream, or hand pump fills a tank above the ceiling and water gravity flows to spigots.
I don’t understand why there is no chimney. That is a necessity for heat and hot water. A propane fired boiler or water heater in the basement would only require a short B vent pipe, possibly not seen in pictures. It will circulate through baseboard without electric circulator when plumbed properly. That’s considered a central system.
No out house doesn’t mean much in new construction. There are propane or diesel fuel fired toilets as well as composting. It only takes a drain field for gray water (wash water) drains.
Summertown, Tennessee auction photos
For the Mast auction this Saturday, March 14 in Summertown, Tennessee, a photo gallery shows interior and exterior pictures. Summertown is a New Order Amish settlement using electricity.
The same auctioneer is selling excess equipment and personal property today in Ethridge, Tennessee, but no photos are given. The auction brochure says, “No photos of the Amish.”
A couple of small rugs but NO carpeting! Interesting.
As a mom of small children, 100 % linoleum looks like a great idea!
We have several Amish friends from different settlements here in Wisc. The conservative ones have running cold water and an out house. Then we move on to the ones who have running cold and hot water, bathroom inside, gas stove, frig, lights, grill, and recently allowed rubber on their buggy wheels! Others have running hot and cold water, bathroom inside, but no gas stove or frig. The new order friends have electricity! Sitting in an Amish kitchen drinking coffee listening to the frig run, and then the phone rang, well…it about blew me away! They dress Amish and use a horse and buggy, but they milk their cows with a pipe line milking system…that was another new one…and when we talked about all of this the Mrs said, being Amish is not a religion, but a life style. Her family hailed from KY originally and was raised with electricity and was 50 years old.
Some of the homes we have visited are void of any thing to “fancy”, and then others have a very comfortable life. So, the rules are all different in their communities.
Interesting Terry, your friend must have been from Guthrie, KY, which is the largest electric New Order group (going by number of church districts, at 3). They’ve been around since 1958, not sure if electric has been allowed the whole time but you can see how she may have been raised with electric.
Electricity in horse-and-buggy Amish homes is only found in a very small minority however. The Belle Center New Order community is not an electric group. From what I’ve learned they are somewhat more conservative than New Order Amish in Holmes County, OH.
More info from Wisc
Erik, The Mrs of the house also talked about having family/friends living in KY and VA before coming to Wisconsin. Currently there are only 6 families in the settlement. They have preachers but no Bishop. Their church leadership comes from a community about 125 miles from them. I subscribe to the Budget and often times I read of comings and goings between the two communities, and that was another new one for me.
The Amish there are more community friendly than some we know. They have a monthly singing at the nursing home…another new one…not just the kids going, but adults, usually the men, as well. Their old driver Don and his wife Dorothy ended up at the nursing home, so there was more of a reason to visit and sing for the residents. Don and Dorothy passed away not to far apart from each other, and the Amish went to the funerals and sang! (We knew Don and Dorothy personally and their funerals were in the church my wife grew up in). (There was some word of the differences in traditions published in the Budget after). How NICE of them! 🙂 The locals talked of this happening and how pleased they were to have them as new friends.
The Amish outside my hometown are a conservative group and if they want to show their respect for a deceased friend they go to the funeral home the night before the funeral. Never did we see them in church for the funeral, much less do a hymn sing! When my mom passed away we had visitation before the funeral in the church, so, none of my old Amish friends did we see. 🙁 Had we decided to do the night before tradition the outcome might have been different.
Just maybe it’s time to take a drive and have coffee and a visit with these newest Amish friends of ours! I very well might learn of something new to share with all you readers!
Amish visiting non-Amish churches?
We’ll be glad to hear what you learn, Terry. This comment was very interesting to me. I’m sure going to a church would be more uncomfortable for some Amish than just going to the funeral home. I’ve had Amish friends attend my church with me while visiting NC, but have also been refused my friendly invite in another occasion (when I was the one visiting the Amish area, and it was a different person).
I believe Don Curtis has shared here about a similar-sounding singing that Belle Center people participated in. What a nice practice.
I had a couch exactly like the one they have in their living room !! Really liked that couch to. Sold it when I moved back up north from Florida. Enjoyed the pictures.
Such a beautiful well kept & loved home! One can tell whoever lives there has God in their hearts. Compared to an Englisher home – huge flat screen, electric sewing machine, cell phones, & all the modern doo dads – this home is quite modest. Thank you so much for sharing this peek into Amish life!
What strikes me is the plain color of the walls; or did they repaint everything “neutral” at the request of the realtor? I thought Amish could paint walls as long as the color wasn’t too garish-for example, painting kitchen walls a pale yellow would be acceptable, whereas a brighter shade may not be allowed.
The color of the walls (or the wallpaper in the bathroom) didn’t strike me as anything unusual. White, light and cream colors are quite common in Amish homes. Some churches may have regulations or at least norms, but Amish seem to like colors like these. If you didn’t catch it, Don Curtis added a comment which explains more about Belle Center and wall colors, a few comments down.
Looks very Plain and simple and beautiful!
Belle Center Amish Home
I asked Mark about this home for sale. He knows quite a bit about it. It is the home of a single Amish lady. Because it is so small it is not really practical for an Amish family unless it were a retired couple. Most young Amish couples starting out rent until they can afford a place of their own and when the buy a place of their own they want it large enough to expand into as they raise a family. Mark said that Amish homes in his area require the house to be wired for electricity in order to get a bank loan. Required by the bank, not the Amish church. Mark’s house is not wired at all. The house is not hooked up to the outside lines but is wired for electricity and is plumbed for propane lights and refrigeration, as well. The house definitely does not have central air conditioning. Mark is not sure about the heating but thinks that the house has propane heat. The house was built by Amish for Amish and is still Amish.
I’m so glad you asked Mark about this house, Don. Thank you for the additional info on it! That’s what appealed to me about it: it’s smallness, neatness, and it’s pretty, neutral colors inside. I love the flower garden out front and the small (well, relatively) lawn.
And guess what? I’m also a single woman and it looks so much like the perfect living spot to me. We 2 women, Amish or not, seem to have something in common there! *smile*.
Belle Center Amish Homes continued
I better explain this better. Newly constructed Amish homes in the Belle Center area need to be wired for electricity to get bank loans. Also, previously owned Amish homes that were not wired for electricity and are now purchased by Amish who want a bank loan, most banks require the house to be wired to get a mortgage loan. That way the bank has a back up and can sell the own to non-Amish if they must foreclose.
I asked Mark about the paint. He said that there are not rules about painted walls inside the houses. Almost all of the homes at Belle Center have white or off-white walls just out of personal preference. Mark doesn’t. His bedrooms upstairs are a light green and a light yellow. He’s going to be repainting his downstairs rooms and is going with light blue in the two bathrooms and light peach on the walls in the living room and kitchen/dining room. Mark said that it is in the church rules that there is no wall-to-wall carpeting. All of the Amish homes have linoleum or tile or hardwood floors. A few throw rugs are allowed.
I don’t see how carpeting could ever be maintained in an Amish home without a vacuum. I don’t know of any gas powered or battery powered vacuums that would work for carpet anyway. I am surprised there is not hardwood flooring though. Most of the Amish homes and businesses I have encountered seem to have an abundance of wood crafting outside and inside.
The other things that seem unusual to me are the curtains hanging from windows, framed art and crafts on a few of the walls. It was my understanding window blinds were required, and the only form of art permitted were calendars or religious items.
We had dinner with an Amish couple in the Shipshewana area several years ago. Her home seemed very modern to me. Beautiful bathroom and well-equipped kitchen.
The other question I would have would be why the living room areas are always so sparsely furnished? This lady just has the one loveseat. The home we visited had only one sofa and a wooden rocking chair-very little in the way of furnishings.
I asked Mark about the furniture. He said that most of the Amish at Belle Center have plain upholstered furniture usually in plain colors like navy blue. The very conservative Amish up in Hardin County, for example, don’t even allow upholstered furniture at all. The living room would have a number of rockers and desk chairs on rollers. Most would have a cot in the living room. A cot is a bed and not a couch so it is allowed. But the folks sit on it and use it just like a couch. I think I’ll stick with my recliner.
Don thanks for passing on the inside info on this home and practices at Belle Center. I was hoping we might see you in the comments again today 🙂 Give Mark a big thanks from us too. Sounds like he has some nice colors picked out for the new paint job.
Paint a color on the wall–OK, wall-to-wall carpet–NO. How can this kind of stuff determine one’s eternal destiny!
There is More to Christianity than Eternity Prep.
Carol, I wouldn’t begin to speak for the Amish here, but I do know that much of Christianity — no matter what denominational hat one wears — deals with more than just determining ones eternal destination. Much of the Bible speaks to our interacting with our fellow man here and now. It even speaks to our relating to our Creator this side of eternity.
I’m not taking up for making the rules you mention; but often the regulations we see on the surface really deal with a deeper principle. The Amish want a simple, uncluttered life — which is noble. Those that choose to join that lifestyle pretty much know what they are getting into concerning such rules and regulations. And I’ll have to say that of the ones that I’ve talked to, none of them would think their eternity is determined by white vs. red paint.
If you notice, the phone has a springy type telephone cord along with a long telephone extensions cord. Most Amish homes at Belle Center have really long telephone cords for aa couple of reasons. One is privacy. Especially for Amish teens who want some privacy, Mark says that he’s often seen Amish teenagers get a phone call and take the phone and go in the pantry or cellar way and close the door for privacy. Another reason is that since only one phone is allowed in the home, a really long phone cord allows a phone to be carried to another room in the house without using an additional
phone in the house.
Long phone cords...
Don, that makes total sense.
Sure doesn’t look like a New York Amish Home!
I’m sure the homes in some of the areas you visit are plainer Tom. By the way have you stopped by any new communities lately?
Beautiful home and nor so cluttered with furniture and pictures and nick nacks to have to dust.
That sounds nice too, Juanita! 🙂
As has been explained before, while many non-Amish think of the Amish as Amish. The Amish don’t look at other Amish as just Amish. They look at their haircuts, clothing patterns, prayer cap style, buggy design, etc. etc. etc. so as to place them as to what level of Amish that they are. This Amish home is in the Belle Center New Order Amish community. Things at Belle Center may be a little different than other Amish communities. That doesn’t make Belle Center wrong or right. Its rules have been agreed to by the members at Belle Center and suit them. The curtains at the windows you will find in almost all of the homes at Belle Center. However, according to Mark it is in the rules that curtains may not be lace curtains. Mark has white curtains at his windows that he sent away for. They are insulated curtains and he closes them at night during really cold winter evenings to help a little to hold the heat in and the cold out.
Tagging onto Don
Don makes an excellent point that the Amish don’t look at other Amish as just Amish. Not only haircuts, clothing patterns, prayer cap style, buggy design, even the width of the hat brim places them in the Order they’re in. Within the Swartzentruber (and maybe in other orders, I don’t know) the clergy have the broadest hat brim. Therefore, a Swartzentruber can look at the hat brim and know if the man is a bishop, deacon, or preacher.
Since I’ve former Amish in my family, life, and home, I’ve learned some of these subtle differences and also behavior nuances that distinguish the different orders.
In the Swartzentruber ordnung (oral rules), the home appearance is dictated as to wall color, window covering, etc.
Good afternoon, AmishAmerica community. Thanks for this blog, Erik. You know how much I love houses. 🙂 I too love the lack of carpet as carpet is a pain for most wheelchair users. Loved reading all the comments.
Glad you enjoyed it Carolyn. As someone not in a wheelchair I take for granted how floor surfaces don’t affect my mobility. I could see how carpet would be a pain. I think you’d appreciate these floors.
Beautiful Amish Home
Wow, these pix are nice and I appreciate the hostess willing to “open up her home” to us.
Someone above noticed that lack of carpeting. When we visited our son-in-law’s Amish parents (they’re Swartzentruber Order) there were no rugs or carpeting, just shiny wood floors. Being uber strict, they had a plain home – hand pump by one sink in the kitchen, kerosene lighting, zero electric, plain walls, and a single-panel curtain over the windows.
That house sure doesn’t look Amish to me. Flowers on the wall paper?
A vanity in the bathroom? Such a small house?
Amish homes in the Gallipolis, Ohio area sure are different than that picture.
Thom, when I saw the pictures of the house I thought the same thing. We have several Amish friends and their houses vary in style depending what their ordnung will allow. The Amish around my hometown in western Wisconsin were at first completely void of upholstered furniture, indoor bathrooms, running hot water, and certainly not a frig! As time has gone on their homes did get more “Fancy” as they say..and that’s ok! 🙂
An Amishman told me years ago that they’re like the English in regards to; Some keep their places up and some don’t. True enough.
Yes it’s true interiors like these are not what people expect, especially if you’re familiar with plainer groups (Gallipolis is that way I believe, was there once in some businesses though I don’t think in any homes, but that was my impression). As Terry points out it depends on what is okay according to the Ordnung that the church has agreed to uphold. https://amishamerica.com/what-is-the-amish-ordnung/
To see even plainer photos for comparison, here is another set from NY:
I’ve had problems from electronic technology being aimed at me for years, and the thought of living in such a way as the Amish sounds absolutely wonderful.
I don’t think most people realise what health problems can be caused by electricity. Also by the new “smart” meters in the home and smart technology that actually communicates with other electrical devicesm inside and outside the home. It truly is beyond our comprehension what can be done through electricity.
Good on you, Amish folk. You’re blessed not having these things.
Love Amish Homes
I so enjoyed all the pictures and comments. In a world of selfies and materialism it’s a wonderful escape.Thank you!