Inside A Swartzentruber Amish Home (20 Photos) in North Carolina

The Swartzentruber Amish came to North Carolina in 2015, becoming the second Amish community in NC (not second ever, but second at that time). Since then, the community seems to have grown a bit, but not at a very fast pace.

When I visited there last year, I was pleased to hear that there were more homes than there had been on my prior visit in 201922 households vs. about 14 three years prior.

But now a home is up for sale – online – in this community, which might not be a good sign for the settlement. Someone is likely moving away (perhaps to a similar southern Swartzentruber settlement, like in Ethridge, TN or Pontotoc County, MS). And there is a limited pool of buyers given that this is a small community.

I don’t know if this would signal that they simply want to widen the potential buyer pool, or a sign that Amish might be leaving in greater numbers and the trend has started going in the opposite direction. I hope not. And I can’t call them to check as this group doesn’t have phones.

In any case, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a Swartzentruber Amish home go up for sale over the internet (here’s one in Maine, and another in New York). Even the most tech-averse Amish group is open to having their homes sold online.

From the Zillow description:

Multi-use property. Great Ellenboro location that’s about an hour from Charlotte, Hickory, Asheville and Greenville SC. 27 +/- acres has been used as a residence and farm. Multiple structures that include 2872sqft main home, 1440sqft second home, a 30×48 metal barn and several purposeful outbuildings.

Both homes need finishing as they don’t have electricity or conventional plumbing, and drywall needs to be completed. Electricity is readily available and water is currently supplied from a well ran by a generator.

Property is highlighted by a 6.5 acre fenced in pasture with pond, several garden spaces and short range mountain views. This self-sufficient land would be great for updating or leave it be as a less complex way of living. No permits are on file and no septic installed.

Hat tip to reader Erin Bowman for sending this one to me, by the way. As there’s no “Amish” keyword on the page, I probably would have missed this one if she hadn’t. Let’s have a look at the home.

The Kitchen

Inside the kitchen one thing you notice immediately is the flooring. The floor material is the same throughout. No linoleum or vinyl here. Swartzentruber wood floors are coated in linseed oil.

Another angle gives us a better look at the cooking area. What might appear to be a crock pot on the left is most likely a kerosene cook stove.

Here’s a closer look at that.

And the spackle-spotted pantry, neat and tidy.

Living Area

Here we see the typically spartan but pleasant living area. No upholstered furniture in these plainest Amish homes.

Rocking chairs are more typical in Swartzentruber Amish homes.

And so are blue-painted doors and molding.


The listing describes it as having eight bedrooms, but most of them appear to be unfinished. This is one of the more finished-looking ones. Not the first time I’ve seen rifles hung above the bed in an Amish home.

Upstairs, there appears to be more work to do, as with a good bit of this home.

No bathrooms in this home, as is the way of things with the most conservative Amish groups.

There’s more of the unfinished look when we check out this closed-in area that might be a patio of sorts. Swartzentruber Amish seem to be alright with leaving parts of their homes like this for extended periods of time. I believe it is about getting the structure up and then completing the home when the funds are available.

And you’ve also got an outside cook stove. No doubt more pleasant when canning and cooking in the hot and humid North Carolina summers. I know these summers well as NC is my home state.

And let’s take a quick look in the basement. We can notice the typical array of canned foods. But what’s that hanging there?

It looks like this family has set up a suspended food storage area. I would think this would let them keep foods in the cool of the underground while keeping them off the floor where critters might make themselves a meal. I see ketchup and possibly onions here?

The Second Home

Here is the second house mentioned in the description.

It has an unfinished look inside as well (you can check out more photos at the listing; there are nearly four dozen of this property in total).

The Price

So this home (or rather, homes) will take some work to complete and convert to English standards. But I have to say it is quite a nice property in a rural area of hills and small mountain views. Someone who appreciates plain Amish aesthetics could make themselves a very pleasant place to live here. So how much is this home, on 27+ acres of land, going for?

It’s currently on the market for $340,000. The agent is Eric Fowler of Mossy Oak Properties Carolina Timber & Realty.

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    1. Frank Comstock

      NC Home

      The unfinished look of the house doesn’t surprise me since I’ve seen non-Amish homes that are lived in before being completely finished, but only two chairs at the kitchen table and most bedrooms have no furnishings or only the most spartan of furnishings? The living area has only a couple of chairs. Let’s hope this family did not suffer a tragedy because this house appears to have been barely lived in. It was someone’s dream and, unfortunately, now seems to be a lost dream. Maybe the family simply has already moved on, but it seems unlikely they would have left their canned goods behind along with the few pieces of furniture and the coats on the porch near the outside cook stove. On the other hand, the barn is empty, there are no carriages, no farm equipment and no obvious evidence of recent farming activity. More questions than answers here, but we have to leave it there and respect the privacy of the owners.

      1. Those are interesting observations Frank. I also hope that is not the case. It may have been a relatively young family since the place doesn’t look to completed. Hopefully it’s just a case of better economic opportunities elsewhere.

        1. CoraVee Caswell

          Swiss Amish

          I assumed the Swartzentrubers lived more conservative than the Swiss, but these photos show me wrong. These could have been pics of my local Swiss, except ours are much less spacious . And ours would never, never have a patchwork quilt or chair cover, only plain. And of course ours never use closed buggies, either. Ours must also n use a hand powered washer, which i suppose the Swartzentrubers do, although any Swiss who leave the local area soon use a Honda powered Maytag winger washer.

          1. April Zook

            No Closed Buggies?

            Tell me what’s the idea behind no closed buggies? My only thought is the weather, on cold rainy or snowy days. Thank kyou

            1. This group permits them, the only group that really does not are some of the Swiss Amish churches, like at Adams County, Indiana. It’s one of those things that is probably part tied in with their identity as “Swiss”, different from other Amish, and part a holding to more traditional and conservative ways.

    2. Lydia Good


      We had a swing shelf in the basement similar to the one hanging in the basement in the pictures. Mother always put her freshly baked pies on there. Too many mice in the basement that would have been happy to have a piece of pie. Or other things she didn’t want the mice to bother. I really don’t believe that they are already moved out of the house. Even if a tragedy would have occurred, other family members or of the community would have provided help to get all their things moved. There is wash hanging on the line. And all that canned goods in the basement. The pantry is full of pots and pans etc. All the Amish are too frugal to let that much stuff behind.

    3. Central Virginian

      Real Estate Sales Listing Photos

      Keep in mind that the photos posted on an online real estate listing were taken by the realtor and arranged and often “photo-shopped” to present the property as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Furniture, including chairs in the dining area, could have been removed for the photos. Decor, such as quilts, wallhangings, etc. could have been added or removed when staging the photographs, or added or removed virtually later.

    4. Central Virginian


      The last Living Area photo shows 3 more chairs lined up against the left wall.

    5. Monica

      Beautiful Home

      Thank you for sharing.

    6. Sister Colleen

      Thanks, Erik

      Dear Erik,
      I just wanted to tell you that as a Franciscan nun (we believe in living simply and with joy!) I have enjoyed all your Amish articles for a few years now. I’m amazed at the dedication these folks have to their faith and I appreciate your knowledge of their life styles. I really enjoy the pictures and background you give us.
      Sister Colleen Shanahan

      1. Thank you Sister Colleen, I am happy to hear that!