Amish in Wisconsin: 2024 Guide (60+ Communities)

The Wisconsin Amish population is the fourth-largest in North America | With an Amish population of about 25,000 people (2024), Wisconsin has fewer Amish than only Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

Amish communities can be found in over 60 locations throughout the Badger State. But where exactly are the Amish in Wisconsin? Can you visit them? Read on for more.

Dozens of Amish men working on the frame of a large barn
Raising a barn, Amish-style, in Vernon County, Wisconsin. Photo: Dorothy Robson/Westby Times

Wisconsin Amish Community Guide

    1. Largest Wisconsin Amish communities – These communities are all home to 1,000+ Amish residents
    2. Visiting Amish in Wisconsin – There is no “signature” tourist-friendly Amish community in Wisconsin (like in other states). But with dozens of Amish settlements, there are plenty of places you can visit
    3. Cashton – The Cashton settlement is Wisconsin’s largest Amish community, with 2,500 Amish people
    4. Kingston – The Amish community near the towns of Kingston and Dalton (Green Lake County area) is the state’s second-largest
    5. Medford – The Amish community at Medford in Taylor County is the oldest in Wisconsin
    6. Grant County – Grant County is home to five separate Amish communities
    7. Other Wisconsin Amish communities – Many smaller Amish communities are found across the Badger State
    8. Wisconsin Amish History – the landmark Wisconsin v. Yoder Supreme Court case & past Wisconsin Amish settlements
Amish horse-and-buggy tied to telephone pole
A horse-and-buggy parked in a Wisconsin town…as its owner uses a non-Amish person’s phone. Not uncommon among more traditional groups

The Largest Wisconsin Amish Communities

Wisconsin has a total of seven Amish settlements numbering at least 1,000 people. The following communities are the largest in the state:

  1. Cashton – Monroe & Vernon County (founded 1966; 2,495 Amish)
  2. Kingston – Green Lake/Columbia/Marquette County (1977; 2,240 Amish)
  3. Augusta – Eau Claire County (1978; 1,630 Amish)
  4. Platteville/Darlington – Lafayette County (1999; 1,375 Amish)
  5. Wilton/Tomah – Monroe County (1969; 1,310 Amish)
  6. Hillsboro – Vernon & Richard County (1985; 1,280 Amish)
  7. Granton – Clark County (1981; 1,270 Amish)

Communities of this size are generally always worth a visit. You’ll find numerous stores and other Amish-run businesses in these places. See more in the next section on visiting a Wisconsin Amish community.

Visiting Amish communities in Wisconsin

With the country’s fourth-largest Amish population, Wisconsin offers many opportunities for visiting the Amish. However, unlike most other high-Amish-population states, it doesn’t have an “obvious” tourist destination (think Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, Shipshewana in Indiana, or Arthur, Illinois).

That said, with dozens of Amish communities, and seven having over 1,000 Amish residents, there are many places you can visit Amish in the state. And arguably the #1 way to interact with Amish people as an outsider, no matter the community, is to visit their businesses.

Sign for an Amish country store
Country stores selling a variety of foods and home goods are common in Amish communities. Photo: Jeff B.

Amish people run a wide variety of shops and cottage industries. If you see a sign for a business at the end of a lane or on an Amish property, you should assume that you are welcome to visit.

Many Amish families make part of their incomes – or all of it in many cases – from business activity. They generally appreciate non-Amish customers.

Typical Amish shops include variety stores, bend-and-dent discount groceries, dry goods stores, bulk foods, bakeries, roadside stands selling canned goods and crafts items, and many others. And even smaller Amish communities numbering 100 people or less can have several businesses worth visiting.

When you visit an Amish business, just keep in mind that no Amish stores are ever open on Sunday, which Amish consider the Lord’s day of rest. You might also find that the children are helping to operate the store or stand. Generally, a store is a great opportunity to start a conversation with its Amish owner or workers.

Just keep in mind that not all Amish people are especially talkative with outsiders. This can come across as “cold”, but it’s generally just a cultural difference. That said, some Amish people really enjoy visiting with outsiders. You should feel free to interact with business owners, and not worry too much about “offending” anyone. The Amish are “regular people” in many ways, including their appreciation for humor.

Cashton

The Cashton area (Monroe & Vernon County) is home to the largest Wisconsin Amish community. Founded in 1966, the settlement had grown to 18 congregations, and around 2,500 Amish people, as of 2024.

Amish buggy towing a canoe in a gas station parking lot
An Amish man stops in at a gas station while on a canoeing trip. Vernon County, Wisconsin

The Cashton Amish community is a conservative group. Cashton Amish do not use indoor plumbing for bathrooms, and will have only cold water in homes.

Cashton is a very farming-oriented community. Amish farmers supply milk for a local cheese factory. There are also some Amish-run businesses, many operated as sidelines.

These include three hat shops, three buggy makers and a shoe store which keep the Cashton Amish supplied with clothing and transportation. Additionally, cabinet makers, metal shops, bulk food stores, a hardwares store and a clockmaker are found among Amish businesses in the Cashton community.

Cashton Amish have ties with the Hillsboro Amish community (see below). Amish from Cashton have also started at least one daughter community, in southern Illinois.

Kingston

Not far behind Cashton in size is the Amish community at Kingston & Dalton (over 2,200 Amish as of 2024). This settlement sprawls over three counties – Green Lake, Columbia, and Marquette. The Kingston/Dalton settlement was founded in 1977 and has grown to 15 congregations in size today.

Footwear in a “mud room” in an Amish home in the Kingston/Dalton community. Photo: Rose

Medford

The Medford Amish settlement in Taylor County (north-central Wisconsin), founded over 100 years ago (1920) is by far Wisconsin’s oldest. The next-oldest current Amish settlement in the state arose four decades later, in 1960 (Trempealeau in Blair County). Wisconsin was not attracting Amish communities then, like it has done in recent years.

Though Medford is Wisconsin’s oldest Amish location, the oldest Amish communities are not necessarily the largest ones. Given its age, the Medford Amish community is relatively small, with only three church districts as of 2024.

And the lack of growth has continued – this community has grown little if any in the past 15+ years. What might be the reason? The GAMEO entry for this settlement notes that “Its cold winters have had an effect on the slow growth” in the community.

Grant County

Some counties have a knack for attracting Amish settlements. In Wisconsin, Grant County is one of those. Located in southwest corner of the state, Grant County has a total of five Amish communities within its borders (fully or in one case, partially).

For whatever reason, Amish have found Grant County an attractive area and roomy enough for a number of separate settlements to have been founded here. This is not uncommon.

When one Amish settlement “succeeds” in an area, it signals to other Amish that the conditions (land prices, economy, friendliness of locals) are suitable for settlement. And that’s one reason you see individual counties with multiple, distinct Amish settlements. Both in Wisconsin, and in many other states.

Large Amish transport wagon parked in front of a red barn
Amish use special wagons to transport church benches between homes in the community. Granton, Wisconsin (Clark County). Photo: Jim Halverson

By far the largest Grant County Amish community is at Fennimore. Founded in 1998, this community has grown to over 800 Amish residents.

The oldest Amish community in Grant County was founded in 1993 in the area of Beetown and Potosi. A single congregation is found here, of 165 Amish. Other communities can be found at Livingston (1997; 90 Amish), Blue River/Boscobel (2014; 315 Amish), and a settlement near Muscoda (2019; 40 Amish), which is shared with neighboring Iowa County.

Visiting a county with multiple Amish communities can be a nice way to see different Amish ways of living. Though they all share certain things in common (e.g., plain clothing, horse and buggy travel), some groups are more conservative, and some have more progressive lifestyles.

Amish in different groups have differences in buggy styles, homes, and clothing, among other things. Visit enough Amish communities and you’ll soon be able to spot the differences.

Hillsboro

The Hillsboro Amish community, founded in 1985, is located in eastern Vernon County. The Hillsboro settlement has roots in a Kentucky Amish community.

At first glance, the Hillsboro Amish community appears to be larger than it actually is, having 11 church districts. However, David Luthy notes that the Hillsboro districts are exceptionally small, in 2002 averaging 13 households per congregation – roughly half the size of the average Amish church district elsewhere.

Wringer washer and heat stove in a Wisconsin Amish home
A wash room in a Wisconsin Amish home

Wilton/Tomah

The Amish community near the towns of Wilton and Tomah in Monroe County was founded just a few years after the Cashton settlement, in 1969. Amish at the time were likely attracted to the state for its strong dairy reputation.

The Monroe County settlement is one of the largest in Wisconsin, with nine church districts, and a population of roughly 1,300 Amish as of 2024.

Other Amish communities in Wisconsin

Besides the ones listed above, Wisconsin has dozens of locations which Amish call home. These are “smaller” but not necessarily small, some having hundreds of Amish residents. These are the next largest of the remaining Wisconsin Amish communities:

  • Loyal – Clark County (1989; 970 Amish)
  • Fennimore – Grant County (1998; 825 Amish)
  • Loganville/Hill Point – Sauk County (1988; 645 Amish)
  • Wautoma – Marquette/Waushara County (1983; 580 Amish)
  • Marion – Waupaca County (1995; 540 Amish)
  • Readstown – Richland/Vernon County (1990; 490 Amish
  • Chaseburg – Vernon County (1994; 460 Amish)
  • Lavalle/Ironton – Sauk/Richard County (1988; 450 Amish)
  • Bonduel – Shawano County (1987; 415 Amish)
  • Franklin – Jackson County (2002; 400 Amish)
  • Blair – Trempealeau County (1960; 400 Amish)
  • Taylor – Jackson County (1997; 355 Amish)

Wisconsin is dotted with small Amish communities. Roughly two-thirds (43) of Wisconsin’s 60+ Amish settlements consist of just one or two church districts (a church district is an Amish term for a congregation, typically 25-35 families in size).

Sign for an Amish discount grocery with store visible in background
Discount Groceries (aka “Bent ‘n’ Dent” stores) are popular among Amish. This Amish-run store is found in Albany, WI. Photo: Jeff B.

Wisconsin has experienced high levels of in-migration from Amish communities in other states. Over two dozen Amish settlements have been founded in Wisconsin over the past two decades (since 2004).

Instead of listing all 60+ communities in this space, you can find a comprehensive list here. It can also be worth visiting one of the state’s smaller communities. More on that here.

Wisconsin v. Yoder: What it was & Why it mattered

Wisconsin is of particular significance in the matter of Amish education. You may have heard of the famous Wisconsin v. Yoder Supreme Court decision. A local conflict over schooling in a small Wisconsin Amish community eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark 1972 court decision.

The Wisconsin v. Yoder decision effectively enabled Amish and other religious groups the right to remove their students from school upon finishing the eighth grade.

Wisconsin v. Yoder – The Brief History

Conflict between Amish and school officials had occurred in previous decades in places such as Iowa, Kansas, and Pennsylvania, garnering national attention. Amish in numerous cases had been compelled to migrate to different locales where school officials were seen to be more lenient (resulting in the founding of new settlements, such as the St. Mary’s County, Maryland Amish settlement).

Gathering of Amish adults and children outside a green-roofed schoolhouse
Amish children and parents come together for a picnic and baseball game outside a one-room Amish schoolhouse. Photo: Don Burke

The Wisconsin conflict, originating in a newly-formed settlement at New Glarus in Green County, resonated to the highest judicial levels in the country, and ultimately influenced not only Amish education but numerous other religious freedom cases.

Local school administrators in Green County objected to the Amish practice of removing their children from school at completion of the eighth grade. In the fall of 1968, three fathers of Amish children aged fourteen and fifteen were arrested for refusal to enroll their children in high school. This refusal on the part of the Amish came in direct violation of Wisconsin law requiring school attendance until reaching sixteen years of age.

Though Amish generally refuse to defend themselves in court, the case was taken up by the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom, a group which had been recently formed by non-Amish for the legal defense of Amish religious liberty. Attorney Willam Ball was hired to argue the Amish case. Ball maintained that state officials were in fact violating the religious liberty of the Amish.

After hearings at local and state levels, the case made its way to the US Supreme Court. On May 15, 1972, a final verdict was delivered in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case. By a vote of seven to zero (two justices did not take part), the Supreme Court Justices granted that both the First and Fourteenth amendments supported the Amish practice of removing students from school before age sixteen.

The precedent set by this decision has essentially granted Amish legal protection, though certain issues such as teacher certification continue to pose potential problems in some areas (see Amish Society, Hostetler, pp 268-270; also The Amish and the State, “The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom”, William C. Lindholm, and “First Amendment Issues”, William B. Ball).

Amish phone shanty in a snowy setting in Vernon County, Wisconsin
A footpath through the snow leads to an Amish phone shanty in Vernon County

Wisconsin Amish History: Past Communities

The New Glarus community, where the famous conflict over schooling originated, had disbanded by 2007, after over 40 years in existence. Wisconsin was also once home to a number of other now-failed settlements dating back a century.

In The Amish In America: Settlements that Failed 1840-1960, David Luthy tells us that the Exeland, Wisconsin settlement in Sawyer County, in the northwestern section of the state, was founded in 1909.

Amish from North Dakota, Montana, and Indiana were attracted to this area of “cheap, cutover timberland”, likely by a land agent’s advertisement promoting the inexpensive acreage. Luthy reports that Amish used dynamite to blast away at acres of stumps left over from the former forest land.

Amish in this settlements operated sawmills, hunted, and grew an abundance of crops, including oats, sugar beets, barley, and red clover. Eventually this settlement disbanded in 1927, due to a “lack of leadership”(Settlements that Failed, Luthy, p 504).

Entrance to an Amish country store with going out of business sign
Amish people come and go more often than you might think. This Amish store went out of business after the family moved to another part of Wisconsin. Photo: Jeff B.

A second Amish settlement existed during this period in Rusk County, bordering Sawyer County to the south. Settlers from a Michigan Amish community founded a settlement near the town of Glen Flora in 1920. This settlement existed for about two decades, but eventually disbanded with the last Amish family leaving in 1942 (Settlements, Luthy, pp 504-509).

A number of modern-day Wisconsin Amish communities ceased to exist in the first decade of the 21st century, including one at Viroqua (though a different community remain in this general area), as well as Clayton, Downing, and Hilbert. All of these communities lasted roughly a decade or less (Amish Settlements Across America: 2008, Luthy).

Wisconsin Amish at home in the “Dairy State”

Wisconsin is a state which saw Amish arrive relatively late compared to other Amish-settled states.

Though the first Amish only began to settle in Wisconsin in the early 1900s, the Wisconsin Amish presence has grown to become the fourth-largest in North America.

In terms of Amish population, Wisconsin trails only Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Those are all states which saw their first Amish settlers 50 to 100 years (or more) earlier. The Amish have really taken to the Dairy State over the decades.

Two red barns and flock of sheep in background of a valley
Ample dairy farming opportunities make Wisconsin attractive for the Amish. Photo: David J.

In Wisconsin, Amish have found a generally Amish-friendly environment which has made establishing new communities easier. Relatively few Amish settled in Wisconsin before the 1960s, when the state began to see an influx of Amish which has only increased in each ensuing decade. One observer notes that “Undoubtedly the farmers were attracted to Wisconsin because of its highly rural character and its reputation as the nation’s “Dairy State.” (The Amish Struggle With Modernity, Luthy p. 245).

Wisconsin continues to steadily draw new Amish settlement, with a half-dozen new communities added in the past five years. As long as Wisconsin offers affordable farmland and relatively isolated communities in which to settle, Amish are likely to continue to thrive in the Badger State.

For more, see:

  • Amish Population, 2023 Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College 
  • “Amish Population in the United States by State, County, and Settlement, 2023” – compiled by Edsel Burdge, Joseph F. Donnermeyer, and Adam Hershberger
  • The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, 1840-1960, David Luthy
  • The New American Almanac, Raber’s Bookstore (Baltic, Ohio), Ben J. Raber
  • Amish Society, John A. Hostetler
  • The Amish and the State, “The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom”, William C. Lindholm; “First Amendment Issues”, William B. Ball
  • The Amish Struggle with Modernity, “Appendix: Amish Migration Patterns 1972-1992”, David Luthy 
  • Yoder, Samuel L. “Medford, Wisconsin, Old Order Amish Settlement.” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 25 October 2010. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M438.html.

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    348 Comments

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