Join your guide at the gate
You join your guide at the gate with the dinner bell following the documentary films Genesis and Exodus of the Amish, and Bonnets and Britches for the children. As you walk together through the orchard, past the kitchen garden, you come upon the outbuildings that dry food, bake bread, and smoke meat. Here lye soap is made from the rendered lard and leached lye.
Genesis and Exodus of the Amish
Learn the background of the founding and development of Amish Society through the two documentary films shown in the Locke Township Meeting House. Genesis and Exodus of the Amish follow the unlikely development of this unique sect from the beginning of the Reformation to religious freedom in America and successful integration into the modern world without being part of it.
The Original House
Upon entering the pioneer's two room house, you'll learn about the history of the Anabaptist wing of the Protestant Reformation, the difference between Mennonites and Amish, the founding family and evolution of the farmstead. You'll marvel at primitive but practical furnishings, cook stove, and kitchenware as you learn about the unique culture of today's Amish who maintain their reverence for the past while successfully adapting to the outside world around them.
The washhouse is filled with iron and copper kettles, cistern pump, egg incubator, and pie safe. Onto the back porch where peas are shelled in the rocking chair by the pitcher pump from the open brick well below. Here the dinner bell is rung to bring the men from the fields.
The Main House
Through the screen door, the main house kitchen reveals a more comfortable and roomy gathering place for the growing family. The connected pantry features built in sugar and flour bins and canned fruit and vegetable shelves. Here the dry sink holds the buckets of water brought from the windmill pump. A bread box protects rising dough before baking in the outdoor oven. Kerosene lanterns with metal reflectors hang above the wood burning South Bend range, a family heirloom filled with treasured china fills a corner. Dark curtains are pulled to one side of the numerous double hung windows with irregular glass panes and roller shades. The hardwood floors are protected by rag rugs woven on a treadle loom.
Upstairs is the coveted guest room, fancy beyond the family's quarters, and a storage room in place of individual closets. Rope beds feature feather and straw ticks. Dressers have no mirrors. Heat rises through cast iron floor grills from the Round Oak stove below. The steep stairs return you to the living room filled with rockers, library table, family bible, fainting couch, treddle sewing machine, and baby crib, all surrounding the Round Oak stove. The small master bedroom flanks the living room, positioned with a window to the lane and barn. An outside door exits to the rear porch so the man of the house has control over his domain day and night.
The wooden walk lead you past the attached milk house with its cream seperator, ice box, and water trough filled with crocks of cheese and cans of milk. It then connects with the Gross Daadi Haus, where the senior generation lives following retirement. Here quilts are made true to Amish patterns that have become coveted for their simplicity and geometric patterns.
The Schweitzer Bank Barn
Up the bank to the Schweitzer barn is the threshing floor, hay and straw mows, and grainery. Here you'll find the 1874 wooden threshing machine, antique church benches stored in the rafters, hay sling, winnowing machine, and corn grinder. Pike poles bring to mind the community effort required to raise such a barn. The stables below seperate the horses, cows, and bulls. The lean-to crib is fill with corn on the cob that is fed to the pigs in the adjacent hog house. Chickens, turkeys, guineas, and barn cats run free.
The Wagon Shed
The wagon shed features an Amish church bench wagon, two and four seat buggies, bob sled, and Birdsell wagon. The Chauncy Thomas Blacksmith Shop stands nearby, moved intact from its home six miles south. A wheelwright and farrier as well, the blacksmith crafted many parts from scrap metal at the coal fired brick forge made white hot with the wood and leather bellows.
The Ice House
The ice house next to the farm's pond features foot thick walls filled with sawdust to insulate the blocks of ice cut following the winter freeze. The broom maker busily makes floor, hearth, and chimney brooms using his antique machinery and trimmers.
The Kuhns Cider & Grist Mill
The cider mill was originally built across the B&O Railroad tracks, then moved to early Nappanee, before being moved for the third time to Amish Acres at the turn of the century. The mill was restored to its original condition by Albert Kuhns from his boyhood memories. A stone grist mill was added in the building by Amish Acres where corn meal is ground. The mill was named one of "America's Top 10 Cider Mills" by ForbesTravel.com.
Walnut Street House
The brightly painted Walnut Street house, moved from early Nappanee, sits in contrast to the stark white Germanic main house. It represents the creation of the town of Nappanee that followed the coming of the Baltimore, Ohio & Chicago Railroad along the continental divide sitting along the farm's south border fence.
The German one room school house stood less than a mile from Amish Acres and was relocated and restored with the assistance of Ivan Hochstetler, neighboring harness maker, who attended German classes there as a youngster. Sitting outside next to the water pump is the horse drawn yellow school bus used to round up students for the nearby Weldy school before the turn of the century.
A horse-drawn wagon ride and tour through the farm's woods brings a refreshing conclusion to a tour of Amish Acres house and farm. Domestic crafts including apple cider pressing, maple syrup boiling, horseshoeing, plowing, cultivating, haying, and harvesting are sights at Amish Acres based on the seasons.
Amish Horse and Buggy Ride
An Amish horse and buggy ride is the perfect ending to a visit to Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort. Begin your visit with the PastPort, your visa ticket to the guided tour of the historic farmstead, the documentary Genesis and Exodus of the Amish, and the farm wagon ride around the farm's pond with stops at the German one room schoolhouse and blacksmith shop.
Then climb aboard at the Wagon Shed and enjoy your unique experience as sleek standard breed horses pull traditional black Amish buggies down the gravel lane around the historic farm's pond and through the woods. The nostalgic clip clop of the horse's hooves is still a prevelent sound along Nappanee's county roads and city streets.
Amish hitching racks invite Amish neighbors to McDonalds, Ace Hardware and Martin's Supermarket. Covered shed, designed and built by Amish carpenters with donated labor stand in every downtown parking lot and at the historic railroad depot plaza.