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What was Lancaster County like before the Amish settled here? [We the People]

Stoltzfus house

The Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead near Reading, as pictured in "German Lutherans to Pennsylvania Amish: The Stoltzfus Family Story."

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Why do the Amish ride scooters? What's the difference between a black and gray buggy? [We the People]

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What was Lancaster County like before the Amish?

Willow Street mud sale

Mud sales are almost here.

It may come as a surprise, but the Amish weren't always as much of a tourist phenomena as they are today. 

When the Amish came overseas from Germany, they settled primarily in Berks County.

Some of the Amish settled in Lancaster County in the 1730s, according to Steve Nolt, professor of Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. 

How long have the Amish been in Lancaster County? Where do they get their buggies? [We the People]

They primarily settled into what is now East Lampeter, Leacock and Paradise Townships, said Nolt.

Some of the other settlers in the area included "Scots-Irish Presbyterians and Swiss-German Mennonites, along with English and Welsh Quakers, Swiss Reformed families, and French Huguenots," said Nolt. 

The Berks County Amish largely settled in Lancaster County in the late 1700s, said Nolt. 

Horses and buggies

Horses and buggies may be an increasingly common sight in suburban neighborhoods. 

Traditions

Life before the Amish in Lancaster County was pretty similar to what life was like with the Amish until the 1950s. 

While technology developed more and became a mainstay in the average American household, the Amish kept their traditional style of living.

For instance, when cars became a "status symbol" in American culture in the 1910s, the Amish preferred to maintain their method of transportation: the horse and buggy carriage, according to "The Amish: A Concise Introduction," by Steve Nolt. 

The Amish became more notable as they vowed to maintain traditionalism rather than change their culture to fit what was considered normal or modern, according to the book.

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Amish farmer

The Amish lifestyle annually draws tourists to Lancaster County from all over the world.

Tourism

Their presence didn't drive much tourist interest, even through the 1800s. 

It wasn't until the 1950s that Amish country became a noted tourist attraction, when the Amish Farm and House became the county's first ticketed Amish tourist attraction, said Nolt.

One year previously, a South Carolina newspaper published a story about Lancaster County and its Amish population, with comments about the "quaintly named little towns like Bird in Hand, Bareville, Intercourse and Paradise."

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