Eighteen original, and moved structures make up Amish Acres
Amish Acres Historic Farm is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Indiana's first Amish settlers came to Nappanee in 1839, the start of the vibrant community that continues to grow throughout the countryside.
1. THE ROUND BARN THEATRE LOBBY
The theatre’s lobby includes the box office, orientation film and center kiosk with a description of Amish Acres attractions, prices, and tickets.
2. THE ROUND BARN THEATRE
This majestic round barn, built in 1911, was dismantled ten miles west of Nappanee and reconstructed at Amish Acres by an Amish carpenter crew. The theatre is now the national home of Plain and Fancy, the 1955 Broadway musical written by Fiddler on the Roof’s Joseph Stein for whom the stage is names. The musical celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary at Amish Acres in 2011. Over one hundred additional Broadway musicals have been produced in repertory with Plain and Fancy. The barn’s sixty foot, self-supporting dome and cupola, make its natural acoustics superb.
3. GREETING BARN AND GIFT SHOP
The Greeting Barn was built circa 1870. It was dismantled, moved to Amish Acres and reconstructed here after the original Restaurant Barn was destroyed by fire January 31, 1977. Alterations have been made to the original design but the stone foundations remain intact. It houses two levels filled with gifts and mementos of Amish Acres and a wonderful selection of locally made Amish and Mennonite quilts.
4. LOCKE TOWNSHIP MEETING HOUSE
Located inside the Greeting Barn, This replica meeting house was the original setting for Plain and Fancy. Today two documentary films and a film for children are shown as an introduction before the walking guided tour of the farmstead.
5. MAIN GATE
Guided tours of the historic farmstead begin at the main gate at the sound of the dinner bell.
6. WAGON SHED
The wagon shed provides shelter to visitors waiting for a scenic farm wagon ride through Amish Acres attractions, down the lane and into the woods. Amish horse and buggy rides also depart from the shed.
Remnants of the original six-acre orchard display many old fashioned varieties of fruit trees including sheep's nose and rusty coat apples, plus cherries, peaches, pears, plums and mulberries. The lime-based whitewashed tree trunks and the tin cans in the trees filled with sweet syrup attract insects away from the fruit.
8. KITCHEN GARDEN
The kitchen vegetable garden is interlaced with rows of annual flowers to draw insects away from the vegetables. Herbs are cut, dried, and then used for seasoning.
9. FOOD DRYING HOUSE
The Food Drying House was used to preserve vegetables and fruits prior to the adaptation of refrigeration and canning. A small stove in the center of the structure keeps the interior warm so that food being dried will dehydrate more quickly.
10. BRICK BAKE OVEN
This original brick bake oven was fired for baking once a week. A fire is built in the baking cavity and as it heats to proper temperatures, the walls burn clean. The coals are then scraped into a hole at the front of the oven and pans of bread dough, pies, or other pastries replace the coals and are baked by the heat built up in the bricks. Usually fifteen loaves of bread, several pies, and pastries were baked weekly.
11. SMOKE HOUSE
Similar to the drying house's function, the smokehouse is used to preserve meats. A smoldering fire in the center, usually of hickory or fruit tree bark, smokes the meat as it hangs on the hooks in the charred beams.
12. LYE KILN
Lye was made in a barrel kiln by layering ashes from the fires with straw. Rain water would then leach through these layers to produce lye which is used for making soap from lard.
13. ROOT CELLAR
The disbanded root cellar was discovered and restored during the farm’s restoration in 1969. Because it maintains an even temperature year round, it was used for storing vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
14. ORIGINAL HOUSE
The original house was constructed in 1874 by Christian Stahly, the Nappanee area's first Amish settler, for his son Moses. It included two rooms, one for the family and the other for storing milk, cheese and other food. The dinner bell remains at the roof peak.
15. MAIN HOUSE
The main house was built in 1893 by Noah Nissley who was Moses Stahly's father-in-law. The house was a duplicate of Noah's house in Ohio that had burnt in 1892. Note its symmetrical Germanic architecture and original color scheme.
16. OPEN WELL
The open stone well under the back porch provided all the family’s drinking water prior to the deep well and windmill by way of a wooden hand pump. Its overflow kept the trough in the milk house full of cool water. Typhoid was eradicated in the family when use of open wells was abandoned. Soft water came from the cistern in the basement of the house which was fed by all of the eaves troughs and downspouts.
The windmill and well did not replace the open well under the back porch until the 1920s because it was considered too modern. An underground brick storage tank supplies both the barn's water trough and the house's drinking water.
18. GROSDADDI HOUSE
This house was moved to the farm in the early 1900s for the Nissleys to retire to upon turning the farm's responsibilities over to the next generation. It houses Amish Acres quilters (seasonal).
19. SCHWEITZER BANK BARN
The 40 x 80 foot Schweitzer bank barn was built in 1876 from hand-hewed timber cut from this farm. The threshing floors and mows are in the upper level, the stables and milking stalls in the lower with the corn crib and wagon shed at the end. The earthen bank makes the threshing floor accessible to the farm’s equipment.
20. THRESHING FLOOR
The threshing floor has high sides and doors on both sides. Before threshing machines, bundles of grain were stacked along the sides, thrashed on the floor by flails, and separated by throwing them in the air on a windy day so that the heavier grain could be caught in a winnowing pan. The hay sling was used before bailing to unload loose hay from the wagons to the mows. The hay track made both sides of the threshing floor accessible for the sling.
The granary is normally constructed above the overshoot of a bank barn to keep it high and dry. Intricate chutes provide control of grain mixing to the box below.
22. CORN CRIB
Corn cribs were usually built at the side of the wagon shed of slats and kept off the ground as protection from rodents and moisture.
23. FARM IMPLEMENTS
The farm implements that are displayed in the barn yard and inside the Schweitzer bank barn are all made circa 1910 or earlier. All the machinery is horse drawn.
24. HOG HOUSE
The hog house is located close to the corn crib for convenience as hogs were fed half of the corn crop grown. Indiana remains the third largest corn and pork producer in the United States.
25. BEE HIVES
Bee Hives are used by area farmers to provide a home for colonies of honey bees; the bees in turn provide the farmer with a way to pollinate orchards and gallons of delicious honey.
26. BLOSSER WAGON SHED
The wagon shed is a replica of those surrounding the Blosser Old Order Mennonite Church. It houses the buggies, wagons, sleighs, bobsled and an Amish church bench wagon.
27. CHAUNCEY THOMAS BLACKSMITH SHOP
Chauncey Thomas was the owner of this country blacksmith shop during the late 1800s. It was moved here intact from six miles south of Nappanee. An account ledger from 1916 found in the shop showed Mr. Thomas charged 80 cents to shoe a horse then. Today the rate is over $50.
28. BEER MAPLE SUGAR CAMP
The Beer family Maple Sugar Camp was moved here from the area and is used to boil down sap water into maple syrup in the early spring.
29. NAPPANEE ICE HOUSE
Ice houses were used to store ice cut from ponds and lakes before mechanical refrigeration. Inside the crudely insulated house the ice was tightly packed in layers of sawdust. The building is elevated to prevent the foundation from rotting and make wagon loading easier.
30. SORGHUM PRESS
The juice from the sorghum cane is pressed through the rollers which are powered by a horse pulling the sweep arm in a continual circle. It is then boiled down to molasses.
31. BROOM SHOP
Broom shops similar to this one are still operated commercially in the area. Broom corn used in the production of brooms is grown in the display crop area of this farm.
32. FEDERAL WETLANDS RESERVE
Sixteen of Amish Acres eighty acres have been set aside for a Federal Wetlands Reserve and Indiana Classified Forest. The reserve, half woods and half low land featuring two ponds, is available for trail hiking and bird watching. A nature trail through the woods is surrounded by hard and soft maple, sycamore, second growth poplar, oak and shrubbery. More than 11,000 of America’s private landowners have voluntarily enrolled over 2.3 million acres into the Wetlands Reserve Program.
33. JONI BURKHOLDER MINT STILL
At the turn of the century, Indiana led all states in mint production. Stills like this one, which was moved here from 1 1/2 miles south were used to distill the potent oils.
34. WALNUT STREET HOUSE
This house was moved to Amish Acres from Walnut Street in Nappanee. It is representative of the early village houses that lined the dirt streets in the new town which followed the coming of the B&O railroad in 1874.
35. PUMP HOUSE
This small red building was the original well house from the neighboring Amish farm to the north.
36. GERMAN ONE-ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE
The oldest Amish one-room school house in the Nappanee area was acquired by Amish Acres for relocation, preservation, and restoration. It sat less than a mile from the farm since the 1870s or earlier when it was built. It has been moved to the historic farmstead, preserved, restored, and used for interpretation to school groups. The school joins the original horse-drawn school bus that area children rode to and from school.
The farm’s pond is ten feet deep and stocked with bluegill, bass, and catfish. Each August, 300 artists and crafters arrive from across the country, popping white tents around the pond to sell their wares and ply their trades.
38. MARKET STREET HOUSE
This house was moved to Amish Acre from the second block west of the center of Nappanee. It houses the cast of The Round Barn Theatre, who come from across the country for the nine month season of repertory theatre.
39. BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS SHOP
Amish Acres restoration, reconstruction, and maintenance work is performed in this shop. The greenhouse attached to the shop grows and keeps flowers for the grounds throughout the winter season.
40. RESTAURANT BARN AND BAKERY
The restaurant barn is constructed from two bank barns, which were both originally built in the mid-1870s. The front barn comes from two miles east of here, the dining room from near Lake Wawasee. The main dining room has a seating capacity of 400 people and serves the famous Threshers Dinner. The bakery displays fresh baked goods like shoofly pie, apple strudels, and hearth bread.
41. THE BARN LOFT WINE ROOM
The wine room is open for tasting (seasonal), hosts the white table cloth Theme Dinners with menus written to emulate The Round Barn Theatre’s productions. The loft also houses the Arts & Crafts Festival Blue Ribbon Art Museum. Over 50 years with of best of show painting hang in the gallery.
42. SODA FOUNTAIN & FUDGERY (SMID HOUSE)
This 20 x 30 foot log house was built by Reverend R.J. Smid, a Dutch Mennonite who emigrated from the village of Balk in the Netherlands on May 9, 1853. From Mrs. Smid's diary, "On November 3, 1853, at last, with God's blessing, we moved into our house, even though it was still in bad condition to live in."
43. W.H. BEST & SONS MEAT MARKET
This 18 x 19 foot two story log house was built circa 1860. It was moved from its original location on highway 6, twelve miles east of here in 1973. It is named for an early meat market in downtown Nappanee which was housed in a store front moved from the village of Locke.
44. KUHNS CIDER & GRIST MILL
The cider mill stood in two locations before being moved here in the early 1900s. It was used each fall to press cider from the orchards of neighboring Amish farmers. The press has a listed capacity of 3,000 gallons per day. The stone grist mill was added by Amish Acres.
convenient parking is available for automobiles, buses, and recreational vehicles, even helicopters. The Inn at Amish Acres is connected by a paved lane to the parking area.
46. THE INN AT AMISH ACRES
This quaint country-style inn is Amish Acres host hotel and features Amish patterned quilts on the beds, pine furnishings made in Indiana, and rockers on the porches. The Geranium Room serves breakfast to the inn’s guests and The Lilac Room hosts meeting of up to fifty people.
47. THE NAPPANEE INN
Located one half mile west of Amish Acres, The Nappanee Inn is cozy with its oak furnishings and complimentary breakfast served in the Milk Parlor.