My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Visit to Grabill

My husband and I recently drove to Fort Wayne, about 90 minutes south of where we live in Middlebury, and on the way, he stopped to show me the “Swiss Amish” town of Grabill, Indiana.  

I have written about the Swiss Amish previously. They are a different group than the northeastern Indiana Amish; they came to America in the 1800s, not the 1700s, and are a more conservative group.  They also speak a different dialect—Swiss Amish as compared to the Pennsylvania Dutch spoken where we live.

Anyway—the little town of Grabill was quite picturesque, so I took some photos.

Seeing downtown Grabill is like stepping back to the 1800s.  I took the above photo at the main intersection.  Yes, that’s a windmill!  And the covered wooden sidewalks are not a ‘tourist thing’—they’re the real thing.

This general store see above is also the real thing. A person could spend hours wandering around in here.  The left side is d├ęcor; the right side is mostly sweets and treats.

One thing that distinguishes the conservative Swiss Amish is their use of open buggies only.  (Northeastern Indiana has both closed and open buggies, as I wrote about recently.)  The photo above shows a typical Swiss Amish one in Grabill.

Another thing that distinguishes the Swiss Amish is the simplicity of their graveyards.  Here, the markers were small and identical. Some Swish Amish cemeteries have only wooden stakes for markers, the idea being that they are temporary markers and not meant to be a focal point for those left behind.  Visiting loved ones’ graves or leaving flowers are most definitely not Amish traditions, anywhere I’ve been.

Here’s a handy map of Grabill that I saw in the flea market building at the main intersection downtown.  (A website is also under construction at  Stop by if you’re traveling to Fort Wayne from the north and want to step back in time.

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