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

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Another Amish General Store

I've written about Amish general stores before, here and here.  Nearly every sizeable Amish settlement has one.  Recently I spent some time at the one in Topeka, Indiana—L-n-R Footwear & Gifts.

L-n-R does indeed have footwear (and gifts), but so much more.  Like other Amish general stores, it has just about everything the Amish family needs in terms of dry goods.  Visiting one is like visiting a museum of contemporary Amish life—many of your questions about the Amish life will be answered by strolling up and down the aisles.  But I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

As the above photos show, there’s lots of footwear—mostly black.  Skechers are a favored brand in this area, perhaps because of the excellent arch support.  Crocs (or generic copies) are also favored, since they wash off easily after chore time on the farm.

Prayer coverings, or “koppa,” the normal female headwear when not at home on the farm, can be made at home or purchased.  Many women have their favorite “brand”—thus the labels like “LaVon Katie” and “Edna Slabach.”  Men also wear their heads covered much of the time, often with straw hats, either natural color or the more dressy black.

As far as outwear—much like Henry Ford said about the Model T, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.”  The same holds true for men’s “Mutza suits,” which are the coat and vest and pants sets that the men wear to church along with a white shirt.  (They look gray here, but they're actually black.)

The safety vests are worn not only on the job for some people, but also by many of the Amish when riding their bicycles.

The first photo above tells you how Amish babies are dressed (much like ours, as you can see, for their first year or two).  The second tells you how popular tractor and truck toys are, which surprises me, since the Amish don't own cars or trucks, and tractors are allowed as vehicles in only some of the more liberal ("high Amish") church districts. 

This photo tells you quite a bit about the reading habits of the adults (who have no movies, radio, TV, or internet).  Many of the Amish are avid readers in their spare time, after chores are done.

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L-n-R is located at 496 E. Lake Street in Topeka, and they are open six days a week until 5 p.m. (noon on Saturdays), but closed on Sundays.  More about the store can be found at their excellent website, located here.  While you’re in Topeka, have a bite to eat at Topeka Pizza or Tiffany’s Restaurant, and perhaps see if there’s a horse sale going on at the Topeka Auction Barn located nearby.