Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As mentioned earlier, Berlin is nestled in the rolling hills of Holmes County, home to the largest Amish and Mennonite community in the world. The Amish are quiet people who hold fast to their traditions and way of life. They are renowned for their crafts, and the quality of their work is exceptional.

One of the several craft shops we visited was the Wendell August Forge. The 13,000 square foot timber frame facility, located beneath the blue and yellow water tower is the largest of its kind in the State of Ohio. It houses many attractions, including a 5,000 square foot showroom filled with unique, one-of-a-kind handcrafted metal giftware. We could not help notice an LGB Train winding its way overhead on over 300 feet of track.

The old time Nickelodeon was a favorite with Grandma Great - its multiple instruments played memorable songs. (For the price of a quarter- I may add!)

You can't help also noticing the World's Largest Amish Buggy, made especially for the shop by an Amish buggy maker just down the road.

Sitting in the buggy were two Amish dolls. As most people know, Amish children often played with faceless dolls. While there are explanations for the lack of a face having to do with the dolls becoming a 'likeness,' others say it was simply a custom. Today it is common for the Amish to buy or make dolls with faces, and there are examples of Amish dolls with faces sewn or drawn on dating back to 1900.

Elmer Smith in his 1961 book The Amish Today feels a short story published in a leading national magazine led people to such a conclusion. The December 1937 Scribner's story called 'Suzie' told of an Amish girl who received a doll from her teacher as a Christmas gift. Her father removed the head and replaced it with a stuffed stocking since 'only God can make people.' Smith concludes that this idea that dolls are graven images 'is not nearly so widespread as most people think.'"

We had a wonderful day in the Amish Country. Tomorrow Grandma Great's surprise birthday party!


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