Shipshewana Amish Settlement
Backstory and Context
Records place the first settlers in Shipshewana around 1831 (before the land was on the market) and the Amish arrival around 1844. These early settlers to Indiana from Somerset Country, Pennsylvania have developed their community in close proximity to the town of Shipshewana. The primary industry of Shipshewana all the way through the 20th century was its mills, and the Amish community was a thriving part of that railway economy (although they sold through the middlemen of the town) for much of the town's history.
Today, Shipshewana exists primarily as a home for the third-largest Amish conglomerate in the nation and a tourist destination for those visiting Indiana. The town adds nearly $176.6 million to the economy as of 2017 estimates, with more than two thirds of that revenue coming through the spending of tourists. The town itself is growing, adding almost 2,000 jobs each year to keep up with the expanding tourist industry.
Shipshwana and other communities like it may be the next wave of Amish pioneers, this time into a new industry, an interesting development for a people who are so reluctant to change and become a part of "the world".
Ford, Ira. History of Northeast Indiana: Lagrange, Steuben, Noble, and DeKalb Counties. Volume 2. Chicago, Illinois. Lewis Publishing Company, 1920.
About Shipshewana Lagrange County Convention Center and Visitor's Bereau, Visit Shipshwana. Accessed May 4th 2020. https://visitshipshewana.org/about/.