From the president
Recently I purchased a copy of the Indiana Amish Directory 2017: Elkhart, LaGrange, and Noble Counties, a 1090-page volume edited by Joas and Freda Miller from Middlebury, Ind. In the forward, the editors say: “Our goal for the Directory is to make it a reliable source of birth, marriage, and death date information. Also we try to provide accurate addresses, church district maps, and locations of Amish homes, schools, and cemeteries.” And they have succeeded in a grand way: the book is a combination of genealogy, atlas, church history and labor statistics – a comprehensive overview of the Old Order Amish community in northern Indiana.
The book is organized by church districts, and each district includes a map showing the county roads, with numbers keyed to a list of names on the opposite page that indicates where families live. The map also shows the location of the Amish schools and a few stores relevant to the Amish community.
I wanted a copy of the directory because I’d heard a rumor that for the first time the maps of church districts would also include the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. To me that seemed significant: if the directory included the Pumpkinvine, it would indicate that the Pumpkinvine had become an important for the Amish community. And a map showing where the Pumpkinvine was in relation to homes would help anyone who wanted to purchase property know where that property was in relationship to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.
How times have changed. I can’t help recalling the beginnings of our efforts to convert the abandoned Penn Central railroad into a multi-use trail in the early 1990s when people told me that the Amish community would be solidly against a bike trail due to concerns about privacy and vandalism. In other words, they wouldn’t want a bike trail anywhere near where they lived.
This map sends the opposite message: it helps people know where to buy property, if they want to be close to the trail.