Amish

Weavertown One Room Schoolhouse

I hate to admit it but…my first introduction to the Amish was almost 38 years ago. My grandparents were Mennonites, born from a long line of Old Order Mennonites. My grandfather was a bit of a rebel, one of the first men in his town to buy a car…and a Cadillac at that! If Mennonites could have been shunned, he would have been number one on the Most Wanted Mennonite List. My grandmother was a small doll, petite and quiet, kind and thoughtful. I’m not certain how my wild Mennonite grandfather captured her heart.

Being the youngest of many grandchildren, I found myself in a special place with my grandparents. I was the youngest, the last…the baby. Whatever anyone can say about birth order, the baby grandchild always has a special spot in the hearts of grandparents.

That being said, I got along well with both grandparents. I adored my grandmother and often believe she is watching over me. During her final years, we spent every Friday together, despite my having to drive two hours both ways to see her. She was my grandmother…she was my friend. As for my grandfather, many of my cousins remember his as being stern and very religious…he had calmed down since his younger years and become very, very devout in his religious practice. But I remembered walking with him, hand-in-hand to the compost pile after dinner and begging him to let me explore the old horse barn in the back of the property. He loved to tickle me and sing to me. I’ll always remember John 3:16 for he quizzed me often:

For God so loved the world
That he gave his only begotten son
That whosoever believeth in him
Shall not perish
But have everlasting life.

My grandmother kept a pile of coloring books and crayons under the window seat in the kitchen. I’d color for hours, listening for the cuckoo clock while smelling the amazing scent of freshly peeled potatoes, cooking on the stove for dinner. My grandfather loved mashed potatoes and my grandmother made them for him every night.

When I was seven or eight, my grandparents took me on a trip to Lancaster County. It was my first visit (of many) to the world of the Amish. I’ll never forget visiting the Weavertown One Room Schoolhouse in Bird-in-Hand. The desks were so small and different than what I was used to at home. I seem to recall that they had wax people in the schoolhouse to help complete the picture. I forgot many things about that day but I’ll never forget how amazed I was about the one-room schoolhouse. I was enthralled and the romance of a lifetime was born: my love for understanding the Anabaptist movement, my ancestors, and these amazing people.

Yes, it was such an amazing experience and I credit both of them with my desire to continue studying, living with, and loving the Amish culture.

I still have the book that my grandparents bought for me, with photos of Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand. I often wonder what happened to the people in those photos. I used to wonder about the Weavertown One-Room Schoolhouse. But, on my last visit to Lancaster County, I discovered that it is for sale…no longer open to the public. I had to actually pull my car to the side of the road as I stared at the sign. I wondered how many children would visit Bird-in-Hand this year and NOT see the schoolhouse. How many future Amish authors would never be discovered because that wonderful historic attraction is no more? It made me very sad.

I certainly hope that someone buys it and reopens it. It changed my life. I’d like to see it change the lives of others.

8 thoughts on “Weavertown One Room Schoolhouse

  1. Sarah, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post regarding your memories of your grandparents, and your trip to Lancaster County. That little one-room schoolhouse will remain in your memory for the rest of your life, I’m sure. I grew up in a very small community, and attended a 3-room schoolhouse with 3 grades in each classroom. My daughter and I drove past that location on Tuesday, and the school is gone.,,,,, It was taken down in order to put a community park in its place. I like the idea of a park in its place, but I’ll never forget any of the details in that 3-room schoolhouse where I spent my early years.

  2. What beautiful memories you will have all your life of your Grandparant and all the love they gave to you. And you will have wonderful stories to tell your Children and Grand childern one day.

  3. It is sad that they sold the school instead of keeping it on the property where the park is. It would have been a great historical item!
    Carolyn L. Wiens

  4. SARAH IS IT NOT SAD THAT THE SCHOOL HOUSE IS NO LONGER OPENED, I WOULD OF LOVED TO TAKE MY GRANDCHILDREN THERE LIKE I TOOK THEIR PARENTS WHEN THEY WERE CHILDREN, MAYBE SOMEONE WILL PURCHASE IT AND REOPEN IT FOR MANY MORE YEARS OF JOY FOR THE CHILDREN OF TODAY……

  5. I remember visiting that school house many, many years ago. I hope that someone buys it and opens it up again as well.

  6. I drove by the one room schoolhouse and saw that it was for sale. I also remember visiting the one room schoolhouse many times over the past 25 years or so. They are asking $195k but you could probably get it for less. It cant be re-zoned for retail and you obviously can’t farm it, so the interest will be limited. Basically, you get about a half acre of land, which includes the schoolhouse, the parking lot, and the outhouse. I would be interested in buying it and reopening it as the one room schoolhouse. I wouldn’t be interested in investing the entire amount, but I would be happy to handle all of the administrative work. If anyone wants to be my partner, contact me at jaf1075@yahoo.com.

  7. Good News! The Weavertown Schoolhouse has re-opened as a museum. I drove by last weekend, 8/31/13. There is a webpage on Facebook.

  8. My husband and I recently (Feb 2016) purchased the building. We are restoring it as much as we can for now (it was in horrible condition ). The previous owner really let the building go with very little maintenance. In order to get all the sound systems and light show up and running would cost a fortune. So we decided to open it as a retail store, refinished furniture, fresh flowers and home decor. We still have most of the mannequins. We want to resell them to whoever would have interest. We open June 14 2016 hope you can stop by and see us. You may even get to see a few of the mannequins!

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