Amish Find a Home in Montana

March 7, 2004

Source: Independent Record

On March 7, 2004 Independent Record reported, "With an abundance of open space and a history of conservation, Montana possibly provides some of the richest opportunities for new Amish colonies. In Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana, where some 80 percent of Amish communities are located, cities and housing developments have steadily encroached upon generational Amish communities. The congestion and competition for land has left many Amish settlements with nowhere to grow. About a decade ago, the first Amish community in Montana was established in Rexford, west of Eureka. Since then, another two have been established, one in St. Ignatius and the other in southeastern Montana north of Ashland. A fledgling Amish community is in the beginning stages of settlement near Three Forks on the Jefferson River. Built on a solid agrarian tradition, diminishing land and less profitable farming has caused the Amish to move toward a trades-based economy. In that shift, many Amish communities embraced tourism, selling Amish-made crafts, opening restaurants and inns and taking visitors on buggy tours of their communities. Montana's Amish are returning to agriculture while continuing to work in the trades."