MATTOON — Tom Vance and Wilmer Otto were guest speakers at a recent Kiwanis Club of Mattoon meeting to talk about the Illinois Amish Heritage Center located in Arthur.
The Amish people have lived in Illinois since 1865 and in 1994 an Amish Center opened in Arthur to promote and preserve the understanding and appreciation of the culture and heritage of the Amish.
Around 2006, the Center was relocated to Rockome Gardens and renamed the Illinois Amish Museum and remained at that location until 2014 when Rockome was put up for sale and the museum went into storage while the search began for a new location.
In 2016, five acres of land was secured near Illinois Route. 133, one mile west of Chesterville and three miles east of Arthur. In September 2016, two historic Amish houses, which had been saved from demolition in 2000 and later moved to a temporary location in Arthur, were moved to the new location designated for the newly christened Illinois Amish Heritage Center.
One of the houses, the Moses Yoder house is the oldest known Amish house in Illinois, built near Arthur in 1865, and the other house, built by Daniel Schrock, was built in 1882. Plans also began for the construction of a new museum and Amish living history farm on the site.
The Illinois Amish Heritage Center was opened to visitors this summer and will host the Harvest to Home event Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8-9. A fall and winter schedule for visitors is to be determined.
For more information about the Illinois Amish Heritage Center go to the organization’s Facebook page or website.