Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mennonites, Kidron Ohio, anabaptist


Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center
The Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center in Kidron, Ohio is another "Must Go To" in Ohio's Amish Country.

In 1819, Mennonites, Peter Lehman, David Kirchhofer, Isaac Sommer, and Ulrich Lehman, homesteaded the lush Kidron, Ohio area, a region they called Sonnenberg Valley because the beauty and lay of the land reminded them of Sonnenberg Switzerland, their country of origin.



Genealogy Fan Chart

The Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center, a nationally acclaimed museum on the square of Kidron, features early furniture, tools, textiles, folk art, frakturs (pronounced frock-tur), and artifacts that once belonged to these anabaptist settlers as well as other artifacts reminiscent of the time period.  Showcased at the museum is the most extensive collection of freehand frakturs in the state of Ohio, a sure delight for anyone with an interest in early Pennsylvania Dutch art designs.  Additionally, the heritage center has an extensive computerized genealogy database available for persons researching Swiss family ancestry and offers excellent tools for charting, such as the fan chart shown above.


Partial View of 1830's Pioneer House
An impressive feature showcased in the museum is the 1830's pioneer house which was moved to the museum location from it's original Emerson Road address.  It is not known who actually built the house, but, for certain, it was once the home of Jacob and Kathrina (Steiner) Amstutz. According to an earlier account written by Paul Neuenschwander, it was Jacob who built the new house on the farm.  In the next generation, Leah, one of Jacob Amstutz's six daughters, bought the home farm.  She and her husband, Rudolph Studer, lived on the farm their entire lives.  In the 30's the farm was owned by Lester Geiser, then in 1981 it was purchased by William Goebler, followed by owner Oris Steiner. The house later was donated to the Kidron Historial Society by Paul and Anne Locher of Wooster.


Chests, Kidron-Sonnenberg Museum
Sure to be of interest to Amish Country visitors is the development of a historic preserve, Sonnenberg Village, a pioneer village that will preserve the architetural heritage and cultural history of Kidron Ohio's early settlers.  Structures already on site are the Tschantz Log Cabin, the Lehman Spring House, and the Lehman House.  Ground work has been completed for the placement of a series of historic structures that will comprise the village.

If fundraising permits, Kidron Community Historical Society hopes to move four buildings onto the village site this year. The projected cost for moving and restoring the Sonnenberg Church is $100,000 and the cost for dismantling, moving, and restoring the Saurer Blacksmith Shop is projected at $50,000.  If you wish to contribute in some way to this project, please contact the Historical Society to learn about how you can be a part of the Sonnenberg Village legacy.

Another objective of this village is to serve as a model for sustainable living.  Two of the seven sections of a rain garden have benn installed and are operational with plants donated by Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.  A Heritage Garden  has been cultivated with plans underway to add a butterfly garden, a period herb garden, and a bluebird walk.  Stop by the location to view the progress thus far, 13515 Hackett Road.

The Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center hours vary.  They are open 11 a.m. - 3 p.m Thursday, Friday, Saturday in June, July, August; Thursday and Saturday in April, May, September, October, November, and December.  They are closed January, February, and March.  Admission is free.  Donations are greatly appreciated.

The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, a restored dairy barn, circa 1919, offers fine accommodations and a full country breakfast daily - your perfect Amish Country lodging choice.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 13, 2011

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