Arthur, Ill. (WCIA)

Illinois Amish Heritage Center Prepares to Break Ground on September 23 for Barn Raising

The Illinois Amish Heritage Center is hosting a public horse-drawn slip scraper groundbreaking event
September 23, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. at their campus located between Arcola and Arthur, Illinois, on Illinois Route 133.

To kick off the process of the Herschberger-Miller barn raising later in October, the Illinois Amish Heritage
Center will use a one-of-a-kind way of breaking the ground by horse drawn plow, which was very
common during the era of the original barn usage.

Traditionally, ground is broken by horses pulling a plow, as well as a slip scraper, signifying the ground
becoming ready for a new building. Several board members of the Illinois Amish Heritage Center will
operate the plow, as well as descendants of the Herschberger-Miller family.

The Herschberger-Miller barn, that was originally constructed three miles west of Arthur, Illinois in 1879, was
dismantled by Firmitas, formerly Trillium Dell Timber Works, in spring of 2022. The intricate process raised massive media coverage in the region because the barn was not only being removed from its original site, but, the 143-year structure was tagged, labeled, dismantled piece by piece, and will be relocated, refurbished, and rebuilt at its new home, Illinois Amish Heritage Center.

A two-day public Barn Raising is scheduled for Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th from 9am – 5pm. One of the biggest attractions is the rare opportunity for attendees to witness a partial hand-raising of the barn, which hasn’t happened in over 100 years in Central Illinois.

Other events on the Illinois Amish Heritage campus will include pioneer and Amish-based activities such as
blacksmithing, glass blowing, rope making, Kiddie Tractor Pull, petting zoo, pony cart rides and more. Additionally, local Amish favorites will be made and sold onsite such as fresh apple cider, popcorn, ice cream and more! The food tent will also be serving an authentic German breakfast, and other food vendors.
For more information, call Cassie Yoder (217) 254-4012. Also, look for the Illinois Amish Heritage Center at and on Facebook.

What is the IAHC?

The Arthur Area Association of Commerce reports that annually over 200,000 visitors from all 50 states
and an average of 50 foreign countries travel to Arthur, Illinois (population 2,300), home of the state’s
largest and oldest Old Order Amish Settlement of 4,500 Amish living in the surrounding area. Located
just 9 miles west of Interstate 57, IAHC is easily accessible, and within a 50 miles range, cities include
Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Mattoon, Charleston, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Danville, Lincoln,
Effingham, Tuscola, Arcola, Taylorville, Sullivan, and Terre Haute, Indiana.

Specifically, IAHC draws visitors from across the nation, bringing tourist dollars to Illinois. A review of
2589 individuals or families completing IAHC registration cards demonstrate that 45% of those visitors
reside out of the State of Illinois. IAHC is also beginning to attract visitors from other countries,
including France and Japan.

Within a 50- mile radius of Arthur there are 111,000 students in grades K-12, attending 370 public
schools. It is anticipated that the IAHC will be a prime field trip for public schools to send busloads of
students, chaperoned by teachers and parents, to see Amish culture come alive, encouraging families to
return for festivals, events, and demonstrations.

Located within a 30 miles driving distance there are 72 hotels and lodgings, with 5,836 guest rooms that
will benefit from expanded programs, demonstrations, festivals, weddings, and events that are predicted
to draw overnight visitors, attracted by the addition of the two historic barns and demonstration
agriculture field.