Miller Amish German schoolhouse moved to heritage center

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Part of central Illinois Amish history was moved Friday morning to another location.

A piece of history brought back to life. “One of our missions is to preserve the Amish heritage as much as we can,” said Tom Vance, Illinois Amish Heritage Center historian.

A tractor pulls the Miller Amish German schoolhouse to its new home at the IL Amish Heritage Center in Arthur.

The Miller Schoolhouse was built in 1920. Historians said it is in perfect condition. The desks, chalkboard, paint on the walls and coal burning stove…all original. It has barely changed.

“Knowing our history and our past is important for everybody, and the Amish faith is based on their very early heritage,” said Vance. “We’re interested in preserving the heritage once they got here to Illinois in 1865.”

Old lessons in high German still fill the chalkboard. Amish youth would go there after graduating 8th grade to learn the language during cold months. “I talked to one Amish gentleman this morning, who said he would come every year for a spelling year,” said Vance.

They learned the language because church services are in high German.

Crews moved the schoolhouse through backroads and along Route 133 in Arthur to the Illinois Amish Heritage Center. It took a tractor, several horses to stick to tradition for part of the way and then back to the tractor.

Soon, people will be able to go inside and take a look. “Future generations of the Amish as well as other visitors will be able to come and see what early Amish life was like,” Vance said.

The Miller Schoolhouse was used from 1920 until 2002.

The Illinois Amish Heritage Center is not open just yet. They are still building it out. They plan to have a grand opening in early June.

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