Saturday, March 15, 2003


Tour to feature Amish settlement


TRENTON - Northern Butler County was once the home of German-speaking Amish farm families who came from France in 1819 to live in the Great Miami River Valley.

Today, only a few of their farms are still used for agriculture and the Amish have been absorbed by a Mennonite congregation.

But the old families will be celebrated from 9:30-11 a.m. April 12 with "Damals auf dem Lande ... Once Upon a Farm: A Self-Guided Driving Tour of the Historic Amish Mennonite Settlement of Butler County."

The tour, sponsored by Friends of Chrisholm, is free and will feature 16 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. (Chrisholm is a restored farm.)

"The idea came from the desire to preserve at least the memory of this once prosperous Amish Mennonite settlement of Butler County," said Anne Koch Jantzen, president of Friends of Chrisholm. "Through reading the guidebook and driving the tour to see the farmsteads and other remnants of the settlement, participants will come to know and respect this agricultural and religious treasure that is a part of our heritage.

"The families - and the influence of this group - grew to a point in the late 19th century that they were farming nearly all the land south and west of Trenton in Madison Township, plus areas in Milford, St. Clair, Wayne, Lemon and Liberty townships."

Chrisholm Historic Farmstead is operated by MetroParks of Butler County.

Meet at Barn 'n' Bunk Farm Market at Oxford State Road (Ohio 73) and Wayne-Madison Road. A free tour book will be distributed. after brief introductions.

Speakers will include Andrew Cayton, a Miami University history professor and author of Ohio: The Story of a People; Gordon Oyer, a historian and descendant of the settlement; and Mary Ann Olding, a preservation consultant.

Information: Jantzen, 726-5265.


BETHEL - At 10 a.m. today volunteers will walk a short trail to check nest boxes for bluebirds at William H. Harsha Lake in East Fork State Park.

At 1 p.m. today, visitors can learn about butterflies and how to monitor them. Volunteers are needed to walk a route and record butterflies sighted from April through October, said Linda Romine, park ranger. Information: 797-6081.

Randy McNutt's community column appears on Saturday and covers Butler, Warren, Hamilton and Clermont counties. Contact him at the Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail:

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