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Creation of Amish history museum in Illinois underway

Posted September 21

— Efforts to open an Amish history museum in Illinois are underway after the oldest-known Amish house in the state was moved to the site set aside for the project west of Chesterville.

The house was moved by plow horses and then a diesel truck. The 1866 farmhouse and another that dates back to 1882 were moved Tuesday morning. They will be restored to their 19th-century prime and form part of the new Illinois Amish Museum and Heritage Center.

"Amish live the old-fashioned way and live a simple life," said Ervin Yoder, who was born in the farmhouse. "But it's not near as simple as it was when I was very young."

Yoder is the vice president of the Illinois Amish Preservation Foundation board of directors, which is creating the museum heritage center.

The foundation has raised more than $100,000 for the project. The restoration of the Yoder's farmhouse, and another one dating back to 1882, is expected to cost about $250,000.

"We have been very gratified by the commitment and the donations we have already gotten," said Wilmer Otto, president of the board of directors. "I think getting the houses out there and restored will establish there is actually going to be a project, and then more people will help us."

Community development director Bob Doan is optimistic the project is going to help the local economy. Doan said tourists never lose their fascination with the Amish culture.

The Illinois Amish Museum and Heritage Center is scheduled to open by the summer of 2017.

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