Seeking Cheaper Land, Amish Go West

Population in Colorado surges
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2010 1:40 PM CDT
Amish men in Nickel Mines, Pa., Oct. 2, 2006. With land prices soaring, some Amish families are moving west.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
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(Newser) – With fewer than 1,000 residents, Westcliffe, Colo., looks like a lot of other Western towns—until you notice the buggy crossing sign and the hitching post outside the supermarket. Amish farmers are seeking out the rural community 3 hours south of Denver, where land is six times cheaper than in the time-honored Amish country of central Pennsylvania. The Los Angeles Times pays a visit.

Colorado had zero Amish residents in 2002 and 400 at the last formal count, in 2008. In Westcliffe, newly immune to the national trend toward plummeting rural populations, the new neighbors have been welcomed with open arms. "They are stewards of the land," says a local official. "They play by the rules, and they pay their taxes." Says one Amish woman: "We just love it here. The people take us for what we are."

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