Amish History - Pickens General Store, Heuvelton NY
Picken's General Store was founded as both a method of raising funds for the Pickens Hall Restoration Project but also as a means of reviving Heuvelton and its surrounding communities. The Amish have been a large part of our communities for nearing 25 years. In keeping with the buy local movement to stimulate local business we looked to the Amish for a good portion of our products including furniture, leather goods, maple products, quilts, hats and other practical items and unique gifts.
The Amish way of life has its origin in the Anabaptist movement in Europe. Due to religious persecution, many immigrated to the New World in the 1600 and 1700's, with members settling in the Lancaster County area of southern PA. Recently, land prices and urban sprawl have forced many Amish people with their simple, family and community-oriented way of life, to seek land in other areas of the country. The Heuvelton area now has one of the largest Old Order Amish communities in New York State.
Traditionally, the Old Order Amish, who shun modern conveniences, have been farm based, with families raising most of their own food. Travel is by horse and buggy or sleigh in the wintertime. Our products are truly just a short buggy ride away. These families do not use phones, electricity or electric appliances of any kind in their homes, on their farms or in their woodworking shops.
The Amish rejection of modern technology is a result of the Amish religious belief system which dictates that modernity interferes with one's relationship with God. They also do not allow their picture to be taken because they believe that the creation of faces in pictures and on toys such as dolls is considered a graven image. This is why no Amish dolls have faces, and why they object to having their photos taken.
The Amish provide their own education through single room school houses which can be identified in the countryside by the two outhouses, one for boys and one for girls. Children are not taught the English language until they go to school. Education doesn't continue much past middle school at which time teens begin working full time in the home or on the family farms and in single man workshops. Because our Amish will not work in "Amish factories" like the ones found in Pennsylvania, each craftsman works for himself in woodworking shops on his own property, hand crafting unique furniture using traditional methods.
Pickens General Store - 83 State Street - Heuvelton, NY 13654 - (315) 344-7950