Thursday, October 17, 2019

Modular Housing First Choice for Many Amish in Indiana.

Indiana is home to the third largest Amish community in the country, and Shipshewana, Indiana is at its center. The Amish are an unassuming people, well known for their simplicity and craftsmanship.


Emanuel and Julie Hilty, a recently married young couple, were living with Emanuel’s parents and anxious to begin their life together. After purchasing 7 acres of land from an acquaintance, they began exploring their building options.

Their friends, Lonnie and Ruby Yoder, referred them to Shipshewana Homes, a modular home builder. Coincidentally, Julie’s father, Albert Schwartz, had worked for All American Homes for 27 years as a production manager, until the Decatur, Indiana-based modular home manufacturer closed several years ago.

The Hilty’s visited Shipshewana Homes, met Jeff Bontrager, the sales manager, and toured several furnished and decorated model homes on site.

Impressed with what they experienced, the couple, along with Julie’s father, scheduled a plant tour of Rochester Homes in Rochester, Indiana.

Alex Berlin, one of Rochester Homes’ co-owners, led them through the various work stations in the production facility, pointing out features and describing materials used in the homes.

“What I was really impressed by was the overall quality … it just all made a lot of sense to build homes this way,” Emanuel remarked. Emanuel had worked on a framing crew for seven years and was familiar with home construction.


They left convinced in their decision to build with Shipshewana Homes, using the Rochester Homes product. When compared to site–building, building a modular home was less expensive and a faster process, Emanuel said when asked why they chose Rochester Homes.

Upon returning to Shipshewana, the couple began working with Jeff to create a custom floor plan to meet their current and future needs.

Because Shipshewana Homes and Jeff have deep roots in the area and have built several homes for Amish families, they understood the basic requirements needed to construct the home, such omitting electricity and allowing for gas. Jeff, with Emanuel’s assistance, mocked up floor plans on his chief architect design program.


Mostly important to the couple were the number of bedrooms to provide for future children, as well as a garage space to accommodate large church gatherings.

The home was designed with simple functional features throughout. The final product was a four-bedroom, two and a half bath, 2,280-square-foot home that included a 1,454-square-foot garage.

The home was designed with gas to provide lighting, as well as for heating and cooking.

Construction took about a week at the Rochester Homes’ production facility, and the home was delivered and set atop permanent foundation on Aug. 14, 2018. The Hilty’s moved in three months later.

When was asked what she liked best about the home, Julie quietly replied that the walk-in shower and the large pantry were her favorites. Emanuel agreed.    

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