Berne, a charming Swiss community with a distinctive heritage, in the midst of growth a future filled with expectation. Founded by Swiss Mennonite immigrants in 1852, Berne and the surrounding countryside in southern Adams County, is a picturesque community of 10,000 with the allure of such rich Swiss ancestry woven togehter with the influence of Old Order Amish. Nested at the headwaters of the Wabash River, you’ll enjoy a hospitable welcome as you observe the horse-drawn Amish buggies and the authentic Swiss architecture complete with flower boxes cascading with color in warm weather.
History comes alive as you visit the devotedly restored buildings on the beautiful acreage of Swiss Heritage Village adn Museum, tour the large beautiful Gothic-style Mennonite Church or see the rustic log cabin home of former Indiana naturalist and author, Gene Stratton Porter.
Our Swiss settlers were known for their quality of craftsmanship and legendary work ethic, which is exemplified in all the local manufacturers – from the three generations – old furniture manufacturer, Smith Brothers Furniture, to the newest of our automative suppliers, FCC (Adams) LLC. A locally owned and operated wood stove company, Hitzer Stove, is nationally recongnized for its excellence and inovations within the industry.
Berne offers a unique shopping experience for anyone. Berne’s retail sector includes, five stores of fine furniture, a fabric and quilting supply, home interior designers, a floral and unique gift, dry goods, Lasting Lite electric candle, fine jewelry, and antiques. Our quaint downtown offers a one of a kind shopping extperience with a varity of shops and restaurants.
The Old Order Amish stettlement also offers a uncommon experience to our community. Their humble lifestyle is expressed in their homesteads and farming living. Nestled within the farms the countryside is dotted with small business operated by the Amish.
During the mid 1800’s, some Swiss immigrants of various religious faiths began settling in present-day Adams County, Indiana. The new colony soon became an attraction for other immigrants with similar faiths and cultural backgrounds, and they migrated into the new colony.
In 1852, a group of Mennonite families settled into the area and began the chore of preparing for farming by clearing the land. However, farm markets were severely limited because of treacherous mud roads and distant trade centers.
The advent of the railroad was soon to be the answer to the immigrant’s prayers.
When the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad laid plans to construct a rail line through Adams County, two farmers offered a proposition: they would donate land to the railroad in exchange for the building of a rail depot in the small community. The railroad companies agreed, and the farmers quickly plotted 10 building lots in anticipation of what was to come – more settlers! On Christmas Day, 1871, the first train arrived. This historical event marked the beginning of Berne, which was officially recorded as a community soon after.
A steady stream of Swiss and German people came into the area from that train, as did English-speaking migrants, some of which became successful businessmen in the new community. They contributed immensely in the growth of Berne.
Today, Berne consists of 4,400 people and continues to increase its steady business and industrial expansion. At the same time, it has retained its small-town pace and friendliness, as well as its moral values which were bred in Europe and later expanded on the wilderness frontier. These values include a strong work ethic, pride in home ownership and family ties, and religious dedications.