Anthropology, Department of


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Published in THE NEBRASKA ANTHROPOLOGIST, Volume 2 (1975). Published by the Anthropology Student Group, Department of Anthropology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588


The village, surrounded by the seemingly infinite flatlands of central America, is an agricultural community with a population of approximately 1000 people. The town, itself, is 12 blocks square and is laid out with spacious lots and wide paved streets. The main street is on the west side of the village and is wide also, with stores lining either side of four blocks. It's an impressive town, clean, neat, new but plain. The majority of homes are 20 years old or newer and are ranch-style. The older homes are small two story-white frame houses. Yards. are well kept, neat, and nicely, but not extravagantly landscaped. There are few fenced backyards and little privacy in the yards. Homeowners have planted comparatively few trees and it appears to be a younger town than its 100 year history proves it to be. The surrounding land is level and fertile, produces abundantly, and sells for over $1000 per acre.

The Mennonites' original homeland was in Holland. From there they migrated to Prussia, then to Russia, and lastly they settled here in the United States. They moved to find religious freedom and freedom from conscription. They have been afforded this in the United States. The people came here in 1874, settled on farm land in this area, and later formed the community. Their first houses were built on the inside corners of 4 adjoining quarters of land. There was never any form of communal life, such as families sharing living quarters or eating together. The earliest farm houses were European in style with the house and the barn connected. There are many respected families here who have gained the community's praise for their ability to make money, their thrift, and their participation in church and community affairs. A newcomer could never distinguish the millionaires in the town, and there are many wealthy landowners and businessmen, considering the town's population. Wealth is not obvious in clothing, cars, or houses. Only two men own luxury cars (a Cadillac and a Mark IV), and these within the last five years. According to the people, there are no impressive diamonds or fur coats, or cleaning ladies in the village. Wealth is sometimes out of sight in basements (expensive wood-working equipment), or shown by mobility (attending every State University football game), or used to buy the best and newest farm equipment.

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