In the 1930s, travelers from Gettysburg to the New Jersey seashore often spent a night in Lancaster County, and local stores began offering "Amish" dolls, postcards, letter openers and ashtrays. By 1940, the state Commerce Department was receiving inquiries about the area, but World War II choked off the interest. Then, in 1946, the manager of Lancaster's Brunswick Hotel, the late L.H. Heine, had a guest ask to "see an Amishman." Heine arranged to take a carload of tourists to an Amish farm and eat homemade ice cream. Heine began training tour guides, the carloads grew into busloads, and the hotel began offering weekend packages centering on the Amish. In 1954, about 25,000 tourists came to Amishland.
But by this time, tourists were Lancaster County's most dependable crop, and the Amish were its most valuable economic resource. In 1984, tourism brought in about $300 million to the county and provided employment for 8,700 people (there are about 8,300 farmers). There are nearly 250 tourist-related enterprises in Lancaster County, including the Amish Homestead, the Amish Farm, the Amish Village, the Amish Barn Restaurant and the Amish Country Motel. In addition, several attractions offer "Amish farm animals," which bear a striking resemblance to non-Amish farm animals. The presence of the word "Amish" in a business guarantees that it is not owned by the Amish. -- -- --
Although the Amish don't own any of the Kitchen Kettle shops, many of them work there. Three young Amish girls are clerks in a souvenir store that sells Pennsylvania Dutch mini-memos made in Greensboro, N.C.; Amish dolls produced by the Standard Doll Co., Long Island City, N.Y.; Amish magic pads from Ontario, Canada; and Amish Country mugs made in Japan. One of the girls is waiting on a customer who is buying an "I Love Intercourse" T-shirt. -- -- --