John Hostetler's Little House
This little house has stood the test of time for 198 years. In 1998, a tornado whipped through Southeastern PA and destroyed many houses and barns. The little house was shifted on its foundation, and the roof blown away. It was then dismantled and stored in a barn on the Hochstetler homestead.
John’s Little House has since been reconstructed at Spruce Forest. The timbers and planks come from the original house, and the foundation is made with field stones collected from the Hochstetler farm.
The house is a simple, utilitarian 1-1/2 story building, 16 feet wide by 22 feet deep, and is of a post and beam construction. The first floor is one large room, the second floor a bedroom. Built in 1800 as a retirement retreat for his younger wife and himself, John Hochstetler specified that this “little house” should be filled with provisions and his wife allowed to live there after his death.
John Hochstetler grew up in what is now Berks County, PA. Having lost all but two siblings to Indian attacks in 1784, Hochstetler moved his young family to what is now Springs, PA. He was the first white settler in the area, and he was able, through peaceful ways taught by his faith, to make friends with Indians and build his community along side theirs.
The Hochstetler family’s history is the story of the Amish migration to the United States. In 1693, the Swiss government installed a mandatory military service. The Amish refused to serve on the grounds that their religion forbade it. The Swiss government, then, forced the Amish to leave the country. The Hochstetlers and other Amish families migrated to the new commonwealth of Pennsylvania, settling in the eastern part of the state. After suffering attacks by Indians and hearing tales of a fertile land farther west, some Amish families moved to the Alleghenies to establish peaceful farming communities.
The Hostetler House now displays artifacts and the family story of the Hostetlers as well as other Village information. Throughout the summer months the Hostetler house is used as a guest artist studio, as which it has hosted a quiller, basket weaver, and other fine crafts people and artisans over the years.