John's Little House
One of the few remaining tangible testimonies
to our forefather is a simple, wood framed,
house that his oldest son John built as his
retirement home on his farm in Summit Mills,
Somerset County, PA around the year 1800.
Unfortunately, a tornado in June of 1998 lifted
the little house off its foundation, taking the
off the roof and strewing it across the fields.
Remaining was a twisted structure, tipped
into the basement.
The devastation of the beloved Little House
became a cry for help in the headlines of
However, a dedicated and courageous
relative, George Hostetler, selflessly rose up
and undertook the reconstruction of this
significant structure, which is one of the few
physical reminders of our forefathers His
actions encouraged all of us to become
"Stewards of Our Family History".
In an attempt to show the work done with
the reconstruction of John's Little House after
it was destroyed by the tornado, George put
together a professional business plan and then
documented all his work in this magnificent photographic journal. Feel free to contact him, George Hostetler, with any questions or suggestions. He is always thankful to his wife Janet, now retired, who supported his efforts and had given advice any time he asked for it. She also helped him move all the lumber and stone.
All dialogue from this point on will be written in the first person, which is the voice of George Hostetler as he kept this online journal. The dates have, of course, come and gone so they now serve as time markers in the journey to put John's Little house back on its foundation! He is still an active voice and activist in the family organization and loves interaction with other family members, so please do not hesitate to contact him should you get an itch to do so.
We (they) plan a major redesign of this site to include other items of interest and expect to have this online for you in early 2001.
Starting with some pictures of our trip in August 99, when we traveled to Grantsville to meet the Wendell Yoders and Alta Schrock. This picture is of the approved location of the Little House. This is the "uphill" view as compared to the picture in the June 2000 newsletter. Check out the picture and story of the gravestones of John and Catherine.
Our trip of 5/29 to 5/31/2000 was to move the lumber and stone. It took us 3 days to move 4 loads of lumber and 4 loads of stone. Yes, the stone and lumber was moved by hand, piece by piece. Another trip of 7/3 to 7/5/2000 was to finish moving the stone...3 trips that time and that should give us enough stone to face the new foundation. Therefore, a remnant remains at the original location of the little house. On that trip we met Margaret Hostetler and her family members from Salisbury, PA, and also Rhoda Brenneman, an Amish lady who is really in touch with all the history of this area.
Another trip in August this year took us to the Big Apple, where we took time to view David Hostetler's sculpture at the Trump Hotel at Columbus Circle. And while vacationing in Italy in November, we had the opportunity to meet Dan Hostetler from Milan, who has gifted us with a prominent website, a major portion of which is dedicated to the Hostetler family history and current events. If you didn't get here from there, its www.hostetler.net
Our many thanks to Betty Zarney, who wrote to me in October 2000: "Search no more for the door -- we have it safely stored in our garage. No door frame, no transom, no mutton bars or glass in the window, but the old hardware is still attached." Betty is the sister of the late Paul V Hostetler, who spent his own money restoring John's Little House in the early 90's. Betty has so graciously agreed to donate the front door for this project!
The next steps are as follows. Begin fundraising, with a goal of $30,000 by June 2001. Assess the lumber and timbers and ascertain their use. Finalize the building plans and site plan. Assemble volunteer team to begin construction in the summer of 2001.
Take a look at the brochure Front and Back designed for the Spruce Forest Artisan Village (also linked to the Penn Alps Restaurant in the same artisan complex). The brochure is designed to be a trifold with the picture on the outside. This is an annual festival with 4000 visitors. I also made a metal 18" x 24" sign to be placed at the site with the lettering "FUTURE SITE OF..... John Hochstetler's Little House."
In the first 12 years of the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association history, there were many references in the newsletters to John's Little House. Let's take a tour through the newsletters and articles to see the interest expressed. Article and photo attributes are noted as such. All images are from the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association newsletter. John's father, Joseph, is purported to be buried in this cemetery in Pennsylvania (Daniel E. Hochstetler's directions are here).
Daniel E Hochstetler, the editor of our Jacob Hochstetler Family Association’s newsletter took extensive video of our Jacob Hochstetler family history in Fall ’97, which included major footage of John’s Little House. We are fortunate that Dan took this video since in June ’98 John’s Little House suffered major damage by the tornados that wreaked devastation in this part of Somerset County, PA. Click here for a list of the videos (each of which averages less than a minute, so they're brief) and access to the videos themselves.
This picture was published by the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association prior to the destruction of the Little House in June of '98. When the house is reconstructed at the Spruce Forest Artisan Village adjacent to Penn Alps it will look quite similar to this photo.