This is the Amish school in Rexford, Montana. As I found out when I was there back in 2011, Rexford tends to be a very transient Amish community. People are attracted to the area because of its isolation and outdoor opportunities (plenty of hunting, fishing, and hiking) ,but the very things that attract newcomers are often what drive them away in the end. The isolation of Rexford is more than any other Amish settlement I’ve been to and often it just gets to be too much. The Amish community at Walker Mountain, Virginia is comparable in its isolation, but Rexford definitely feels more isolated than Walker Mountain. From Rexford it is about a 40 minute drive to the closest appreciatable settlement (Eureka, Montana) and at Walker Mountain, the closest town is about 25 minutes away by car. Rexford is the postal mailing address for the Amish who live in the area, but Rexford itself isn’t much more than a collection of buildings which includes a general store, a couple of gas pumps, and a post office. Eureka, another 15 minutes away, has some lodging, restaurants, and a sizable grocery store. The West Kootenei community does have a small sundries shop run by the Amish so that residents have someplace close to buy staples.
The above photo shows the school in session on a beautiful October day when we visited. Bicycles are used much more than buggies in this settlement, by both children and adults. Most of the homes and businesses are so clustered together that hopping on a bike makes more practical sense than hitching up a horse. But a few homes and businesses are scattered out enough to make a buggy worthwhile.
As you can imagine, keeping such a remote school funded has its challenges, but there is an annual school auction which supports the school. It is being held this year on June 8 and, wow, if you have any way of making it out there, I would absolutely recommend the journey. It’s gorgeous, you can take in nearby Glacier National Park (Okay, not THAT near, but in Montana distance is relative).. Click here to read all the particulars about the auction.