Sugarcreek: Little Switzerland

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Switzerland, one of the smaller countries in Europe, is about a third the size of

Ohio. Yet the nation contains many of the highest peaks of the mighty Alps. Likewise, guests exploring the small Swiss village of Sugarcreek will find themselves in the midst of some of the "largest things" in the world, said Christine Quickel, the village's marketing administrator.

For example, Quickel said, Sugarcreek's iconic cuckoo clock is the world's largest. The Age of Steam Railroad Museum hosts the world's largest privately owned steam engine collection. Ohio's largest collection of decanters and steins is located inside a quaint downtown shop, and nuCamp RV manufactures more teardrop campers than any company on the planet.

"And we are a gateway to one of the largest Amish communities in the world," Quickel said.

The “Little Switzerland of Ohio” was settled by Amish and other German and Swiss families, the latter of whom made the village famous by their cheese-making skills. The Alps may be conspicuously absent from Sugarcreek's hilly horizon, but apart from the missing mountainous vistas, village visitors might easily imagine themselves touring the streets of a small Swiss town — by foot or by horse-drawn buggy.

"The best way to experience Sugarcreek may be to immerse yourself in the culture," Quickel said.

Every half hour, downtown tourists gather around Sugarcreek's signature attraction — the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock — to enjoy a happy oompah band rendition of the Bratwurst Polka and an animated dancing couple. The 24-foot-high clock, at the intersection of East Main Street and Broadway, is surrounded by elaborate, hand-painted murals that depict breathtaking Swiss landscapes amidst an audial backdrop of polka music that permeates the village air. The historical murals adorn the facing of seven buildings, while across from the cuckoo clock, a 112-foot-long, 13-panel brick wall details the area’s history through sculpture.

A block away from the clock, a unique museum tucked inside Lavon Daugherty's Collectors Decanters and Steins shop features more than 3,000 unique steins and other works of art. "Lavon has spent many decades collecting the items," Quickel said. "He has a lot of historical steins, and he can relate, in vivid detail, all the interesting stories behind them."

The Alpine Hills Museum displays a 19th century Amish kitchen and an 1890s cheese house among its three floors of history. The museum also serves as a tourist information center where maps, brochures and other helpful information can be obtained.

A short drive south of Downtown, the unique Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum, which features the largest private collection of steam engines in the United States, helps to preserve America's railroad history.

"The roundhouse is the only one of its kind in the country," Quickel said. "even if you are not a train enthusiast, you'll find it to be magnificent. The popular museum has had visitors from each of the 50 states."

Guided tours through the 34-acre site introduce guests to 23 steamers surround-ed by a depot, a store house, a coal loader, a wood water tank, an ash pit, a back shop and — the jewel of the site — a working, 18-stall brick roundhouse that surrounds a 115-foot turntable.

Last summer, the museum acquired its newest steamer. The Reading Railroad “Camelback” steam locomotive, constructed in 1903, is one of only three Camelbacks still existing.

Guests who visit Sugarcreek, Quickel said, are very likely to return home with more than just wonderful memories. That's because the quality furniture, home goods, antiques and local works of art may prove too tempting to leave behind in the village's many charming shops. Some shops feature the work of local artists and crafters whose alluring items reflect Sugarcreek's unique blend of Swiss heritage and Amish culture. You'll also find faith-based items and authentic Amish-made quilts.

"Anything you're looking for, you'll find it in Sugarcreek," Quickel said.

Visit Sugarcreek online at or call 330-852-4113. Reach them via email at contactus@villageofsugarcreek. com for more information.