Our visit to the Shetlar family lake house on Pomme de Terre Lake included an outing to Lead Mine. It was a 30 to 40 minute drive back into the Missouri country side. The community is located about 3.5 miles east of Tunas on Missouri Route E and approximately 50 miles north-northeast of Springfield,
The Lead Mine community is made up of 50 to 60 Old Order Mennonite families. These Mennonites left Lancaster, Penn., in 1969 and settled in Missouri because land was cheaper. Most people thing they are Amish but they are members of Stauffer Mennonite Church. It is a small conservative sector with similarities to the Amish. Most Mennonite are more modern than this group and use electricity.
First we stopped at the produce auction. Mennonites are known worldwide for their farming practices and in the summer, many families sell their produce. We wanted to purchase some of the produce but they only sell it by the flats. The auctioneer was a young man, dressed in a white shirt, with his sleeves rolled up, and black overalls, He had a very manicured bread, his hair was perfect and there was a sparkle in his eyes. It was plain to see he was enjoying his job. As he traveled down the line of flats, his chant was in a rhythmic monotone, almost that of a song. It was hypnotic but yet gave the sense you needed to bid now or lose out.
We left the auction and headed down the road to the Lead Mine Country Store and Restaurant. Inside the cozy restaurant had skylights, wood floors, a gas lamp and a ceiling fan running off propane making a loud clanking noise. A large chalk board with the menu written in very neat lettering with a blue check mark beside it was available to order. We place our food orders and sat at a table and took in the sounds of the German clocks hung on the wall. We also took note of the women working in the restaurant. Like the Amish, Stauffer Mennonites dress conservatively: They were wearing bonnets, long dresses, aprons, and their hair was put up in neat buns.
We enjoyed our lunch of Wienerschnitze, hot German potato salad, red cabbage and homemade bread. I had my Schnitzel with a slice of lemon and Steve had the cream gravy. The gravy was very thick not like we had while in Germany. There was a selection of desserts, which we were unable to enjoy because of our large lunch.
The restaurant is attached to the country store. The store is stocked with cast iron, gas lamps, cookbooks, canning how-to books, candy, and a slew of other items. You can spend a lot of time in these aisles. One thing you must know is to bring cash or checks, since there is no electricity for debit or credit cards.
As we were leaving this neat little community we wondered if the children were home schooled or if they had a school. In a search I found that Stauffer Mennonites attend school through eighth grade and do not pursue higher education.There’s one church in this community and two schools.
It was an interesting day trip and would be worth going back to. Would really like to try the chicken pot pie next time.