Berne was settled in 1852 by seventy devout Mennonite immigrants who came directly from Switzerland, and named the community for the capital of Switzerland. They began the chore of preparing for farming by clearing the land. However, farm markets were severely limited because of treacherous mud roads and distant trade centers. The advent of the railroad was soon to be the answer to the immigrant's prayers. When the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad laid plans to construct a rail line through Adams County, two farmers, the Hilty brothers, offered a proposition: they would donate land to the railroad in exchange for the building of a rail depot in the small community. The railroad companies agreed, and the farmers quickly plotted 10 building lots in anticipation of what was to come - more settlers. On Christmas Day, 1871, the first train arrived. This historical event marked the beginning of Berne, which was officially recorded as a community soon after.A steady stream of Swiss and German people came into the area from that train, as did English-speaking migrants, some of which became successful businessmen in the new community. They contributed immensely in the growth of Berne.
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