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New Harmony In Indiana was founded as a utopian society in and was home to a second utopian community in the s. The urge to retreat from the larger world and build an ideal society in the wilderness is a perennial human impulse. From the Pilgrims to the Hippies, American history has periodically produced groups that try to create these utopian communities.
Their efforts almost always end in disarray and conflict, but often very interesting things happen along the way. So it was in New Harmony, Indiana, a charming little town on the bank of the Wabash River that has the unusual distinction of having been home to two of these pie-in-the-sky, utopian communities.
Both have long disbanded, but something of their spirit remains in the appropriately named New Harmony.
The town was founded in by the Harmonie Society, a group of Pietists who had fled religious persecution in their native Germany to settle in Pennsylvania. After a decade in the East they wanted an even more remote location for their community and bought 20, acres of swampy land on what was then the sparsely populated frontier of the Indiana Territory. With German industriousness they went to work, draining the wetlands and building nearly log and brick structures.
Soon the self-sufficient community was producing highly prized textiles and other goods that were sold as far away as Europe.
While they were practical in their work habits, their theology was mighty peculiar. They believed that the Second Coming of Christ was due any day and required members to abstain from sex and give up tobacco no record of which was harder. But the isolation of the area eventually weighed on them, and after ten years the entire town was put up for sale as the group made plans to return to Pennsylvania. Ina wealthy, Welsh-born industrialist named Robert Owen bought the settlement to establish his own utopian society, which he called New Harmony. He believed that the three greatest evils in society were the institution of marriage, private property and the established church of his day.
He also had strong views on education, believing that children should be taken from their parents at the age of two and put into school. New Harmony would be an ideal place to put these philosophical ideas to the test. His partner in these efforts was William Maclure, who was both a wealthy businessman and a well-known geologist.
Picture it: this small town in the middle of nowhere became a cultured and intellectual haven with a progressive educational system, a lively scientific community, and frequent lectures, balls, and concerts. And then, inevitably, the entire enterprise failed, just two years after it began. Owen was a great theorizer but a poor planner, and the scientists and educators in the community turned out to be pretty clueless when it came to practical matters like growing crops. The settlement was also riven by personal conflicts between its members one guesses that all those large egos tended to bump into each other in the small confines of the village.
His oldest son, Robert Dale, was a U. Representative who helped establish the Smithsonian Institution. His brother David Dale became the chief geologist for the U. Youngest son Richard was a professor of natural sciences at Indiana University and became the first president of Purdue University. Clearly they had learned something from their visionary father. Scientific research continued to flourish here, particularly in the field of geology, and the town kept its strong support for the arts and education.
All of this history was on our minds as my husband and I wandered the tree-lined streets of New Harmony on a warm and sunny day in May. Near the river, we walked amid the re-built log buildings of the original settlement, delighting in its pocket gardens and flowering bushes.
With just residents, New Harmony is a still a quiet and peaceful corner of the world—when people give directions here, for example, they always begin by referencing the one blinking stoplight in the center of town. The historic district is interspersed with newer structures and an abundance of public art. A modernist-style visitor center has Sex dating in New harmony a of architectural awards though in my opinion it seems out of place in this quiet village.
The Roofless Church was deed by architect Philip Johnson and built in It has an interior of grass, walls of brick, and an open space where the roof would normally be. But the most wonderful part of New Harmony are its two labyrinths what is it about this place that they need to do everything twice? A labyrinth, as you may know, is different from a maze. While a maze is deed to confuse, a labyrinth has a single, winding path to its center and is meant to mirror the inner pilgrimage of the soul.
The original Harmonists built labyrinths in each of the towns they occupied. The one pictured below was re-created in from a de dating back to the early years of the colony. Bordered on one side by tall trees and on the other by the Wabash River, it is made of polished marble, dappled by sunlight by day and moonlight at night. I walked it at dusk, serenaded by birds as twilight fell.
As I slowly paced its twists and turns, I could see why this place—remote and serene, with air that somehow seems more rarefied than that of the larger world—has drawn dreamers and idealists for so many years. This is still a place for spiritual renewal. View Larger Map. Her website Spiritual Travels features holy sites around the world. New Harmony, Indiana, was founded as a utopian society in Bob Sessions photo New Harmony In Indiana was founded as a utopian society in and was home to a second utopian community in the s. Utopian Community The town was founded in by the Harmonie Society, a group of Pietists who had fled religious persecution in their native Germany to settle in Pennsylvania.
The historic district of New Harmony has beautiful gardens Bob Sessions photo. A statue of St. Francis stands near a pond near the historic district in New Harmony Bob Sessions photo. A Spiritual Oasis All of this history was on our minds as my husband and I wandered the tree-lined streets of New Harmony on a warm and sunny day in May.
Bob Sessions photo.TECH - Japan Releases Fully Functioning Female Robots 33
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