NEW HARMONY STATE MEMORIAL
NEW HARMONY STATE MEMORIAL
The New Harmony State Historic Site is a part of the unified program of the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites.
New Harmony is the site of two of America?s earliest utopian communities. The first, Harmonie on the Wabash (1814-1824), was one of the most successful ever attempted. The subsequent New Harmony communities of Robert Owen were less successful economically, but pioneered many new education reforms.
In 1814, the Harmony Society, a German religious group led by the charismatic George Rapp, left its first American home, Harmonie, Pennsylvania, to settle a much larger tract of land in the lower Wabash Valley.
The Harmonists prepared for the imminent second coming of Christ by devoting themselves to self-sacrifice and hard work. By 1824, their accomplishments in manufacturing and trade had brought them great wealth. In that same year, Rapp sold the community and led his group back to Pennsylvania where they established their final community called Economy.
Robert Owen, the famous British industrialist and social theorist, bought the community and the surrounding lands and renamed it New Harmony. Owen?s ambition was to create a more perfect society through free education and the abolition of social classes and personal wealth. World-renowned scientists and educators settled in New Harmony. With the help of William Maclure, the Scottish geologist and businessman, they introduced vocational education, kindergarten and other educational reforms.
The individual properties of the New Harmony State Historic Site preserve and interpret this unique history. Community House Number Two, a three-story brick building, was the largest of four Harmonist dormitories which housed a boarding school during the Owen/Maclure community. Thrall?s Opera House, formerly the fourth Harmonist Community House, was converted to a theater in 1856 and is still home to live performances. The Scholle House, the home of Harmonist shoemaker Mattias Scholle, houses changing exhibits of art and history. The Fauntleroy Home was built in 1815 by the Harmony Society and was later the home of Robert Fauntleroy and his wife, Jane, daughter of Robert Owen.
The Harmonist Cemetery has no markers, in keeping with Harmonist practice and is the site of approximately 230 burials. It includes two Woodland Indiana burial mounds.
The Labyrinth is a circular maze of shrubbery with a small stone temple at its center. To the Harmonists it symbolized the difficult path to ?true harmony.?
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