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The Harmonist Connection
History of the Harmony Society
An Online Event
Nov 17, 2020 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CST
In this online event, for the first time, Historic Harmony, Historic New Harmony and Old Economy Village, are coming together to discuss the history of the Harmony Society. Join us for the first meeting of The Harmonist Connection, a quarterly virtual program, on November 17th at 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET. Learn more about each site and what they do today to share the history of the Harmony Society.
The Harmony Museum, located 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, celebrates the history of the communal Harmony Society that was founded here in 1805. The first followers of the self-proclaimed prophet Father George Rapp arrived in the winter of 1804 from Württemberg, part of present-day Germany. By 1805 some 90 families had followed Rapp to the western Pennsylvania wilderness, pledging their worldly possessions to the Harmony Society. Within a few years, the religious commune soon numbered a thousand members, with 2000 cultivated acres and more than 100 buildings, including a church, school, warehouse, woolen mills, grist mills, brewery and tannery. About two dozen of those buildings still exist. Historic Harmony and its Harmony Museum tell the story of the early Harmonists and preserve a total of nine historic properties in and around the small but bustling Borough of Harmony PA.
In 1814, the Harmony Society settled their second community, New Harmony. Between 1814 and 1824, the Harmonists constructed over 180 log, frame and brick structures in their settlement. The community was entirely self-sufficient, and produced a wide variety of goods that were recognized worldwide for their fine quality. Harmonist wares were sold throughout the United States and overseas in the British Isles, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. Through divine guidance, George Rapp sought a buyer for the entire town in order to facilitate their relocation to Pennsylvania in 1824. The town was sold to Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist, and his business partner William Maclure. Today Historic New Harmony is a unified program of the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. By preserving our utopian legacy, we inspire innovation and progressive thought through programs and collections.
Economy, Pennsylvania was the third and final home of the Harmony Society, established in 1824 along the Ohio River. Here the Society experienced the Great Schism, which took away one third of its members. Industries included wool, cotton, and silk, as well as wine, beer, and whiskey. As the Society grew older, hired workers took over the general functions of the town, and major business interests turned toward investments. The Harmony Society became involved with railroads, coal, oil, and lumber, as well as owning most of the town of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. After selling off most of its holdings, the Society closed in 1905 with two members remaining as the booming town of Ambridge in its infancy sprang up around them.
Please register in advance for this program by following this link: https://usi.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAsc-yuqTsqHNbZu4VTLJrcalsM4Kd1kT3_. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.