New Harmony: An Early American Experimental Community

The New Harmony grid offers visitors the opportunity to travel back in time to the recreated town of New Harmony in 1824, built by the utopian Harmony Society along the Wabash river. With the help of Thomas Jefferson the Harmony Society, newly arrived from Germany, picked out a sprawling area of rolling hills nestled snuggly along the Wabash river to build a model of community living that inspired the launching of over 500 American companies, public education, and even served as the inspiration for the Smithsonian Institute in DC under the influence of Robert Dale Owen. Upon arrival to New Harmony visitors are taken to the northern sector of the town hosting the famous Roofless Church inspired by the German theologian Paul Tillich. From this location it is a short walk to his memorial garden next to the Red Geranium where for years Jane Blaffer Owen hosted guests from across the world who influenced the direction of modern architecture, fine arts, geological sciences, the ecological movement, and contemporary theology. Walk towards the south to discover the amazing Celtic-cross shaped brick church, homes, dormitories, granaries, vineyards, and canals built by the Harmonists in a wilderness so dense it was only possible to reach the location by boat. Learn about their unique building designs that even today inspire architects from around the world. The New Harmony grid is also home for the Fall carnival, circus, and annual Oktoberfest. 

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then–as I am listening now.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1820

It came to pass that one day, upon a deep contemplation of the Paradisiacal World, there appear’d in the midst of a most bright Cloud, a Woman of a most sweet and majestic countenance, her face shining, as the Sun, and her vesture of transparent gold, who said, “Behold! I am God’s Eternal Virgin Wisdom, whom thou hast been enquiring after: I am to unseal the treasures of God’s deep Wisdom unto thee.” – Janet Lead, 1681

“…sich Heide und Wiesen sich erneuern, lieblich…und wunderschön bist du anzusehen, wie beblümte Felder stehen. wie mehr bist du, als eine Welt voll Blumen. Du gleichst der betauten Frühlingserde, ein Busch von 1000 Rosen, und dein Gemüt ein Lilienfeld und voller granaten Blumen. Reine Narzissen bei den süssen Erdbächen. Reine Hyazinthen.”

“…You are compared to the month of May in spring, when heath and meadows renew themselves, you are lovely/sweet and very beautiful to look at, like flowery fields. Yes, you are even more than a world full of flowers. You resemble the dewy/bedewed earth in springtime, a bush of a thousand roses, and your disposition a field of lilies and full of pomegranate/garnet-red flowers. Pure narcissus along the sweet brooks in the earth. Pure hyacinths that one finds in a sky-blue color.”

~ Father Rapp, “Embrace” Sermon Note, 1822

Gemeinschaft…the living unity of a group which has a common spiritual basis and a genuine “I-Thou” relation between its members…Gemeinschaft is a messianic activity to which everybody is called. – Paul Tillich

Hort ihr Leute last euch sagen

Un’re Glock hat zwolf gaschlagen.

Zwolf Thor hat die Guld’ne Stadt,

Wohl dem der den Eingang hat.

List unto me all ye people

Twelve strokes sound from out the steeple

Twelve gates has the city of gold

Blest is he who enters the fold.

– Father Rapp, 1821

Ebene und einfaches in der Hingabe. .
Hingabe beim Suchen. .
Das Königreich des Gottes zuerst suchen. .
Gott geht vorher und bereitet einen Platz vor. .

Art depends, in general, like religion, on a right attitude to nature…
~ Wendell Berry