Project Description

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 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

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

MORE FROM THE VIRTUAL HARMONY COLLECTION