Column: Harmonists’ dream remains cultural inspiration


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For one shining moment in the early 19th century, a group called the Harmonists achieved utopia on the Wabash River. Two centuries later, their experiment continues to inspire visitors to New Harmony.

Founded in 1814 by 800 German Pietists and carefully ordered by their leader George Rapp, the town of New Harmony was an exercise in both religious freedom and economic innovation.

Residents believed they were God’s chosen people and devoted themselves to preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. They renounced private property and practiced celibacy.

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