During the mid-eighteenth century, there was a place in Delaware known as Murdering Town. The folks who lived there were from Germany and believed strongly in the separation of church and state. They developed into a pacifist society migrating to Pennsylvania where they built the town of Harmony, which sounds like a far cry from Murdering Town. These folks couldn’t seem to stick in one place for long and in the early nineteenth century, they moved their Harmony Society again, this time to the state of Indiana.
In Indiana, these peace-loving people gave all their worldly possessions to the Society which in turn provided for all their needs. They developed an existence dedicated to harmony and for a few years all was good, but then they made a fatal mistake. They adopted celibacy as a way of life, and “the rest is history,” as the saying goes. Eventually, the founders became extinct and the town was re-established by Mennonites who gradually faded away and closed their church there.
Today New Harmony is a wonderful place to visit and certainly appears to be an idyllic place to live. The old town once plagued by calamities such as fire and tornadoes has been restored. While full of interesting places to visit, eat and be entertained, it remains a quiet and peaceful village.
The homes are restored and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The public spaces are verdant in every direction. To visit there is to experience going back to a time of true harmony and tranquility.
Nearby is a 3,500 State Park, known as Harmonie. It offers hiking, horse and bike trails, campsites, fishing, and rental cabins. The park also has Interpretive Naturalist Service in the summer months as well as picnic areas and swimming in an Olympic sized pool and the Wabash River.
In the next post, I’ll tell you a bit about my personal retreat in New Harmony a couple of years ago.