New Harmony - Indiana

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= town in Indiana, USA, which was the site of historical utopian experiments


Big Car Collaborative:

“The site of Missipiean Indian burial mounds and two utopian experiments in the 1800s, New Harmony had a huge cultural and political influence not just on Indiana but the nation. First built by German religious separatists led by pastor and alchemist George Rapp in 1814, this tidy town was the home of the hard-working (and celibate) Harmonist Society until they sold it in 1825 to Welsh industrialist and social reformer, Robert Owen.

The Harmonists moved back to Pennsylvania and Owen launched an experiment into a secular, rationalist utopia that allowed its citizens many choices and freedoms — including how much they wanted to work. Turns out most didn’t want to work at all. Two years later, the experiment failed. But the community — under Rapp and Owen alike — made many important contributions to American society. Its prominent citizens during the Owen days included his sons: Robert Dale Owen, a congressman for Indiana who sponsored legislation to create the Smithsonian Institution and Richard Owen, Indiana state geologist, Indiana University professor, and the first president of Purdue University.

Hoosier writer Marguerite Young (pictured above in New Harmony) teased out the magic of New Harmony in her experimental 1945 novel, Angel in the Forest. And, in the 1940s-80s, town leader Jane Blaffer Owen — linked by marriage to the Robert Owen family — envisioned New Harmony’s built environment as a mix of historic Hoosier and ultra modern buildings. And she brought world-renowned artists and architects and their work to town for its “Third Experiment.” Today, New Harmony brims with art, history, architecture, and a strong sense of place. The impact of past and current efforts within this community have created a town that continues to represent the universal human condition. If Indianapolis is the head of the body of Indiana, New Harmony is its soul.” (


“THE MISSISSIPPIANS: From 1100 to 1450, the Mississippian Indians maintained a complex, productive community, including earthen mounds built for ceremonial and cosmological purposes.

THE RAPPITES: German farmer George Rapp and 400 followers arrived in New Harmony in 1815, creating a community based on productivity, worker-owned industries, and shared resources.

THE OWENITES: The Rappites sold the land in 1825 to Robert Owen, a Welsh socialist. At its height, 1,000 Owenites were part of a “Village of Unity and Mutual Cooperation” prioritizing worker rights, scientific research, and artistic expression.

JANE BLAFFER OWEN: For nearly seven decades, Jane Blaffer Owen was the driving force behind the restoration and revitalization of the town of New Harmony, Indiana. Owen had a vision for the town, bringing in and commissioning renowned architects, visual artists, musicians, and writers. Her time there is often referred to as the town’s “third utopia.”