A National Historic Site
New Harmony, Indiana, (Pop. 915) is a small historic
town located on the Wabash River in southwestern Indiana.
During the early part of the 19th century, New Harmony
was the site of two attempts to establish Utopian communities.
The first, Harmonie (1814-1825), was founded by the Harmonie
Society, a group of Separatists from the German Lutheran
Church. Led by their charismatic leader Johann Georg Rapp,
they left their first American home in Harmonie, Pennsylvania,
and established a second community on the western frontier
of Indiana, where they acquired a much larger tract of
During the 10 years in which they cultivated the new
town of Harmonie, the Harmonists, with their strong German
work ethic and devout religious rule, achieved unheard
of economic success and the community became recognized
as "the wonder of the west." Slightly more than
a decade later, however, they sold the town and surrounding
lands to Robert Owen, a Welsh-born industrialist and philosopher,
for his communitarian experiment and returned to Pennsylvania
to build a third town, Economy, near Pittsburgh.
Robert Owenâs ambition was to create a perfect
society through free education and the abolition of social
classes and personal wealth. He encouraged world-renowned
scientists and educators to settle in New Harmony. With
the help of his partner William Maclure of the Academy
of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the Owen/Maclure
community introduced educational and social reforms to
Today, residents and tourists alike enjoy the slower
pace of New Harmonyâs opportunities for dining,
shopping for antiques, visiting the many art galleries,
and admiring the quaint surroundings where even the architecture
pays tribute to a blend of the past and future. The town
has become known for its many gardens, sculptures, restored
historic buildings and public spaces designed for quiet
contemplation and spiritual renewal.
The town is a vacationer’s dream and a researcher’s paradise
with twelve early 19th century buildings and twenty buildings
from mid-19th century, including a museum, library, gallery
and a theater. The New Harmony Inn with its Conference
Center, a unique assemblage of contemporary buildings
within the context of the historic community, offers the
comforts of city-living in a rural setting.
Visitors from all over the world come to experience New
Harmony’s legacy of creative endeavor which has spanned
nearly 200 years. They discover a distinctive small town,
where the simple wooden structures of the Harmonists,
blend with modern architectural masterpieces on quiet
tree-lined streets. New Harmony acted early to secure
control in the public interest over substantial parts
of its central Historic District. It is a village museum
and preservation project and has been a center for culture
and learning ever since its beginnings.
The town’s unique history comes alive on guided tours
offered to historic sites. The guided tours begin at the
Atheneum Visitors Center at the west end of North Street.
New Harmony is governed by the New Harmony Town Council
of five elected members. The New Harmony Town Plan and
Historic Preservation Commission is comprised of seven