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New Harmony, Indiana
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 land.

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 Owen’s 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 America.

Today, residents and tourists alike enjoy the slower pace of New Harmony’s 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 appointed members.