Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Harmony Kunstfest

Experienced Middle America by attending the Kunstfest in New Harmony, Indiana. It was odd that a German festival did not have any bratwurst anywhere, but many things about it were very middle America.

This was the center of the fest, apple pie and the American flag displayed as prominently as possible.

Here are three guys parked in their spot on the sidewalk making homemade ice cream the old-fashioned way. It actually didn't taste very good...

There were a number of Mennonites wandering around. They live nearby. This woman was resting in the shade to grab a drink of water.

Here are some of the original New Harmony buildings.

A little history on New Harmony: New Harmony, formerly named "Harmony," was built by the Harmony Society, headed by George Rapp. This was the second of three towns built by the German Lutheran religious separatist group, known as Rappites.

When the society decided to move back to Pennsylvania, they sold the 30,000 acres of land and buildings to Robert Owen, the Welsh utopian thinker and social reformer, and to William Maclure for $150,000, who then changed the name from "Harmony" to "New Harmony." Owen recruited residents to his model community, but a number of factors led to an early breakup of the communitarian experiment. The experiment was established in 1825 and dissolved in 1829 due to constant quarrels. The town banned money and other commodities. Individualist anarchist Josiah Warren, who was one of the original participants in the New Harmony Society, asserted that the community was doomed to failure due to a lack of individual sovereignty and private property. People unofficially tell you there was no one who knew how to fix anything and the buildings all fell into disrepair.

By standing under the town's only traffic light (see flag photo above) at the intersection of Main and Church Streets and looking around, one can see all of New Harmony. It is still a small town, just shy of 1,000 people, and with lots of historical reminders. Now it is a small-town tourist or historical destination.

I'm still looking for the bratwurst but I did have a lovely visit to New Harmony. I stopped into the art galleries but didn't see much of interest.

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