About This Place
New Harmony is a historic town on the Wabash River in Harmony Township, Posey County, Indiana, United States. It lies 15 miles (24 km) north of Mount Vernon, the county seat. The population was 789 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Evansville metropolitan area. Many of the old Harmonist buildings still stand and have been restored. The New Harmony State Memorial is located here. Just to the south of town on State Road 69 is Harmonie State Park.
New Harmony, formerly named Harmony, was founded by the Harmony Society, headed by German immigrant George Rapp (actually Johann Georg Rapp) in 1814. This was the second of three towns built by the pietist, communal German religious group, known as Harmonists, Harmonites or Rappites; they settled in Indiana after leaving Harmony, Pennsylvania, and after leaving Indiana, they founded the community of Economy, Pennsylvania, now called Ambridge. When the society decided to move back to Pennsylvania around 1824, they sold the 30,000 acres (121 km²) 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 socialist community. The site is prone to flooding.
The figure shown here as "New Harmony as envisioned by Owen" was captioned by the architect who drew the figure, Stedman Whitwell, as "Design for a Community of 2000 Person founded upon a principle Commended by Plato, Lord Bacon and Sir Thomas More." Whitwell (1784–1840) lived in New Harmony during 1825. In Edward Royle's Robert Owen and the Commencement of the Millennium, (Manchester University Press, 1998), Whitwell's figure is presented in a chapter on Harmony, the name of Owen's community in Hampshire, England, dating from 1841, although the figure was published in 1830 and almost certainly existed as early as 1825.