Old Economy Village preserves and presents the life, thought, and material culture of the Harmony Society, a highly successful and entrepreneurial 19th century religious community. Old Economy Village is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is actively supported by the Friends of Old Economy Village which is a non-profit community-based organization.
Old Economy Village, a National Historic Landmark, tells the story of the Harmony Society, one of the oldest and most successful religious communal groups of the nineteenth century. The Society sought to create a utopia inhabited by German Lutheran separatists who subscribed to the mystical religious teachings of their leader George Rapp (1757-1847). In Economy, they waited for the second coming of the Messiah.
In 1804, the follower of the Separatist George Rapp (1757-1847) emigrated to America from Iptingen (near Stuttgart) in southwest Germany seeking religious and economic freedom. Nearly 800 farmers and craftsmen followed their leader to Butler County, Pennsylvania where they built the town of Harmony. Ten years later they migrated westward to Posey County, Indiana founding a second town named Harmony, which today is known as New Harmony. In 1824, the Harmony Society returned to Pennsylvania, this time settling in Beaver County along the Ohio River. There they founded “Oekonomie,” now better known as Old Economy Village.