Preparing for Eternity: The Life of the Harmony Society
The Visitor Center’s Orientation exhibit, “Preparing for Eternity: The Life of the Harmony Society”, tells the story of the Harmony Society. The town of Economy, located in modern-day Ambridge, was the home of a religious communal society that came to America to freely-practice its religion. The Harmony Society signed the Articles of Agreement on February 15, 1805, in nearby Harmony, Pennsylvania. The group settled in Economy in 1824.
This exhibit traces the history of this prosperous group of people from its origins in Württemberg, in modern-day Germany, to America until the Society closed in 1905. The Harmonists played an instrumental part in the development of Pittsburgh, and surrounding regions. Their industries included the manufacture of wool, cotton, and silk textiles, as well as the production of wine, beer and other beverages.
The financial investments ranged far and wide, from railroads and river travel, to coal, oil, and timber production. The Harmony Society also established the town of Beaver Falls with all of its businesses, and attracted Geneva College to re-establish itself in Beaver County. This exhibit offers a great look into the lives and stories of this interesting group.
“Do Your Bit!” Ambridge in World War I
May 5, 2018 – December 31, 2018
The Centennial of World War I is recognized at Old Economy Village, highlighting the wartime experiences of Ambridge citizens. Former hired workers of the Harmony Society faced identity issues with their German heritage in their adopted country at war with Germany. Experience the history of the war through photographs and artifacts.
Juxtaposed Right Here! Communism and Capitalism
Members of the Harmony Society lived communally but were also involved with great investments, as well as industrial and agricultural pursuits. Leader George Rapp was known as “the greatest communist of the age.” In fact he died before Karl Marx published the Communist Manifesto. Explore this unusual juxtaposition in this exhibit about a society that made it all work.
Laboring for Harmonie
Old Economy features an exhibit about labor within and related to the Harmony Society. Learn about indentured children, hired workers, and the Chinese laborers in the Beaver Falls Cutlery, a Harmonist investment.